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Oral Health Buzz

How Often Should You Go to the Dentist?

Sher Warkentin

To maintain a healthy smile, how often should you go to the dentist? Finding a dentist with whom your family feels comfortable is one of the most important steps toward keeping your teeth healthy. Once you have found a dentist you like, the next important step is to visit your dentist regularly for routine dental care.

How Frequently Should You Go to the Dentist?

When it comes to dental exams and professional cleanings, the general rule of thumb is to visit the dentist's office twice a year. Whether or not you are the world's best brusher, having a cleaning done every six months can help maintain oral hygiene and prevent many dental diseases. However, as the American Dental Association explains, every person is different, and some teeth may require more or less frequent care than others. How often should you go to the dentist? There is no fixed answer. It is important to discuss your treatment with your dentist and determine just how often you and your family will need to visit the dentist to properly care for your teeth. The frequency of your visits can also change throughout your life depending on your overall health and other factors, such as pregnancy.

At a regular exam, your dentist will check for signs of oral problems, such as gum disease and cavities. Seeing your dentist frequently can help you catch symptoms early on so your dentist can treat them before they become a more serious issue. The other major advantage of regular visits is that it sets a good example for your children. They will learn early on that routine care is important to their lifelong dental health.

Extra Care

Besides regular checkups, there may be times when you will need to visit your dentist for other reasons. Any pain or symptoms that appear suddenly, such as tooth sensitivity, pain when chewing or swelling in the face, should be checked out by your dentist. If you or your children have any other health issues or diseases diagnosed (e.g., diabetes), you should schedule a visit with your dentist to determine how it might affect your dental health.

With children, especially younger ones, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether there are any symptoms that are cause for concern. Children do not always vocalize exactly what is bothering them, so it is important to check your child's mouth and teeth regularly for any signs of trauma.

When to Begin

Starting routine visits to the dentist early will help young children get acclimated to the exam process. The American Dental Association recommends that your child's first dental visit occur within six months of their first tooth appearing. In addition to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, starting regular checkups at an early age will help your child become more comfortable with the dental tools and with sitting in the dental chair, which can seem scary to some little ones.

Regular visits to your dentist are essential for healthy teeth. Even if you have never had a single cavity, it is important to see your dentist to prevent any future oral care issues. Routine dental cleanings will not only help keep your family's teeth healthy, but they will also establish a lifetime of healthy choices for your children.

Learn more about your child's first dental visit in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Source: Flickr/807th Medical Command

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