How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?
We all know the recommendation for getting our teeth checked for cavities and cleaning is at least twice a year. Is this really the case for everyone though, and why?
Where Did “Every 6 months” Come From?
I bet you didn’t know there are many theories as to where the phrase “6-month dental check-up” originated. The possibility of it dates back to the 18th century, while others believe it originated 50 years ago when army recruits’ dental health was in such bad shape, they implemented dental guidelines to rectify it.
Another theory is that Pepsodent Toothpaste ads that were run in the U.S. suggested every 6-month schedule to appease the dental industry. Funny how a toothpaste commercial could be the cause of having dentist guidelines!
No matter which theory is correct, these are the guidelines we still go by today.
Are Regular Visits Necessary?
Many of us do not actually realize our teeth are connected to the rest of our body, or that a toothache can be caused by something other than a cavity. Seeing the dentist on a regular basis not only helps to keep our teeth as clean as possible, but also to detect any other issues and treat them fast, reduce potential pain, and reduce the need for any procedures other than a basic cleaning.
Dental health will differ from person to person. If your life applies to one of the following, you are at greater risk for dental issues and you may be recommended to visit your dentist more often.
Smoking: As we have seen in the anti-smoking ads, tobacco can cause gum disease (periodontitis) and discoloration.
Pregnant Women: Pregnancy hormones may cause gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), sensitivity, and increased tooth decay.
Cancer Patients: Many people with cancer suffer oral health issues like dry mouth and infections, usually side effects of the drugs or other treatments. After a cancer diagnosis, it’s best to see the dentist more often than twice a year.
Diabetes: There is a higher risk of fungal infections, gum disease, and other oral health issues in those who are diabetic.
Heart Disease: Bet you didn’t know that your dental health is linked to your heart health! Visiting a dentist regularly helps to reduce your chances of stroke or a heart attack, as inflamed gums are what causes (and are the point of entry) of bacteria into the bloodstream, which affects our overall health.
The Dentist Isn’t the Boogeyman
If the reason why you aren’t seeing your dentist on a regular basis is due to dental anxiety and fear, then let’s put your mind at ease.
We greet you with a smile, and we want your experience to be as calm and welcoming as possible. We are concerned with your health and want to be sure your teeth and body are healthy and happy.
The advances in dental technology have helped us reduce and even completely remove the pain from any procedures you might need, which definitely makes things a lot easier. We also offer IV sedation to help you relax during a procedure.
What’s the Answer?
Since we know we are all different in terms of our overall health, how often you should see your dentist will depend on your current state of health. If your teeth and body are in perfect health, then you need to only visit once or twice a year. If you have gum disease (periodontitis), you need to be seen more frequently than once every six months.
If you notice anything abnormal in your teeth and gums, see a dentist right away. Keeping you healthy and happy is our biggest priority!
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