Good oral hygiene is the foundation of your oral health. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling a teeth cleaning every six months. But if you’re already brushing and flossing, why do you need a teeth cleaning? Do you really need to see the dentist twice a year? The answer is yes — for the most part. Here are a few reasons why you should see your dentist every six months. Get a Stronger, More Thorough Teeth Cleaning Brushing and flossing on your own is critical in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque, the slick film you feel on your teeth in the morning, forms naturally every day, and brushing and flossing is the only way to get rid of it. If you don’t brush and floss, then bacteria will consume the plaque and produce acids that will wear down your teeth and gums. Plaque that builds up over time eventually turns into tartar, a harder substance that can’t be removed with at-home oral hygiene habits. Even if you’re a devoted brusher and flosser, there may be parts of your teeth that are difficult to reach where plaque can build up over time, turning into tartar. Tartar is the next step on the way to gum disease and cavities. During a professional teeth cleaning, our dentists have the tools, products, and techniques necessary to remove all of the plaque and tartar from your teeth. We’ll clean your teeth thoroughly to keep your smile healthy. Prevent or Catch Serious Oral Health Problems When we schedule a teeth cleaning with a patient, our dentists won’t just clean their teeth and send them on their way. We’ll take this opportunity to check on our patient’s oral health with an oral examination. During an oral examination, we’ll use dental X-rays to check for oral health issues such as bone abnormalities, impacted teeth, and cysts. We usually do new X-rays every two to five years, so during the visits in between, our dentists will still examine your mouth and use your old X-rays as a sort of roadmap for what issues to be on the lookout for. Oral exams are a great, non-invasive way to catch serious oral health problems before they get out of hand. For example, seeing your dentist every six months means having a better chance of catching any signs of gum disease while they’re still reversible. We’ll also be able to keep an eye on developing issues, such as watching as your wisdom teeth start to come in to see if and when they need to be removed. Preventive dentistry will save you both time and money in the long run. Get Cosmetic Dentistry Advice from a Reliable Source When it comes to changing the look of your smile, there’s a lot you can do on your own, particularly in the teeth whitening department. But wouldn’t you rather speak with a professional before trying expensive product after expensive product to find one that works? By scheduling a teeth cleaning every six months, you have a built-in time to ask an expert about the best way to improve your smile through cosmetic dentistry. We can schedule another appointment to whiten your teeth with a stronger product than what you’d find at the store, or we can tell you more about other options for brightening your smile that you may not have heard of before, such as porcelain veneers. The Exception to the Rule You probably noticed that we said at the beginning of this article that you need to see a dentist every six months — for the most part. So who is the exception to the rule? Ultimately, it comes down to what your dentist recommends for your specific case. In rare cases, our dentists may recommend you see us only once a year if your oral health is on the right track. Likewise, our dentists may suggest you see us more frequently than every six months if you have an ongoing oral health concern.. Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning In general, dentists recommend that you get your teeth cleaned every six months by a dental professional. Our Hudsonville, MI, teeth cleaning dentists can help you protect your smile and maintain your oral health. To schedule your next appointment, call Hudsonville Dental today at (616) 209-4024, or contact us online.