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How often should you visit the dentist?

Wellness - How often should you visit the dentist?The simple answer to “how often should you visit the dentist?” is, “it depends on your needs”. To quote Dr. Paul Beirne, a lecturer in epidemiology at University College Cork in Ireland, a “one size fits all” preventive regimen is inappropriate.

Many people assume that they should have a dental checkup every six months, but this is not the case for many of us. Some people may not need twice yearly visits to the dentist while others may need to visit more frequently than every half year. It gets confusing, even when the the BBC writes about how often you should you visit the dentist.

Why do I need a dental check-up at all?

Let’s step back a bit and review why anybody might need a visit to the dentist: the goal is to catch small problems early.

A check-up enables your dentist to find any dental problems early. Your visit helps you find out what you should be doing to keep your mouth healthy. In taking care of your teeth, delay and ignoring problems can turn small issues into big problems. Leaving dental health issues untreated could make them more difficult to treat in the future. Your visit to the dentist enables dealing with problems early or, better yet, preventing  problems.

Even if you take excellent care of your teeth and gums at home, you still need to see your dentist regularly. Your dentist can check for problems that you may not see or feel. Many dental problems don’t become visible or cause pain until they are in more advanced stages. Regular visits allow your dentist to find early signs of problems and enable easier treatment of any problems.

Is there a difference between when children and adults should visit the dentist?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommend that children visit the dentist at least once a year because their teeth can decay faster than adults. Regarding just how much more often, consult with the team at Westbrook House Dental Surgery for your child’s needs.

The Canadian Dental Association gives some useful guidelines for how often adults should visit a dentist. The bottom line is that how often you should go for a dental exam depends on your oral health needs:

For many people, this means a dental exam every six months. Your dentist may suggest that you visit more or less often depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums, problems you have that need to be checked or treated, how fast tartar builds up on your teeth, and so on.

On average, seeing a dentist twice a year works well for most people. A few people can get away with fewer visits. Others may need more frequent visits. People with very little risk of cavities or gum disease can do fine seeing their dentist just once a year. People with a high risk of dental disease might need to visit every three or four months, or more.

Test yourself

The answers to these questions are some of the factors that affect your oral health – and some of the factors that will influence your dentists recommendation for how often you should visit the dental surgery.

  • Do you floss every day?
  • Do you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste?
  • Do you  follow your dentist’s instructions on how to brush properly?
  • Do you eat a well-balanced diet, including food from all food groups?
  • Do you limit sweets and sticky foods?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you tend to get cavities, gum disease, or build up plaque?
  • Is your overall health good?

Just how long you should wait before your appointment with the dentist’s chair will depend on the assessment you and your dentist make of your individual risk.

The frequency that you need to visit the dentist may change during a lifetime. In times of stress or health problems, you may need to see the dentist more often. The dentist may help you to fight off a temporary infection or treat changes in your mouth.

So, should I take time to visit the dentist?

Yes. If you have not seen a dentist for more than six months, make an appointment now. Call or fill out the contact form and click Send. During your visit, we will recommend the best schedule for your next routine dental visits.

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