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How Often Should You Go to the Dentist for a Cleaning?

Medically reviewed by Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc · Dentistry · Unihealth-Parañaque Hospital and Medical Center

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Dec 22, 2020

    How Often Should You Go to the Dentist for a Cleaning?

    We know that we should get a check-up from our dentist, but how often should you go to the dentist for a cleaning and why? Here are some fast facts about dental check-ups that you need to know. 

    How often should you go to the dentist for a cleaning?

    Most people recommend that you visit a dentist at least twice a year. However, the research for the link between a person’s oral health and going to the dentist every 6 months is rather sparse.

    There is however research that states that a yearly dental examination could be very beneficial for most people. Although it is important to remember that each person’s case may vary and a dentist may be the only one who can assess how often you may need dental care.

    So, why is it important to get a dental check-up at least once a year? Well, for one example, tooth decay was present in 92.4% of Filipinos. The same study also revealed that 97.1% of children who were six years old had tooth decay. 

    The majority of the tooth decay and gum diseases that Filipinos have is preventable, especially with regular check-ups from a dentist.

    How to Prevent Tooth Decay

    Additionally, there is research that states that there is a link between periodontal disease with other diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc. So by treating your dental problems, it could help keep your overall body healthy.

    What does a dentist do during a dental check-up?

    To assess a patient’s oral health, a dentist may perform a comprehensive periodontal evaluation on their adult patients. Your dentist may examine the following:

    • Risk factors
    • Bone structure
    • Your bite
    • Gums
    • Plaque
    • Teeth 

    What are the signs that I should visit my dentist?

    Getting a check-up 1-2 times a year is the answer you might be looking for to the question, “how often should you go to the dentist for a cleaning?’ But here are signs that may require you to schedule a more immediate appointment

    • Extreme swelling/abscessed tooth
    • A crown or filling fell out or is extremely loose
    • Knocked out/extremely loose tooth
    • Chipped/cracked tooth
    • Gums that bleed for more than 2 days after brushing, flossing, etc.
    • Headaches from jaw pain
    • Ongoing toothache 
    • Inflamed, sore, or swollen gums
    • White spots on gums or teeth 
    • Chronic dry mouth
    • Extreme sensitivity to cold and hot beverages and food
    • Canker sores
    • Mouth injury

    Dentist Appointment: Is it Safe to Go to the Doctor Now?

    How often should I have professional cleaning?

    A dental hygienist or a dentist often professionally cleans your teeth when you get a dental check-up. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned could prevent gum disease and it can help your dentist see if there are early signs of dental issues.

    Professional tooth cleaning can be good for you because there is only so much regular flossing and brushing can do. Professional cleaning helps get rid of any built-up plaque and tartar that can keep your mouth clean and healthy. 

    A dental professional performs cleans your teeth by using an ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar and plaque around the gum line while using a small mirror for a guide. It is normal to hear scraping sounds and feel water swishing around your mouth to minimize heat from the friction of the ultrasonic scaler against your tooth surfaces.

    What happens if I do not visit my dentist?

    There are many complications that a person could get if they skip out on a dental appointment. For instance, a mild case of gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which can loosen your teeth and have them fall out.

    As we mentioned earlier, plaque can turn into tartar, which can be hard to remove through flossing and brushing alone. Too much tartar can cause tooth decay and cavities.

    Additionally, built-up plaque and tartar can create many problems. For instance, it can lead to tooth stains, bad breath, tooth loss, etc. When you get a dental check-up, a dental professional may also look for signs of oral cancer. 

    As stated earlier, oral health is linked to overall health. So a dental professional may be able to spot signs of serious conditions like stroke and diabetes by checking your oral health. 

    Tips to help prevent oral disease

    There are many ways you could prevent oral disease while you undergo regular dental check-ups.

    1. Floss once a day.
    2. Brush your teeth twice a day to help decrease the amount of plaque in your mouth.
    3. It would also be ideal to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months because they lose their effectiveness since the bristles break down. You may also want to change your toothbrush after getting a sore throat, flu, cold, etc., to avoid getting reinfected by germs.
    4. Your tongue can have a lot of bacteria, so do not forget to clean it too to keep your breath fresh and remove excess bacteria. You can use a tongue scraper or lightly brush your toothbrush up and down your tongue then rinse your mouth.
    5. Additionally, you can make some lifestyle changes that could help you lower your risk of dental diseases. Some lifestyle changes you can make include quitting smoking and decreasing or omitting your sugar intake.

    Key Takeaways

    How often should you go to the dentist for a cleaning? Visiting your dentist at least 1-2 times a year and whenever you have alarming symptoms can help you avoid more severe dental problems and keep your mouth healthy.

    Learn more about Oral Health here. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc

    Dentistry · Unihealth-Parañaque Hospital and Medical Center

    Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Dec 22, 2020

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