While the percentage of young people with dental cavities in the United States dropped from 50% in 2012 to just over 43% in 2016, dental cavities are still the most...
Trying to puzzle out your perfect exam schedule? While there are always universal recommendations for patients, visiting the dentist twice yearly may not be the best schedule for your own teeth. Things get a little more complex when you take your own personal needs into account. Your dental history, personal habits, age, and more dictate just how often you should really be visiting. Check out our guide to appropriate exam schedules below – and schedule your next appointment today.
How Often Different Types of Patients Should Visit the Dentist
High Risk Patients
What makes a patient high risk? Factors that increase their likelihood of developing dental problems, namely cavities or periodontal disease.
Risk Factors for Cavities:
- Frequent plaque buildup
- Dry mouth
- Certain medications or conditions
- Frequent snacking
- Appliances that restrict saliva flow over teeth
- Deep fissures in teeth, especially molars
- Frequent consumption of acidic foods or drinks
- Eating disorders
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease:
- Being over the age of 65
- Smoking or using tobacco
- Genetic predisposition
- Significant stress
- Certain medications
- Chronic clenching or grinding
- Systemic diseases that may impact the gums
- Poor nutrition
If these factors apply to your teeth or gums, it’s a good idea to visit the dentist more frequently. Those with recurring periodontal disease should absolutely visit more than twice yearly, so that their dentist can spot early signs of gingivitis and prevent it from developing. Prevention is always simpler than disease treatment.
Being pregnant actually opens up your mouth to increased chances of developing gingivitis. The heightened risk of gingivitis during pregnancy is largely related to fluctuating hormone levels. Moms-to-be should be especially careful that they pay close attention to their teeth and gums. Periodontal disease during pregnancy can be linked to complications with delivery. Babies are also more likely to develop tooth decay if their mother has cavities.
You should visit your dentist as soon as you are aware of a pregnancy. They will give you an exam schedule to follow throughout your pregnancy that will keep you (and your baby) healthy.
Aging brings some additional oral health risks. Seniors have a higher chance of developing dry mouth, which makes cavities much more likely. Those with compromised mobility also struggle to brush and floss effectively. If you are experiencing any difficulties cleaning your teeth, get in touch to receive product and practice recommendations from Dr. Baudean. Always be vigilant for dry mouth and drink plenty of water.
Babies should see the dentist by their first birthday. This is typically when the teeth begin to erupt. At this point, their dentist can make sure their gums (and teeth, if present) are healthy and that they’re getting the necessary care. After that, follow the twice-yearly exam schedule for your children unless Dr. Baudean says otherwise.
Low Risk Patients
What about the patients who don’t have special considerations? If you are young, in good health, have a good dental history, and clean your teeth thoroughly and regularly at home, you may be able to see the dentist just once a year. That said, don’t start skipping exams unless your dentist says that you’re fine to visit every 12 months.