At some point in your life, you have probably received a postcard, text, email or phone call reminding you that you are due for your 6-month cleaning at your dentist’s office. The twice-a-year recommendation originated many years ago when dentists concluded they should focus more on educating people on preventing dental problems than only serving to fix them. However, the twice-yearly rule might not be the best schedule for everyone. Read on to learn more about how often you should get dental checkups.
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How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?
While it’s true that a twice-yearly cleaning schedule is a good rule of thumb for many people, scheduling dental visits should be based on each person’s oral hygiene, habits and medical conditions. That’s why it’s important to ask your dentist when you should schedule your next cleaning after every appointment.
Who Should Go to the Dentist More Often?
On average, seeing a dental hygienist twice a year works well for many people. However, some can get away with fewer visits, and others might need more frequent visits. People with a greater risk of dental disease and conditions might need to visit every three months, or more. This higher-risk group includes:
- Pregnant women
- People with gum disease
- People with a weak immune response to bacterial infection
- People who tend to get cavities or build up plaque and tartar
Your day-to-day schedule will change during your lifetime, and, most likely, so will your dental schedule. In times of stress or illness, you may need to see the dentist more often than usual. The dentist might help you to fight off a temporary infection or treat unexpected changes in your mouth.
Why is Going to the Dentist Important?
Even if you take excellent care of your teeth and gums at home, you still need to visit a dentist regularly. Your dentist can check for problems that you might or might not see or feel. A lot of dental problems, like cavities or the early stages of gum disease, aren’t visible or painful until they are in more advanced stages. Sometimes, the issue might be preventable and more easily treated in the early stages. Your dentist will be able to see this and find a solution that will save you more pain in the long run.
What Can You Do to Keep Dentist Appointments to a Minimum?
The best thing you can do to keep your necessary dental visits to a minimum is to maintain good oral hygiene. So, make sure you are brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day. If your dentist doesn’t find any cavities or gingivitis for a few years, he or she might choose to lengthen the time between visits.
If you haven’t heard how often you should see your dentist lately, twice a year is a great place to start. At your next appointment, ask your dentist how often they recommend you come in. Never assume you should cut back on your dental appointments yourself, and always follow your dentist’s advice. He or she will know the right timing that will help you put your best smile forward every day.