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Health and Fitness

Do I Need a Deep Teeth Cleaning?: 5 Signs the Answer Is Yes

According to the CDC, 1 in every 4 adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay.  Additionally, almost half of all adults over the age of 30 have some signs of gum disease. These stats are indicative of a real problem around oral health in the United States.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you could have excess plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth and below your gum lines. If this is the case, you may be in store for deep teeth cleaning.

But what is a deep teeth cleaning? What are the benefits? And how do you know if you need one?

Keep reading to find out.

What is Deep Teeth Cleaning?

Deep teeth cleaning is different from routine hygiene appointments. A regular cleaning removes the plaque and tartar from above your gum line. But a deep cleaning pushes below the gum line to clean out the plaque and tartar there.

Deep teeth cleanings are required when gum disease creates a space between your teeth and your gums. This space is a warm, damp place that bacteria and plaque like to gather and can wreak havoc on your oral health. It’s important to remove the plaque that builds up on the roots of your teeth and deep in your gums.

Deep cleaning involves scaling the gums and planing the roots. They typically take one or more visits before the entire process is finished and each visit can take up to 2 hours.

The Benefits of Deep Teeth Cleaning

The main benefit of deep teeth cleaning is that it helps to rid your mouth of excess decay. The longer the decay sits on your teeth, the worse it will get. When left untreated, tooth decay will turn into an abscess that could damage your heart.

When you take care of your deep teeth cleaning needs, you’re also preventing tooth loss. And while the initial cleaning may be more expensive than a traditional cleaning, it will help save you money in the long run on dental expenses.

Who Needs a Deep Teeth Cleaning?

Typically, most people will not need a deep teeth cleaning. A healthy adult who attends regular cleanings and has no signs of gum disease won’t have to worry about this procedure. Children and teenagers are also not at risk unless there is serious dental neglect.

In general, most people over the age of 30 who have signs of gum disease will need a deep teeth cleaning at least once in their lives. As you get older, your likelihood of needing a deep teeth cleaning will rise.

Five Signs You Need a Deep Teeth Cleaning

For the most part, your dentist will let you know when it’s time to get a deep teeth cleaning. There are some mile markers that only your dentist will be able to notice. However, if you think you may be a candidate for a deep teeth cleaning, there are some signs you can watch out for at home.

Tender or Puffy Gums

Tender or puffy gums are a sign of gum disease. When your gums are swollen and inflamed, they’re tender and could even be prone to bleeding.

The most common cause of tender or puffy gums is gum disease. However, it could also mean that you’re not brushing or flossing properly. It can also be caused by tobacco use, hormone changes, chemotherapy, and irritation from brushing.

However, if you notice that your swollen, tender gums are located around one single area in your mouth, it could be a sign that you have an abscess. Call your dentist and let them know of the symptoms so they know how to proceed.

Red and Bleeding Gums

We’ve all seen the toothpaste commercials that warn us that bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. However, bleeding gums could absolutely have a cause that is completely unrelated to an underlying disease.

If you notice that your gums are red, bleeding, and swollen, it’s a good sign that there is an underlying issue. Health gyms are coral pink and stippled, like the skin of an orange. If your gums are puffy and have a smooth service, it could be a sign that you have periodontal disease.

Receding Gums

Receding gums is a slightly more serious issue. Our gums are designed to protect the roots and nerves of our teeth. When our gums recede, the gum tissue starts to sink back from the teeth and exposes the root.

Again, the most common cause of receding gums is gum disease. And any gum disease is a sign that you should have a deep tooth cleaning.


Halitosis is a fancy word for having bad breath. Generally, if you have halitosis it means you should up your brushing game and talk to a dentist if it persists. Most of the time, bad breath doesn’t indicate a serious medical issue.

However, that isn’t always the case. If you think that your bad breath is exceptional, seek medical attention. It could be a sign that you have untreated gum disease.

Unpleasant Taste in Mouth

Lastly, an unpleasant taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away after brushing could be a sign that you have gum disease. The bad taste could be drainage from an abscess, also. The bacteria and plaque that build up over time will cause a smell and taste that is unpleasant.

A Bright, Healthy Smile for Life

If you think you need a deep teeth cleaning, the first thing you should do is call your dentist’s office and schedule an appointment. From there, he will be able to evaluate your teeth and gums to see if a deep teeth cleaning is something you could benefit from. Follow your dentist’s orders so you can have a healthy smile and great teeth for the rest of your life.

For more tips on how to live your healthiest life, keep reading!

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