I smoke and drink a lot of coffee, both of which stain my teeth. How often should I get them cleaned?

Your question can only be answered by a dental hygienist or dentist after assessing the health of your gums and level of oral hygiene maintenance.

If your gums are healthy and you follow a good oral hygiene programme, then you may only need a professional cleaning once a year. However, because gum disease is so prevalent and symptoms are very insidious, it is important to visit a dentist every six months as those who ignore regular check-ups can sometimes end up with advanced gum disease that may result in the loss of teeth at an early age.

If you have gum disease, then depending on its severity, as well as your cooperation in maintaining good oral hygiene, you might need professional cleaning as often as every month.

If you are a heavy smoker, have diabetes or a family history of gum disease then you may require cleaning more often.