How often should I have my teeth cleaned?The short answer is:
Everyone is different, so Dr. Welch recommends recall frequency on a patient-by-patient basis. Most of our patients come every six months, and it's clear that skipping a six-month checkup can cause a lot if issues down the road.
The longer answer is:
Twice a year is easy to remember, but there's no solid science behind that number—in fact, the twice-yearly recommendation is the result of a Pepsodent® toothpaste marketing campaign in the 1950s. Most of us at Scott Welch, DDS, and our families have our teeth cleaned every three months. With new information emerging every year about the link between inflammation of the gums and overall health, we think it is smart.
The science has always showed that most people will have enough calculus (also known as tartar, or hardened dental plaque) on their teeth by three or four months to
need a cleaning. Remember, plaque is a soft film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. It can be brushed or flossed away. If you don't practice good oral hygiene, which helps limit the amount of plaque that stays on your teeth, the plaque hardens into calculus (also called tartar).
Here's a kind of scary statistic: the amount of calculus (or tartar) on your teeth basically doubles each month. That means that at four months after a professional cleaning, you will have twice the amount you had at three months. The longer you wait to have the tartar removed from your teeth, the worse it gets—if you wait until seven months to get your teeth cleaned, you'll have double the amount of calculus you had at six months, when most everyone has a fair amount of calculus! The more hard tartar you have on your teeth, the more difficult your visit with us.
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