Taking care of our oral health is essential for the sake of our pearly whites and our overall well-being. With just a few minutes of dental care a day, you can help avoid fillings or root canals. Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up and lead to dental problems.
Experts recommend supporting your at-home tooth care with regular dental exams and cleanings. You should get your teeth cleaned by a professional at least once every 6 months, though some dental problems may require you to visit more often.
The Importance of Visiting Your Dentist
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends visiting the dentist at least twice a year. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential for reducing dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. While your at-home dental routine can remove most plaque (the bacteria that forms on your teeth), it can settle into places impossible to reach by brushing or flossing alone.
Plaque can harden into tartar within 24–36 hours. At this point, it’s too hard to remove with a toothbrush and floss, but a professional can scrape it away during cleaning.
A visit to your dentist allows us to examine your teeth and gums for early signs of oral health issues. Once we uncover them, we can take steps to prevent them from worsening or even reverse them.
Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings if you have a history of gum diseases or other dental problems.
Signs of Oral Health Problems
Seeing signs of oral health conditions is often a clear indication that you should schedule a visit to your dentist soon. Ideally, we would like to see you before symptoms appear, but if you notice any of the following signs, it’s probably time to contact your dentist:
- Hot or cold sensitivity
- Sensitivity to pain or sweetness
- Red, puffy, sore, shiny, or generally sensitive gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Seemingly random bleeding
- Lingering bad breath
- Open sores
- White or red patches
- Tingling or numbness
- Small lumps or thickening in mouth tissue
These may be signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. Your dentist can evaluate your symptoms and investigate what’s going on. If we discover something, we can also determine the appropriate treatment and help set you on the path to improved oral health.
Tips for Preventive Oral Care
We always enjoy it when you stop by, but there are steps you can take at home that can help limit how often you need to visit us.
Brush at Least Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth twice a day is one of the most crucial steps in maintaining good oral health. Brushing helps remove plaque buildup, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.
Use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth against decay, and make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes with a soft-bristled brush that can reach your back teeth. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles start to fray.
Floss Once a Day
Flossing removes hidden food particles and plaque between your teeth and below your gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach. It’s essential to floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. Not only does flossing help prevent cavities between your teeth, but it also makes your breath fresher.
Limit Sugary Snacks & Drinks
Sugary snacks and drinks are one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Limit your intake of sweets and avoid sugary drinks like fruit juices and sodas, which are acidic and can weaken your tooth enamel.
If you do indulge in something sweet, brush your teeth afterward to minimize the damage.
Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco Products
Smoking and using tobacco products can cause a variety of oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Quitting smoking and using tobacco products is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health.
Helping Your Smile Shine
Ultimately, how often you should get your teeth cleaned depends on your risk factors and oral hygiene habits. Visiting your dentist every 6 months is usually a good frequency for most children and adults. It’s often enough that your dentist can monitor your oral health and suggest if you need to consider changing your appointment schedule.
Pristine Dental is here to support a healthy and bright smile. If you can’t remember the last time you went to the dentist, that’s a fine sign that it’s time to stop by again! We’re ready to help you stay on top of your oral health, so book your next cleaning today.