Teeth Cleaning: Is Four Times a Year Necessary for Optimal Oral Health?

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Most people see their dentist for a professional teeth cleaning every six months – or twice a year.  The purpose of this is to remove plaque and tartar build up that a regular toothbrush cannot clean. 

Leaving it on the teeth will result in cavities, gum problems, and bad breath.  But what if you want to get your teeth cleaned more often?  Is it possible to get a teeth cleaning 4 times a year?

Benefits of Regular Teeth Cleaning

There are many benefits of regular teeth cleaning. 

  • Prevents cavities – Teeth cleaning removes plaque and tartar that causes cavities.
  • Prevents gum disease – Teeth cleaning prevents gum disease by removing bacteria and debris in the gums 
  • Fresher breath – Removes bacteria that causes bad breath
  • Brighter smile – Removes surface stains on the teeth
  • Maintain good oral health – Can detect potential problems early so you get quick treatment
  • Overall health benefits – Good oral health is linked with a reduced risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Should You Get a Teeth Cleaning 4 Times a Year?

Since there are so many benefits, should you get a teeth cleaning 4 times a year? The frequency of your teeth cleanings really depends on your oral health.  

Most people are fine with getting their teeth cleaned twice a year, but for some people, dentists will recommend coming in 3 or 4 times a year. Those people usually have a history of gum disease, have medical issues that affect oral health, have excess plaque and tartar build up, or are smokers. 

If you feel that you need more than 2 cleanings a year, you should discuss this with your dentist or hygienist.  They will be able to determine how many teeth cleanings you need a year for a healthy mouth. 

Who Needs Extra Teeth Cleanings

People that need extra teeth cleanings usually have a history or oral health problems or are at risk for many cavities. These people may have the following:

  • History of gum disease – Those with a history of gum disease will likely require 3 or 4 teeth cleanings a year to prevent the disease from progressing. 
  • Diabetes – Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease
  • Smokers – Smoking increases the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, and other oral health problems
  • Pregnant women – Hormonal changes puts pregnant women at risk for gum disease
  • Certain Medications – Some medications cause xerostomia, or dry mouth.  People with dry mouth have an increased risk of oral health problems. 

Will Insurance Cover 4 Cleanings a Year?

It’s hard to say if insurance will cover 4 cleanings a year.  It really depends on your dental plan.  Most dental insurance plans cover 2 cleanings a year, and some only cover 1.  

However, some insurance plans have special allowances for extra cleanings if you have a specific need for it.  This may require a documented history of gum disease or other oral health problems. 


Most people get their teeth cleaned twice a year, however, there are instances where 4 cleanings a year are necessary. This is when the person has a history of gum disease, diabetes, is a smoker, or is on certain medications.