As recently as 50 years ago, dentists examining new U.S. military recruits noted that most Americans’ teeth were in an awful condition. Very few people knew how to take care of their dental health, and it showed.
This was partially due to a knowledge gap. Many individuals didn’t know how to brush and floss correctly – and some didn’t even know that either was necessary for healthy teeth.
But perhaps the biggest, and most common mistake of the time, was thinking of a visit to the dentist as something you do once things go irreversibly wrong; not a simple step that can prevent problems and illnesses before they get out of hand.
Fortunately, we know better in the 21st century – and have clear guidelines on how often you should see the dentist. The first consideration is…
- The Required Frequency of Cleanings
The main reason you should see a dentist frequently is to get your teeth cleaned professionally. People at low risk for gum disease, plaque and tooth decay should do this once every year. Those at high risk should come in every 3-6 months.
In most cases, you won’t need to see your Portland dentist more often than this. However, there are at least 2 good reasons to come see your dentist in-between cleanings, and the first is…
- Your Inner Mouth Feel
Your mouth should feel roughly uniform as you get older. If something changes – especially if it’s a soft-tissue bump or nodule that wasn’t there before – you should check with a dentist immediately. You may have a tumor and/or be at risk for oral cancer, and require immediate medical attention.
- High-Risk Groups Who Need Supervision
There are several other situations in which you should see a dentist frequently:
- You have gum disease
- You’re diabetic
- You’re a heavy smoker
- You’re pregnant
- You have a weak immune system
If you fall under any of these categories, it’s important you see a dentist frequently. You are at a higher risk of dental and oral problems and diseases than most other people, and should take care of yourself to protect and preserve your health.
Of course, you should also take into consideration what your dentist recommends in terms of frequent visits. If he or she makes a solid case for needing to come in more often, they’re probably right – and you’re likely best off listening to their advice.