Dental Decisions: How often should you go to the dentist?

By Valerie Mandel, RDH | Contributing Columnist

Most of us know that visiting a dentist regularly is essential to having a healthy mouth, but how many of us actually go? Sixty-three percent of American adults admit that they don’t go to the dentist as often as they would like, and 31 percent said they made their last appointment because they were experiencing pain. How often should you go to the dentist, and why is it so important? 

It’s a standard recommendation throughout the U.S. dental profession that both children and adults should visit a dentist every six months for a cleaning and oral exam. Many dental insurance companies cover two check-ups per year, and this frequency allows dental professionals to catch any problems while they’re still small and affordable to treat. Your dentist will generally recommend how often you should come in for a check-up and cleaning. Your dentist may want you to come in more frequently for a cleaning and exam if you fall under the following categories:

You’re pregnant – Pregnancy’s fluctuating hormones can put expecting moms at greater risk for developing gum disease and cavities.

You’re a cancer patient – Some cancer medications can dry out the mouth and put patients at greater risk for oral health conditions.

You’re diabetic – Diabetes can contribute to gum and other oral health problems.

You’re a smoker – Using tobacco can cause gum disease and also make it harder for your body to heal following dental procedures and oral surgery.

You’re a heart patient – Oral health matters when it comes to preventing heart disease, as bacteria in the mouth can make its way into the heart. People with poor oral health have higher rates of cardiovascular problems compared to people with healthy mouths. Regular dental cleanings and check-ups may decrease your risk of developing heart disease.

If you meet any of the above criteria, you should let your dentist know.

Valerie, R.D.H. – Valerie is the lead hygienist at Park Plaza Dental in Pompano Beach. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s degree in Science, then pursued her passion in dental hygiene at Sandford Brown University. She is already making a positive impact with our patients by improving their oral health while maintaining a comfortable environment. Her professionalism and passion for patient care exemplify what Park Plaza Dental is all about. Park Plaza Dental is a New Pelican advertiser.

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