How often should you go to the dentist?
Now I know that despite your positive childhood experience with a tooth fairy, you still loathe the very idea of going to the dentist. But really, how often should you go? Well, it depends.
One might start by asking “Aren’t we supposed to see a dentist twice a year?” To tell you the truth, this myth originated from an advertisement for toothpaste, and in fact, there is little to no research to support this claim.
To answer this question for yourself, you’ll probably need to have a dentist appointment first. Based on your oral health, habits and existing medical conditions, your dentist will then recommend a date for your follow-up appointment. As a rule of thumb, the lower risk of dental problems, the longer you can wait until your next visit. This means that people with good oral health will only need to see their dentist once every year or every two years, but those with problems will require check-up visits more often.
What categories of people exactly should see dentists more often?
- Pregnant women: due to hormone level fluctuations during pregnancy, some women may experience gum swelling and bleeding;
- Smokers: generally, smokers are at higher risk of developing periodontitis (severe gum disease) and oral cancer. Ingredients contained in cigarettes dry your mouth, which hampers the rinsing of bacteria away;
- Diabetics: have increased risk of gum disease and fungal infections;
- People with gum disease;
- People with heart disease: there is evidence to suggest that frequent dental cleanings reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack;
- People with compromised immune system e.g. HIV – positive, have a higher risk of infections and dental decay;
- People who are predisposed to cavities and/or plaque build-up;
- Children: frequent dental visits will not only teach kids to practice good dental habits but will also make them more at ease with going to the dentists. The dentist will check that the child’s teeth and jaw are developing the way they should and will examine for cavities or other issues.
It is important to note that seeing your dentist regularly is essential in maintaining your oral health. Dentists can detect and identify issues such as cavities or gum disease early on (and that you may not be able to identify yourself!) and thus prevent the problems from worsening in the future by delivering timely treatment necessary. Your mouth may also be indicatory of underlying health problems such as anemia and diabetes. Dentist Said from fredrikstadtannhelse.no says prevention is key: any health problem is worth treating early as it will help you save your time, money, and energy long-term.
If you have one of the problems below, do not wait to book an appointment with your dentist: · Tooth or gum pain
- Chipped teeth
- Temperature sensitivity
- Lost fillings
- Bleeding or swollen gum
- Dry mouth
- Jaw pain
If you belong to the lucky group of people who do not experience any dental problems, make sure you still stick to basic oral hygiene rules: maintain a strict brushing and flossing routine. And smile!