Protect and boost your oral health with help from your dentist.

If you’re busy or you are living on a tight budget, skipping your regular professional dental cleanings might feel like a smart, or even necessary, decision—especially if you take great care of your oral hygiene at home. While at-home dental care is essential for your oral health, so are professional dental cleanings. They provide benefits to your oral health that you simply can’t get at home, so getting a professional cleaning every six months will save you both time and money in the long run. Here are 10 ways you’ll benefit from committing to getting a professional dental cleaning every six months.

1. Professional cleanings remove tartar buildup.

Over time, minerals in your saliva harden the plaque on your teeth into deposits of tartar, which has a number of damaging effects on your teeth. Since tartar is hard and bonds to the enamel of your teeth, you can’t get it off at home by simply brushing and flossing—it needs to be removed by Dr. Wohlers during your regular professional cleaning. It only takes between 24 and 72 hours for plaque to harden into tartar, so pretty much everyone accumulates at least a little in the six months you spend between dental appointments. No matter how well you take care of your teeth at home, you’ll need to visit Dr. Wohlers to get tartar removed from your teeth regularly.

2. They make your teeth look healthier and brighter.

The tartar that Dr. Wohlers cleans off your teeth is tinted yellow or brown, so it can actually make your teeth look more stained. Cleaning tartar off your teeth makes them look a little whiter and healthier than they did when you entered our office—and a brighter smile is always a welcome change!

3. Professional cleanings help prevent cavities and gum disease.

Tartar is full of bacteria, so letting it sit on your teeth for extended periods of time by missing your regular professional dental cleaning can be harmful to your oral health; the tartar can eat through tooth enamel and result in cavities or can contribute to gum disease. Removing the tartar and plaque from your teeth during a thorough professional cleaning keeps your mouth healthier by helping to prevent cavities and gum disease.

4. They help dentists detect early signs of dental problems.

During your professional dental cleaning, Dr. Wohlers gets the chance to have a good look at your teeth and evaluate their health. She keeps an eye out for dental problems such as broken fillings, tooth fractures, cavities, and gum disease. Any of these can become larger, painful issues that require more invasive treatment if they aren’t caught early. For example, a failing filling can quickly lead to a major cavity underneath it, requiring a root canal and dental crown, while periodontitis can cause you to lose teeth if it goes undetected and untreated for a long period of time. As a result, sticking to a regular six-month schedule for your professional dental cleanings can make all the difference for your oral health by ensuring that issues are caught and treated early.

5. Professional cleanings save expenses on dental treatments in the long run.

Most dental insurance plans cover 100% of the cost of two preventative treatments each year for everyone on your dental plan, so professional cleanings are usually completely free for you. Since they help prevent dental issues and allow Dr. Wohlers to catch issues that do arise early, you’ll spend less money on treatments such as dental fillings or even root canals or treatments for periodontitis. In the long run, these cleanings actually end up saving you a lot of money.

6. They save you time.

While it might feel difficult to set aside time in your busy schedule for your dental cleaning, making the time now saves you a lot more time in the end. After all, it’s a lot easier to set aside a few hours every six months for a preventative cleaning than it is to set aside time for multiple appointments to diagnose and treat the cause of your toothache—an issue that could easily take at least two or three appointments to diagnose and solve.

7. They help remedy bad breath.

If you struggle with persistent bad breath that seems to keep returning only a few minutes after you’ve brushed your teeth, there are several potential causes. One of the common causes is a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth—since they’re full of bacteria, these buildups don’t smell great. The good news is that if this is the culprit, simply cleaning the tartar and plaque off your teeth can improve your breath, helping it to stay fresh for longer after your oral hygiene routine. When you get these cleanings regularly, you can help prevent this buildup from getting bad enough to negatively impact your breath.

8. Professional cleanings are essential for early oral cancer detection.

When Dr. Wohlers performs your regular professional dental cleaning and evaluation, she’ll also perform a regular oral cancer screening. Every year, over 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer—and about 1 in 4 of those cases are fatal. Thankfully, oral cancer is very treatable if it’s caught early, so early detection is vital to defeating it. Getting a regular dental cleaning allows Dr. Wohlers to get a look at your mouth every six months and order further testing if she sees any potential signs of oral cancer.

9. They provide the perfect opportunity to get advice from your dentist.

Your regular appointment with Dr. Wohlers provides the perfect opportunity for you to ask her questions about your oral health. Whether you have a question about what type of mouthwash you should use or a symptom you’re experiencing, she can give you great advice that will help you improve your daily oral hygiene routine or detect issues early.

10. They protect your overall health.

Since regular dental cleanings play such an important part in preventing and diagnosing oral health issues, they also have a huge impact on your overall health. It’s easy to think of your mouth as completely separate from the rest of your body, but it’s just as connected as your stomach or lungs are—so it can have just as big of an impact on your overall health!

This isn’t just because of issues like oral cancer; periodontitis, for example, has a wide range of negative effects on your entire body if it goes untreated. This is because oral bacteria find their way into your bloodstream, making it harder to control diabetes, increasing the likelihood that you’ll get infections in other parts of your body, and increasing your risk of stroke, heart disease, or giving birth prematurely. Keeping issues like periodontitis under control takes daily oral care at home, but professional dental cleanings are also essential for breaking up tartar, spotting these issues early, and ensuring that you get prompt treatment. The result is not just a healthier mouth, but a healthier body.

Practicing your at-home oral hygiene routine is a vital part of maintaining your oral health, but even the best at-home care isn’t a replacement for your regular professional cleanings—though it will help your cleaning go more smoothly by limiting the issues that Dr. Wohlers is likely to find. In the long run, making the time for your regular appointment is more convenient and cost-efficient, and it can even help you live a longer, healthier life.