How often should you visit the dentist? This question seems simple, but many Americans aren’t sure how long to go between visits. And each individual case may be different, so a one-size-fits-all approach may not work for you. To help you find the right schedule, discover a few things to know about dental visit timing for different groups of people.
Parents may be surprised to know that dental visits for their little ones should begin very early in life. Parents may want to bring in their child for a first dental checkup six months after their first tooth comes in. Why so early? First, the dentist will help ensure that no problems occur with the baby’s teeth and that no decay develops that may hinder their adult teeth. Second, this acclimatizes kids to the dentist.
Throughout their childhood years — starting no later than one year old — most kids should see the dentist about every six months. Your dentist can then keep an eye on those developing teeth and help the children learn good dental hygiene practices.
Continuing a good dental schedule is vital as your kids transition into young adults. This is a time when a young person’s teeth face changes through orthodontia and the possible removal of some teeth. The family dentist can help you find needed specialists and ensure that everything goes well through these changes.
As older kids make more of their own food and beverage choices, they risk consuming more sugary substances that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. So help them stick to a regular six-month interval for dental cleaning and checkups to avoid these problems — especially as they become more independent and their life becomes more full.
Adults’ schedule of dental visits may vary depending on their particular dental health and risk factors. While many people stay with the twice-per-year schedule they’ve developed, some who are at low risk for dental health issues and have stable hygiene habits may opt for a slightly longer period of months between checkups.
Others may actually need to see their dentist more often. This includes people who are pregnant, people who smoke, people who are immunocompromised, and people who have diabetes. These individuals have a higher risk of dental health problems, and proactive dental healthcare may help identify and ward off other health conditions specific to them.
Finally, any adults who currently deal with gum disease or tooth decay should discuss whether they should visit the dentist more than twice per year. This advanced schedule can provide better monitoring of changes in dental disease and allow for professional treatments. When their oral health is stable, they may decide when to go back to a standard schedule.
Seniors are at risk for a number of dental and mouth health problems, so they should be diligent about a regular six-month schedule — or even shorter. Why?
Older persons’ mouths and teeth are at higher risk for problems due to natural aging, medications, and a lifetime of dental work. For instance, dry mouth, which can be from aging or medication, can increase cavities due to the lack of saliva. Aging teeth or receding gums may also decay faster or suffer deeper root decay. Also, prosthetics can cause wear and damage to the mouth.
The amount of time between dental visits is an important part of keeping your mouth healthy. While most people find that six-month checkups are a good rule of thumb, your schedule should be based on your age, risk factors, and dental health concerns.
Get help deciding on the right time frame by visiting with the team at Crest Hill Family Dental. We will assess your situation and offer recommendations for the whole family. Call today to make an appointment.