Visiting your dentist is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. Many people do not see their dentist as frequently as they should, even when tooth or gum problems start to occur. Looking after your oral health and keeping your teeth in great condition involves a range of things, including regular visits to your dentist. Let’s take a deeper look at how often you should go to the dentist.
How often should you see a dentist?
While many people believe they should visit their dentist twice every year, there is not always a strict need to do this. Your dentist will generally tell you if you need to visit within the next six months.
When you visit, ask your dentist when you should see them again. They will be able to advise the most suitable time frame based on the overall health of your teeth and mouth, and whether you have any health concerns they want to check up on.
Most people should have a check-up with their dentist once every year, or even every two years. Again, discussing this with your dentist will ensure you get advice and recommendations tailored just for you.
When should you visit the dentist more often?
While visiting your dentist once a year might be standard, there are certain circumstances where you should visit the dentist more often. This includes:
- If you are experiencing problems. People who are experiencing pain or other problems with their teeth, gums, and mouth should visit their dentist as soon as possible. It’s important to get any concerns looked at before they get worse or develop into more serious conditions.
- If you are pregnant. People expecting a baby should visit their dentist more frequently to ensure there are no complications. The hormones of a pregnant woman will change a lot, and this can make gum disease and other health problems more likely.
- If you have gum disease. People with gum disease or at high risk of gum disease should visit their dentist more frequently. Your dentist is likely to suggest visiting once every six months rather than once a year.
- If you need cleaning treatments. It is recommended to have your teeth cleaned and polished by an expert every 4–6 months rather than wait until your next appointment. This will keep them in good condition as well as help to spot any problems early on.
Why is it important to visit the dentist regularly?
Taking time to visit the dentist should be a priority for everyone. There are many reasons why visiting the dentist regularly is important.
- Spot problems early. If left unchecked, many common problems can quickly develop into something worse. Even cavities which could be filled during a quick dentist appointment can worsen and cause a lot of pain.
- Brighten your teeth. Over time, plaque can build up on your teeth. Scaling and polishing can leave you with a brighter and whiter smile.
- Get information on looking after your teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly allows you to ask important questions about looking after your teeth. It also gives your dentist the opportunity to give feedback and recommendations specifically for you.
- Prevent tooth and gum decay. Going to the dentist regularly can help spot early signs of tooth and gum decay. This will allow you to take steps to stop the problem getting worse and ultimately leading to tooth loss or surgery and other invasive treatments.
What can you do to look after your teeth between dentist appointments?
While it is crucial to visit your dentist regularly, it’s also important that you look after your teeth in between visits. Here are some of the things you can build into your routine to ensure your mouth, teeth and gums are looked after all year long.
- Brush your teeth every day. Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day. You should do this before going to sleep, and when you wake up or at another time during the day. You should avoid brushing your teeth immediately before or after eating – give at least 30 minutes.
- Don’t forget flossing. While brushing is an easy task for most people, flossing can be more time-consuming and tiresome. However, flossing will remove plaque and bacteria in between your teeth that brushing is unable to reach.
- Cut down on sugar. Eating large quantities of sugar will promote bacteria in your mouth which can damage the enamel and lead to tooth decay and other problems. Limiting sugar will help to improve many aspects of your health, not least your oral hygiene and the condition of your teeth and gums.
Visiting the dentist regularly is important for the health of your teeth and good oral hygiene. But looking after your teeth in between appointments is equally important too. Speak to your dentist for tailored recommendations on how often to visit and what to do in between your appointments.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.
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