Dental Hygiene Frequency

Do Dental clinics ask you to come back twice a year or every six months because they need to create business? You know how every six months, the hygienist always brings up the topic of “Have you been flossing”. She asks with so much regularity that you wonder if she had nothing else to make conversation. If they are not asking you to do this then you must find the right dentist who does.

Without doubt the truth about the six month return visit request, is that there are some truths to be told.

As someone who is a bit anal about life, my brushing and teeth cleaning routines are more regular than clock work. As well, my routine is fully encompassing. After brushing with the best toothpaste recommended for my sensitivity level, the electric toothbrush is used for the regulation period of minimum another minute so that the total brushing time is the full recommended two minutes. Of course, there is flossing with the exact width waxed floss which helps to get all those particles between the teeth. No matter the late hour, I will still floss because I hear my hygienist words repeated, “Not flossing is like taking a shower and not washing under your armpits”.

I also remember my young six year old niece who came home from the dentist and was diagnosed with four cavities all between her teeth because they did not floss her teeth. The final moments are spent using a soft pick which is a tiny pliable plastic brush to clean between the crevices between my gums and teeth. I have some large spaces between my gums and teeth which are called pockets and also the signs for gum disease.

The vigor of this routine was instigated only a few years ago when my hygienist took a digital photo of my gums. For the first time in my life I saw tartar. It was disgusting. Large lumps of white clay like substance laying all along the gum line. Tartar is like barnacles…hard, tough, and impossible to remove unless it is done professionally by a hygienist. It is formed from food that is left on teeth. That forms plaque which is soft and white. If plaques is not removed it becomes hard and sticks to the gum line. It is the tartar that is the cause of gum disease which includes receding gums, bone loss, bleeding gums, pain and eventually perfectly healthy teeth just fall out due to the loss of the bone around the tooth.

So yes, they do insist on six months for regular tartar removal or commonly known as a dental cleaning or hygiene appointment. The accumulation of tartar varies in every mouth. The average person will have enough buildup in six months to warrant a professional teeth cleaning. Many others actually need to return every three to four months, based on their dental health or in other words how quickly they build up tartar, how many pockets there are and how deep they are.