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How Often Should I Have a Dental Exam and Cleaning?

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Dental treatment.
Article By: Soft Touch

Brushing your teeth twice a day without missing keeps germs at bay and allows you to keep your oral and dental health in check. However, a couple of dental problems are inevitable, and they can only but diagnosed by a professional dentist. Periodic dental exams and cleaning sessions are vital to keeping your pearly whites in good shape, allowing you to flaunt them with confidence every time you smile.

In the following paragraphs, we will look at why you should have regular dental examinations and cleanings. Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding dental examinations and cleaning.

Let’s dive right in.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

If you consult a dentist, they will ask you to have a dental examination every six months or at least once a year. However, it is better to have your teeth checked and cleaned every six months because it is the best time to detect the possibility of a dental health problem. Some of the most common dental health problems you can detect during regular dental exams include tooth decay, oral cancer, and gum disease. Even if there is something not too significant like oral cancer, your dentist will discuss their plan of action that prevents issues from worsening in the long run. As a result, you get to maintain good oral hygiene.

Some preventive procedures such as root planning, cleaning, whitening, and scaling your dentist may recommend after a dental exam. These procedures usually follow a checkup, and they help remove hardened tar, thus preventing gum diseases. Sometimes, the dentist may just recommend an x-ray before dental treatment. These X-rays allow your dentist to check the conditions below the gum line, thus allowing the dentist to diagnose issues invisible to the naked eye.

Is Teeth Cleaning Necessary Every 6 Months?

As we have already discussed, it is crucial to have a dental examination twice a year. Besides assessing your dental health, the second most vital component of a dental exam is professional teeth cleaning. Plaque that accumulates with time is detrimental to your dental health. It can lead to tooth decay, gum diseases, and periodontitis. It is caused when sugars get around the teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive and form plaque. Cleaning plaque is a time-consuming process, but it’s worth the hassle.

During a cleaning procedure, your dentist will use a tool known as the scaler. The scaler helps in reaching some tough spots. The problem with plaque is that it forms in a colorless and sticky film. Therefore, it becomes tough to notice plaque buildup, and it continues to grow despite regular brushing. It is in your best interest to have it removed by a professional.

You may be a regular flosser, but it is challenging to reach some areas, leading to tooth decay and gum problems. The dentist uses the scaler to cleanse the tight spaces between the teeth and those towards the back of the mouth. Sadly, plaque isn’t the only thing that develops on your teeth. Tartar is also a major annoyance that causes dental health problems. So, what is the difference between tartar and plaque? The answer is nothing.

Alright, before confusion creeps in, tartar is the layer that forms when plaque combines with saliva. Moreover, it is much more complicated and pales in color. When it stays too long, tartar can also turn yellowish or brownish, thus blemishing your smile and causing some significant issues on the inside. Tartar creates a small pocket between your teeth and gums, thus weakening the tissues that hold your teeth together. It also results in a receding gum line. Most regrettably, tartar cannot be removed at home and handled by a professional. Now, would you allow plaque and tartar to sit on your teeth for a whole year? Absolutely not. Therefore, it is better to visit the dentist every six months.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Your Teeth Cleaned?

As we have already discussed, it can turn into tartar if left to stay. Tartar can pave the way for tooth decay, gum tissue erosion, and cavities. An oral condition that we have already discussed is periodontitis. This can lead to swelling and bleeding of the gums, thus leading to early tooth loss. A dentist can thoroughly cleanse your teeth to prevent all of these issues, as well as some severe problems like oral cancer. If you think those are the only issues unclean teeth can cause, you might want to continue reading. Here are some major health problems associated with unclean and unchecked teeth.

Stroke and Heart Disease

Sounds strange, right? It is actually true. The germs around your gums can make their way to your bloodstream. These germs are caused due to periodontal diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis. These germs tend to cause inflammation in the areas surrounding the heart. This inflammation can lead to clogged arteries, leading to a heart attack.

Pregnancy Complications

Gingivitis gives birth to bacteria in the mouth, ending up in the placenta through the bloodstream. These bacteria can cause severe inflammation that can cause obstetrical complexities. These complications include low birth weight, preterm labor, preeclampsia, and pregnancy loss.

Breathing Problems

The bacteria in your gums can travel to various parts of your body, and your lungs aren’t an exception. When this bacteria reaches the lungs, it can cause respiratory diseases. People who have weaker lungs or chronic respiratory issues must take extra care.


People with gum diseases have a higher likelihood of developing cancer. Some common types of cancer for these people include cancer in the kidneys, pancreas, and the blood. If you skimp on your dental visits, your chances of developing mouth and throat cancer increase. This is extremely important if you are a smoker.


Last on our list is dementia. Like any other organ in our body, the germs in your gums also affect the brain. If brain cells continue to get damaged, the risk of you developing Alzheimer’s disease increases.

How Often Should You Floss?

Brushing is great, but there are some areas we can’t reach with the bristles of most conventional toothbrushes. These are the areas between your teeth. The plaque on and between your teeth has bacteria. This bacteria feeds off the food particles stuck between your teeth, especially sugar. While providing, the bacteria release certain acids that eat away the enamel on your teeth, which results in cavities. Moreover, tartar results in the buildup of calculus, which causes gum disease. Regularly flossing your teeth can allow you to prevent such problems.

Now, let’s get back to the question, “how often should I floss.” The American Dental Association advises people to floss their teeth whenever comfortable. While some people floss early in the morning, others do it before going to bed, and either is fine. It doesn’t really matter whether you floss in the morning or evening. What matters is that you must floss every day to get rid of the pieces of food stuck between your teeth.

Another question that gets asked frequently is, “should I floss first or brush.” The truth is that it doesn’t matter what comes first, as long as you are maintaining good oral hygiene. However, in a study conducted in 2018, it is better to brush after you have flossing. Flossing loosens the hardened pieces of food trapped between your teeth. On the other hand, Bushing gets rid of those tiny particles of food that bacteria feed on. This regimen works as a two-edged sword against plaque, tartar, and bacteria.

Furthermore, when you brush after flossing, what happens is that fluoride concentration increases in the interdental plaque. As a result, the tooth enamel gets strengthened, which prevents tooth decay. However, the ADA doesn’t have strict rules regarding brushing first or flossing. The goal over here is maintaining good oral hygiene, and as long as you can pull that off, it’s all good.

Some people also raise the question, “why if I floss too much?” The answer is that you cannot floss too much until and unless you are flossing the wrong way. Sometimes, people exert too much pressure when flossing. This is bad for two reasons. First of all, applying too much pressure damages your teeth and gums, and secondly, it can cause bleeding and pain.

Instead of flossing aggressively, it is better to floss a couple of times softly during the day. If you floss right after a meal, you won’t have to floss aggressively. Consequently, your gums will remain safe and won’t bleed, and you won’t have to endure the pain.

What are the alternatives to flossing? If you don’t know already, flossing falls into the category of interdental cleaning. It helps in the removal of interproximal dental plaque and the debris that comes from food particles. Some of the tools needed for interdental cleansing include dental floss, waxed and unwaxed, pre-threaded flossers, dental tape, powdered flossers, water flossers, plastic wooden toothpicks, and tiny proxy brushes. Before using either of them, it is better to run a dental examination with the dentist to find out which one is best for your teeth and gums.

What if you have braces on? This is another question that is asked frequently. Braces are used to straighten your teeth, eliminate bite problems, align teeth and lips, and remove the gaps between your teeth. According to the American Association for Orthodontists, here are a few things you need to do if you have braces on.

  • Try not to consume starchy foods and sugary drinks
  • Brush after each and every meal to get rid of food particles
  • Rinse thoroughly before and after brushing
  • Ask your orthodontist to prescribe a fluoride rinse
  • Floss regularly for good dental health

Here are the tools you will be needing for flossing with braces on:

  • A floss threader because it sends the floss under the wires;
  • Waxed floss as it doesn’t catch on braces;
  • Water flosser. It is a tool that uses water for flossing your teeth
  • Interdental flossing brushes. These brushes get rid of the debris on your brackets and wires.

According to the American Dental Association, brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time is essential. Moreover, you should floss regularly using the tool that suits your teeth best. However, it is better to consult a professional dentist every six months. Regular examinations and professional teeth cleanings will keep your oral health condition top form.

Should You Get Your Teeth Cleaned During the Pandemic?

Variant after variant, the pandemic doesn’t seem to come to a stop. Despite the prompt vaccination drives and booster doses being administered, it continues to spread like wildfire. However, the world has transitioned into a new normal, and people are quickly learning to live with this vicious disease. The day is not far when it will turn into an endemic like the Spanish flu.

With concerts, football matches, and award shows in full swing, not visiting the dentist because of the pandemic is a poor excuse. The coronavirus is a respiratory disease. As we have already discussed, bacteria in your mouth affect your lungs. If your lungs are weakened, and you contract the virus, it will take its toll on you in the most horrific manner possible. Along with your lungs, the compromised state of your health from oral bacteria will slow down your immune responses against the contagion.

Studies have shown that regular dental cleaning decreases the likelihood of COVID-19 affecting you severely, even if you contract it from someone. Moreover, according to the American Heart Association, people with heart problems are more likely to develop endocarditis, a bacterial infection within the bloodstream. This happens due to poor oral hygiene. Delaying your dental cleaning session will make you more prone to catching COVID-19.

The Final Word

Keeping your teeth healthy isn’t rocket science. However, it needs some discipline. All you have to do is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Moreover, you need to use products rich in fluoride. More importantly, you need to contact your dentist and pay them a visit every six months. Not only will your dental health stay intact, your organs and your immune system will also remain in top condition. If you need dental care in Sacramento, CA, Soft Touch is the place for you. To benefit from our dental examinations and cleaning services, schedule a consultation today.

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