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General Dentistry: How Often Should You Have a Dental Checkup?
When it comes to general dentistry, seeing the dentist regularly is essential in keeping teeth clean and preventing decay and gum disease. In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to forget about biannual dental appointments, but failing to go can compromise your oral health. Patients who understand how often they need to visit and why checkups are important are more likely to maintain the recommended schedule.
When to schedule dental checkups
The common rule in general dentistry is that patients should visit a dentist twice a year, or about once every six months. Since everyone is different, some patients may need to visit the dentist more or less frequently depending on overall health, hygiene habits, and any underlying complications. Patients who are concerned about the correct number of visits can bring it up with their dentist at the next appointment so the dentist can advise them individually.
There is always an exception to the rule, and checkups in general dentistry are no different. Patients who are pregnant, smoke, have diabetes, or show signs of gum disease may need to see a dentist more frequently, perhaps every quarter of the year, to ensure any issues have not progressed. As well, some patients are simply more susceptible to plaque buildup and cavities or have weaker immune systems that cannot handle much bacteria in the mouth, and so may need to have teeth and gums checked more often.
Why dental checkups matter
Not all oral health complications are noticeable to patients during a daily routine. Even patients who brush and floss consistently can suffer from decay, plaque, and gum disease. Seeing a dentist twice a year provides more opportunities for these problems to be caught and treated before they manifest into major oral health issues.
Cavities often occur due to a combination of a sugary diet and poor oral hygiene. When food particles and plaque linger too long in the mouth, bacteria begin to build and release toxins into the teeth and gums. This can easily go unnoticed, leading to cavities, which must be removed through special dental procedures. Some cavities are so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye, and only a dentist can identify them.
Another result of excess plaque and bacteria, gum disease forms when toxins reach the gums. Sore, red, and inflamed gums, or gums that bleed when flossed or brushed, are initial indicators of gum disease. The condition can be handled early on in general dentistry with a deep cleaning to prevent more severe consequences, such as jawbone loss.
Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing before bedtime can remove harmful plaque and bacteria from between teeth. Using mouthwash can help ensure a clean bill of health during the next checkup. To get a thumbs up from the dentist at every visit, continue practicing these good hygienic habits along with regular biannual appointments.
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