Teeth cleaning (also known as prophylaxis/scaling, literally a preventive treatment of a disease) is a procedure for the removal of tartar and plaque (mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine tooth brushing. It is often done by a dental hygienist.
Professional cleaning includes scaling, polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various hand instruments or automated devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
"The research evidence is not of sufficient quality to reach any conclusions regarding the beneficial and adverse effects of routine scaling and polishing for periodontal health and regarding the effects of providing this intervention at different time intervals". Thus, any general recommendation for a frequency of routine cleaning (e.g. every six months, every year) has no empirical basis.
Most dental hygienists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every six months. More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during treatment of dental and other oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year.
Good oral hygiene helps to prevent cavities, tartar build-up, and gum disease.