How Often Should You Go to the Dentist?
Regular dental visits are integral to maintaining oral health. You’re probably familiar with the postcards, emails, and text messages that dentists send to remind their patients to schedule their 6-month checkup, and maybe you forget to do so, or maybe you wonder if it’s really necessary to see the dentist in rockford il that often. The truth is, each person’s dental needs are unique, and, while some people may be able to get away with annual visits, the reality is that many different populations of people should actually be seeing their dentist more frequently than every 6 months.
Certain people face a greater risk of diseases of the oral cavity more than others. If you are pregnant, a smoker, diabetic, have a weakened immune system, or if you have already had gum disease or currently have gum disease, you are at a higher risk of dental disease or other conditions of the oral cavity. Gum disease can largely be prevented with rigorous oral hygiene, but periodic professional cleanings are still necessary to remove tartar. And gum disease can lurk undetected for a fair amount of time; it’s not uncommon for both gum disease and cavities to be painless until they are relatively advanced, and at that point, it’s more challenging to treat them. In fact, in its early stages, gum disease is reversible, but once it progresses to periodontitis, it can only be treated and cannot be reversed. Other diseases of the mouth might go undetected were it not for the visual and manual examination dentists perform; some oral cancers are more treatable when caught early, and dentists and dental hygienists are often the people best equipped to recognize these conditions. In this way, a dental checkup is an important part of maintaining a person’s overall health.
Checkups are necessary for oral health and overall health, but home hygiene helps you maintain a clean smile and fresh breath. Eating a balanced diet that is low in starch and sugar helps lighten the bacterial load in the mouth, and bacterial plaque should be removed by brushing the teeth twice daily, at least, with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, as well as cleaning between the teeth with floss or another interdental cleaning tool once a day. When you see your dentist, make sure to address any questions you may have, and ask them when they want to see you again. In some cases, if you’ve gone a few years without any cavities or indications of gum disease, your dentist may tell you it’s okay to only see them once a year, but this happens for a very slim minority of people. If you are part of a high-risk population, make sure to visit as recommended, as a visit to the dentist should be thought of as a relatively small investment in your overall health. The mouth is a microcosm, in many ways, and can show signs of systemic unease that will lead to greater problems in the long run. Plus, it’s nice to have a clean smile and healthy breath.