Are Teeth Cleanings Really Necessary?

It’s fairly safe to say that most people aren’t that excited about dental cleanings. Otherwise, why would there be so many people who like to ask “Are teeth cleanings really necessary?”

Well, to answer that question, our dentists at Riverside Dental Care have something to say about the importance of regular dental cleanings.

Teeth Cleaning At Least Once A Year Are Critical For Oral Health

Likely, you have been told that dental cleanings should be done twice a year. While having twice a year dental cleanings are ideal, you may be able to scale down to once a year visits if you have exceptional dental health.

These regularly scheduled cleanings act as a fail-safe for your teeth. For those who never go to the dentist, simple dental problems like small cavities which could be resolved with a cleaning and extra attention can become infected to the point where the entire tooth is in jeopardy.

However, if you have great oral health and generally don’t have any issues, your dentist may tell you that once-a-year visits will be okay if you ask them about it. But, it is still usually recommended that you come in for biannual dental cleanings to prevent easy-to-correct dental issues from getting out of hand.

Dentists Can Catch A Variety Of Health Issues During Cleanings

Along with catching and fixing a wide array of dental problems, dentists also can identify various other health complications. These health problems often have signs that show up in your mouth, and out of all health care professionals, dentists are the ones you are likely to see most often when there is no pressing issue present.

Below are some of the health concerns that your local dentist may catch during your bi-yearly dental cleaning.

Oral Cancer

With oral cancers, it is often your regular dentist who will catch the signs, as dental issues are not usually covered by primary care physicians. But during even your biannual dental cleanings, x-rays of your teeth can reveal oral cancer that may not have even impacted you noticeably yet.

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, can seem like nothing more than a mild inconvenience when it starts. As it makes your gums tender, sometimes swollen, and may bleed, gum disease’s main trouble occurs under the surface. Without intervention, periodontal disease can lead to infections, abscesses, and lost teeth.

Digestive Issues

Gastrointestinal disorders, particularly ones that cause stomach acid to come up your esophagus, can be caught during your regular dental cleaning. As the acid wears the enamel of your teeth, your dentist may be able to help you in initially identifying the problem and recommend you see a doctor to help control the issue.  


Those who suffer from anemia have a lower than average red blood cell count or lack the right amount of iron. As your blood transports oxygen throughout your body, lacking the right levels of blood cells can be very damaging, leading to issues such as heart failure.

This particular disease can be identified by your dentist as they check your gums, as the gum tissue can become very pale when you have anemia. There are also signs that show up on your tongue that a dentist is trained to notice.

Ways To Make Biannual Teeth Cleanings More Comfortable

Sometimes, people avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety or previous bad experiences with other dentists. If this is what keeping from coming in for your important cleanings, here are some things you can try to overcome your discomfort.  

Discuss your concerns with your dentist – While we can’t speak to all dentists, at our dental clinics, our dentists are ready to work with someone to overcome their dental anxiety. They are happy to make adjustments like taking breaks for you to walk around and breath, to having you wear sunglasses and earplugs to block out the sounds of the clinic.

The majority of dentists just want to support you and your dental health, so don’t be shy about talking to your dentist about your dental anxiety.

Bring audio entertainment to distract – If you don’t want to block everything out but still need some escapism when it comes to your dental visits, bring along some audio entertainment. Having an audiobook, podcast, or favorite playlist handy can help ease you through your visits with the dentist.

Choose a low-volume appointment time – Those with dental anxiety often can become stressed in the waiting room if it is particularly crowded. Instead of trying to scooch discretely away from toddlers with running noses without crowding the person in the seat on the other side, schedule your dental appointments during low-volume times.

These times are often after the morning rush between 9:30 am-11 am and after 12 pm – 2 pm, as these are the times where most people are at work or school.

Have a non-food reward waiting – Plenty of parents use rewards to help children feel comfortable with going to the dentist, so there really is no reason why you can treat yourself after facing your fears and going to the dentist.

It may be a small item you want or a relaxing activity you enjoy, whatever helps you feel better about your choice. We would just recommend you choose a non-food reward so you can keep enjoying your freshly cleaned teeth feeling for as long as possible.

By doing these things and working with your local dental clinic, you should be able to make your biannual dental cleaning visits more comfortable as your teeth are better protected.

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