How Often Should You Go to the Dentist?
Ask most people how often you should go to the dentist, and they'll probably tell you once every six months.
The importance of bi-yearly dental checkups is a commonly held belief, but is going to the dentist this often really necessary?
While there's scant evidence that having a dental checkup every six months is best for oral health, it's a reasonably good rule of thumb. Twice-yearly dental cleanings allow your dentist to detect minor problems and correct them before they become more significant issues. However, some people may need to go more or less often, depending on their health and lifestyles.
If you can't afford to visit a dentist this often, don't despair. Some evidence shows that people with a low risk of dental disease can limit dentist checkups to once per year or even once every two years without jeopardizing their oral health. You can ask your dentist whether it's safe to visit less frequently at your next routine cleaning.
Some people have a higher risk of developing dental conditions and may need to see a dentist up to four times a year. Consider scheduling more frequent dental checkups if you're pregnant or smoke tobacco. Your dentist may ask to see you more often if you have a history of being susceptible to dental issues, such as cavities or plaque.
Certain health conditions can also increase your risk of dental disease, including:
- Compromised immunity
- Gum disease
On the flip side, some people may only need a routine checkup at the dentist once per year or even less often. Taking care of your oral hygiene is the most effective way to protect your dental health and keep dental checkups to a minimum.
Brushing your teeth twice daily and using floss or an interdental brush to clean between your teeth can significantly reduce the risk of cavities and gingivitis. Avoiding smoking and cutting down on sugary foods and drinks can also help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Your dentist may give you the green light to switch to annual visits if you demonstrate consistently good dental health.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling your child's first dental checkup when their first baby tooth appears or by their first birthday. It's worth considering taking your child to a pediatric dentist, as these practitioners have extensive experience caring for infants' teeth.
Like adults, children usually need to visit the dentist around once every six months. However, your dentist may recommend a different schedule based on your child's health and development.
Many parents are surprised by how early they should start taking their children to the dentist. However, caring for baby teeth is just as important as looking after permanent teeth.
Brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and routine checkups at the dentist can help your child avoid the discomfort of cavities and other dental conditions. Healthy baby teeth can also help your child speak and eat comfortably and provide a pathway for the eruption of healthy adult teeth.
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