For most Americans, their twice annually recommended trips to the dentists’ office are not eagerly anticipated events. However, the frequency of picks and drills in one’s mouth may be less necessary for some patients based on a recent study published in the Journal of Dental Research. The study suggests that the frequency of visits to the dentist should primarily be based upon the patient’s risk of periodontal disease. The old norm of visiting the dentist twice a year for teeth cleaning and checkups is being replaced by a growing chorus advocating annual checkups.
How often should you visit your dentist? The frequency in which you visit your dentists depends on a variety of general and personal factors. You should use your best judgement when deciding how often you should visit the dentist. Here is some information to help you decide when you should seek professional dental care.
What Determines How Frequently You Visit the Dentist?
If you are a person who engages in basic dental care, you probably visit the dentist on no more than once a year. Basic dental care includes regular brushing, flossing and avoiding foods and beverages that can stain your teeth and remove enamel. By practicing basic dental care, you reduce tooth decay, prevent serious gum disease and reduce the period of time between visits to your dentist.
The use of tobacco, foods with sugar (that can lead to the growth of plaque), coffees and caffeinated beverages will increase the frequencies of your dental visits. The formation of plaque or damage to your teeth and gums can lead to teeth decay and the need to see your dentist for more serious forms of dental care.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, often referred to as periodontitis, is a disease of your gums. The introduction of bacteria in your mouth leads to periodontitis. Over time, gum disease leads to the loss of teeth, as the tissue around your teeth is eroded. Before developing periodontal disease, you will experience inflammation of the gums. This condition is known as gingivitis and is a sign that you should see your dentist for immediate care options. The longer you ignore the symptoms that lead to gum disease the more you increase your risk for tooth loss.
When Often Should You See Your Dentist?
The best answer for how often you should visit your dentist is on a regular and consistent basis. This can be as often as bi-annually or annual for regular cleaning and checkups. If you experience tooth sensitivity, bleeding gums or other symptoms of tooth decay or periodontal disease, you should immediately schedule an appointment to see your dentist for an evaluation and checkup.
You should see your dentist based on your needs for care and the condition of your teeth and gums. If you have not been to the dentist in years, you should schedule a basic checkup and gum cleaning at your earliest convenience. It is during this time that you can establish a relationship with the dentist and discuss care issues for your teeth.