What Can Happen When You Don’t Have Your Teeth Cleaned Regularly

Woman receiving a dental cleaning

Dental cleanings are a part of your preventative oral care routine. Cleanings are done by licensed and registered dental hygienists who are fully trained and skilled to remove tartar, plaque, and stains that are impossible to do on your own. Unfortunately, a lot of people forgo their bi-annual dental cleaning, assuming that it’s unnecessary because they brush regularly. However, dentists recommend that you have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year for these reasons.

The Importance of Dental Cleanings

Teeth cleanings are essential because they remove hardened plaque from your teeth along with stains and tartar that regular brushing and flossing are not able to remove. Plaque and buildup can only be removed with specialized dental tools. Your dental hygienist will also check for signs of gingivitis, gum disease, oral cancer and other issues that could go undetected if you keep forgoing your dental cleaning appointments.

What Can Happen If Dental Cleanings are Missed?

Regular cleanings can help detect problems before they get worse as well as prevent certain issues from occurring in the first place. Some of the things that can happen if you continually miss dental cleanings include:


Cavities and tooth decay can occur underneath built-up tartar and plaque because it is nearly impossible for you to remove on your own. Tooth decay can also occur between teeth, making it difficult to keep clean at home and may only be cleared away in a dental office.

Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar irritate the gum line. The gum line becomes inflamed and small pockets form around the teeth, allowing for more bacteria, food, and plaque to get in and further inflame the gums. This eventually leads to gum disease, which can cause tooth and bone loss. A simple teeth cleaning can help patients avoid gum disease.

Bad Breath

That white hardened plaque, brown tartar, and dental stains are all made up of bacteria that are next to impossible to remove on your own. This can cause a problem with bad breath that no amount of mints or gum will be able to cover for you. Certain dental stains can only be removed with special tools that your hygienist has been trained to use. If you’ve used at-home whitening treatments to no avail and are still experiencing stains, you will need a professional cleaning to remove these spots.

Loss of Teeth

When you neglect your teeth, you will eventually have to deal with tooth loss. Hardened plaque, tartar, and bacteria cause pockets around the teeth, which inflames the gums and can lead to complete tooth loss.

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Risk of Oral Cancer

Dental cleanings also check for abnormalities, which can be signs of oral cancer and often go undetected during the early stages. Because of this, having routine dental cleanings can keep you up-to-date on any early signs of cancer so you can start treatment right away.

Pregnancy Complications

Because expectant mothers have increased hormonal fluctuations in their bodies, they are actually more susceptible to infections and gum disease. This can affect the baby because infections can spread through the bloodstream. In some cases, it has even lead to premature birth and low birth weight if not treated. Routine teeth cleanings can help prevent these complications.

The Risk to Overall Health

Poor oral hygiene has been linked to a wide range of other health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes complications, and high blood pressure. This is due to the fact that anything and everything in your mouth is easily ingested and absorbed into the bloodstream. If your mouth is full of bacteria and your oral hygiene is lacking, you’re introducing a series of harmful germs and substances into your bloodstream which can further compromise your health and well-being.

What is Involved During a Dental Cleaning?

Having your teeth cleaned professionally is painless and noninvasive. Anesthesia is not required and the entire cleaning process is done relatively quickly, depending on how much plaque and tartar has built up. General teeth cleanings involve:

  • Initial Examination of Teeth
  • Removal of Plaque and Tartar
  • Teeth Polishing
  • Thorough Flossing
  • Fluoride Treatment (only for some patients)
  • Oral Hygiene Recommendations

Along with what a dental cleaning looks for and is able to remove, having your teeth cleaned helps your mouth look and feel its best. Many people find that they smile more after having their teeth professionally cleaned simply because that hardened plaque and tartar is gone and they can feel confident about their appearance. Cleanings are crucial for a healthy and bright smile along with your at-home oral hygiene routine.

Is It Too Late for a Dental Cleaning?

It is never too late to go in for your dental cleaning. Just because you haven’t gone for a cleaning in a while doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start taking control of your teeth and oral health. Likewise, if you’ve had gaps between seeing the hygienist, now is the time to get back into a solid treatment routine. Try to make it one of your dental resolutions for the new year or make a pact with your family members to see your dentist regularly. Whatever it takes, routine dental care only benefits you and your future health.

For more info on our dentist offices in Reno and Las Vegas, NV, reach out to Absolute Dental. By making sure you go to your bi-annual visits to the hygienist, you are taking strides towards a clean, healthy and beautiful smile.

About the Author

Dr. Scott Futch

Dr. Scott F. Futch, DDS

Dr. Scott Futch has been a clinical director for Absolute Dental since April 2017. Dr. Futch graduated from University of Michigan School of Dentistry and completed his training at the Dawson Academy; a postgraduate multi-disciplinary education clinical research facility dedicated to the advancement of dentistry. Dr. Futch has had over 25 years of experience as a skilled clinician, mentor and coach.

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