How Often Do You Need a Dental Cleaning

How Often Do You Need a Dental Cleaning? 

Tartar, aka calculus, is evident as triangular ridges in between teeth

Why Do We Need Dental Cleanings? 

We need professional dental cleanings because brushing and flossing alone does not remove all the plaque and tartar from our teeth. Of course, there is that small percentage of population that clean their teeth so well they don’t every need regular dental cleanings. These are the rare few who haven’t seen a dentist in 10+ years but still have perfectly straight and healthy teeth. For the rest of us, getting our regular dental cleanings is very important to the long-term health of our teeth and gums. Your dentist, or dental hygienist, is much better equipped to clean your teeth, especially the areas underneath your gums. Keep in mind that once food particles harden on your teeth surfaces, known as tartar or calculus, these particles can no longer be removed with regular brushing and flossing. Only a professional dental cleaning can remove tartar from your teeth. Additionally, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums for cavities or infection, your oral cavity for cancer or other suspicious lesions and your head and neck for TMJ symptoms, sleep apnea and other potential medical issues. As you can see, there's quite a lot to gain from these regular dental checkups.

How Often Do I Need a Dental Cleaning? 

This really depends on different factors. For instance, if you don’t eat much sugars, brush and floss well and are generally pretty healthy, you may need a dental cleaning once every 6 months or even once a year. On the other hand, if you have lots of existing dental work, medical issues like diabetes, poor diet or hygiene, then you will likely need a dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months.

Dental Cleaning Once a Year

If you have very healthy teeth and gums, and we mean very healthy, then one dental cleaning a year may be enough for you. This means that you brush and floss daily, avoid processed sugars and have had very little dental work throughout your life. If you’ve had many fillings in the past, have had orthodontic work, have crooked teeth, etc. than once a year is definitely not enough.

Every 6 Months 

Every 6 months seems to be a great time frame for majority of people. This means you must have little to no signs of gingivitis (bleeding gums), pretty good oral hygiene and a relatively small amount of existing dental work. If you’ve had orthodontic work in the past, 6 month cleaning should be the minimum for you.

Every 4 Months

As we age, typically past our 30s, we start to lose gums and bone around our teeth. By the time we are in our 40s and 50s, most of us have some level of periodontitis (bone loss). Most people with mild to moderate periodontitis need a dental cleaning every at least every 4 months. Getting that extra cleaning each year not only protects your teeth against the harmful effects of bacteria, but also make the dental cleanings less painful and more pleasant.

Every 3 Months 

Three month dental cleanings are necessary for patients with advanced periodontitis. If you have heavy bleeding gums, an extensive amount of existing dental work, severe dry mouth or an extensive list of medical issues, you may need a dental cleaning every 3 months. If you’ve had periodontal surgery in the past, you may have to get 3 month cleanings to maintain your gum health over time. Getting four cleanings a year may seem like lots of work, but it is better than losing teeth and developing dental infections!


Investing in frequent regular dental cleanings is the simplest, least expensive and most practical way of maintaining your oral health over the years. Different people need different number of dental cleanings. The more existing dental work you have, the more your gums bleed, the more medications you are taking, the drier your mouth is, the more frequently you need to get your dental cleanings. Ultimately, your dentist is best suited to determine how frequently you need your teeth cleaned. If you live in Southern California and need a good, thorough dental cleaning, be sure to give us a call!

Brush ‘n Floss Yo Teeth!
Ali John Jazayeri, DDS


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