When a dentist or dental hygienist cleans your teeth they remove soft (plaque) and hard (tartar, calculus, or stains) deposits from your teeth. The primary purpose of having your teeth cleaned is to prevent or delay the progression of periodontal diseases.
As with routine dental examinations, the frequency of professional teeth cleaning will depend on the health of your teeth and gums. Healthy children and adults should have their teeth cleaned at least once every 6-12 months. If you are at risk of periodontal diseases because of age, tobacco use, rate of accumulation of deposits, personal oral hygiene practices, or medical conditions such as diabetes or HIV infection, your teeth may need to be cleaned more often. Your dentist or dental hygienist can help you determine how often you should have your teeth cleaned.