If an apple a day keeps the dentist away, can you skip going to the dentist altogether by eating apples?
But, the question people often ask is, how often should you visit the dentist as an adult? Some people insist on going every 3-6 months, while others go every couple of years. How often should you go?
There are multiple factors that contribute to how frequently you go to the dentist, including age, lifestyle, and diseases you’re at risk for.
Keep reading to learn if you need to be seeing the dentist more often than you are.
Kids vs. Adults
Why are parents strongly encouraged to take their kids to the dentist, but not themselves?
The difference is the in the teeth.
Once kids lose their baby teeth and permanent ones start growing in, they’re vulnerable to dental health issues. Permanent teeth in their formative stage are more vulnerable to tooth decay and related concerns than permanent teeth farther along in their lifespan.
Adolescents and young adults are less vulnerable than kids.
How Often Should You Visit the Dentist as an Adult?
As we age and develop different lifestyles and habits, we may become vulnerable to tooth concerns again.
That’s why as an adult, the frequency of your visits depends on your dentist’s analysis of your oral health and impacts from your lifestyle.
At your next visit, ask your dentist what he/she thinks is an adequate frequency to get your teeth cleaned and checked again.
They may say once every year or longer for preventative treatments. Or, if you suffer from any of the health risks listed below, maybe more.
There are certain lifestyles and diseases that severely affect the mouth and teeth. If you fall into one of these groups, speak to your dentist about potentially needing more frequent visits.
There is a strong correlation between oral health and diabetes management.
People who suffer from diabetes aren’t able to heal from wounds and injuries as rapidly as people that are diabetes-free are. This means that post-oral-surgery, a patient with diabetes will take longer to heal, prolonging the time for potential infections set in.
Diabetes also puts patients at a higher risk for fungal infections and gum disease. Getting frequent checkups from the dentist can ensure that you’re infection-free and healing properly from surgery.
During pregnancy, a woman’s changing hormones can impact the health of her mouth and teeth. For example, tooth sensitivity, gingivitis, and even tooth decay.
If she develops an oral infection she can potentially go into early labor.
And, consistent morning sickness causes acid reflux to affect the mouth. Tooth erosion and burned esophagus are both consequences of acid reflux.
Going to the dentist during pregnancy can help protect teeth from damage and ensure they remain healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Chemotherapy treatment for cancer can have negative effects on dental health.
It can cause dry mouth, stiff jaw, and increased bacteria in the mouth. When there is less saliva produced, bacteria aren’t washed out enough.
Cancer patients should consult their dentist before and during chemotherapy to learn ways to maintain oral health during the treatment.
People who smoke cigarettes are at an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Tobacco in cigarettes is severely harmful to your dental health. Check out the health warnings on any pack of cigarettes; we’ve all seen the pictures of dental nightmares from years of smoking.
Smoking causes dry mouth, in addition to disease risks, which means the bacteria aren’t being cleaned out properly. This causes increased plaque and eventually cavities and tooth decay.
If you smoke cigarettes, you should let your dentist know so that they can give you an accurate appointment frequency.
Dentists See What You Can’t
One reason you should at the very least see your dentist for the minimal required appointment frequencies is because they can notice warning signs of diseases in your mouth that you wouldn’t have noticed.
While dentists do focus on cleaning the teeth, they are also privy to seeing the back of your mouth, tongue, and bone structure.
Here are some diseases dentists can notice before you do:
Before the onset of abdominal cramping occurs, patients will sometimes develop swollen lips, ulcers, and lesions inside the lips and in the tissue of the mouth.
Dentists will notice these and inquire about them, perhaps recommending you see your regular doctor.
The early symptoms of oral cancer aren’t noticeable to patients.
You may develop red and white lesions on your tongue or soft palet, but because they often don’t cause pain in the early stages, you won’t notice.
Most people have gotten their regular check-up x-ray done at the dentist’s office. This test can tell the dentist about your body’s overall bone density.
Osteoporosis doesn’t affect the teeth, but it does affect the bones that your teeth rely on.
Your dentist may notice loose teeth, a receding gumline, or something on your X-ray and encourage you to see your doctor.
As mentioned above, diabetes and oral health are strongly related.
The most common oral symptoms of diabetes are bleeding gums, loose teeth, and dry mouth.
Although these symptoms don’t directly point to diabetes, they do cause your dentist to let you know you should see your doctor for further testing.
Early detection of many diseases can improve treatment outlooks and reduce pain.
Seeing your dentist regularly benefits your overall health because they can observe symptoms in your mouth you wouldn’t otherwise notice.
Ready to See the Dentist?
Whether you’re at high-risk for developing one of the diseases mentioned above or you simply haven’t visited the dentist in a long time, there’s no better time than the present. If you’ve ever asked how often should you visit the dentist, the answer is to go now and ask your dentist when to come back.
Your appointment will not only include teeth cleaning, but you’ll be advised on how often you should visit the dentist.
Learn how to keep your teeth sparkling between cleanings and how to take care of your oral health.
To book an appointment, reach out on our contact page.