This is a question that many patients ask and the answer truly depends on the individual patient. There are many factors that will dictate the frequency of your dental hygiene appointments. First and foremost, probably the most significant factor is your home care. Ideally, you should brush two times a day and include at least one session of flossing. Preferably, brushing once in the morning and the other session in the evening. Furthermore, this needs to be a quality brushing and flossing. Please take your time! You need to be meticulous and thorough to adequately clean every area of your mouth. You can use mouthwash as an adjunct but it does not replace either brushing or flossing. Recent news indicating that flossing is not needed is erroneous. In my opinion, it is the best way to clean in between your teeth especially at the contact point where 2 teeth touch. However, the use of dental piks or interdental brushes can be useful for those patients whose gum tissue has receded away in between two teeth. Often, there is a large space there once the gum tissue has disappeared. Interdental brushes can be more effective than floss in those areas. As well, there are oral irrigators such as Waterpiks or air flossers that also might help in those areas. Ultimately, regardless of what you use, what is most important is that it is done and done regularly. Effective and thorough home care will maintain your mouth optimally and prevent tartar build up. This can minimize your professional cleanings significantly.
Some other factors that can play a role as far as cleaning frequency include: the presence of any gum disease (gum recession and bone loss), overall health (uncontrolled diabetes and certain medications can affect gum health), crowded teeth (make plaque and tartar removal challenging) and susceptibility to cavity formation. It is better to err on the side of caution as far as more frequent cleanings because if gum disease manifests or progresses, the damage can be irreversible.
At our St. Catharines office, Dr. Vlahos and hygienists Jodi and Jana, will recommend a specific home care program and professional cleaning interval that is appropriate and tailored for you. It will be based how well you are taking care of your teeth at home and other factors as described as above. If you have any questions about how often you should have your teeth cleaned, please contact us at 905-937-4673 or [email protected], we will be more than happy to discuss this with you! In the meantime, please brush and floss two times a day!