Staying healthy involves developing good habits, such as eating nutritious foods and exercising. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle also involves regular medical checkups. Most adults know they should see their dentist regularly, but it’s easy for personal and professional obligations to get in the way of self-care. So, how often should adults visit a dentist? Let’s take a look.
How Often Should Adults Visit a Dentist?
Your dental checkup allows your dentist to assess your teeth and identify potential issues that may need treatment. Healthy adults who have no critical health issues and avoid high-risk activities, such as smoking, may opt to see their dentist every six to 12 months.
Good dental hygiene involves brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing your teeth to remove plaque and food debris. Drinking water, avoiding sugary foods and beverages, and consuming crunchy, raw vegetables are vital parts of a comprehensive dental healthcare plan because these habits prevent tooth decay.
I’m Young and Healthy, Can I Skip the Dentist?
It’s certainly tempting to think that being otherwise physically healthy must mean that you have no dental issues, but this isn’t always the case. For instance, younger adults without wisdom teeth may need to see their dentist more often than those who’ve had their wisdom teeth removed. Your wisdom teeth are molars. These teeth usually emerge by the time you turn 25, making these the final adult teeth to break through the gums.
You may need X-rays to determine if your wisdom teeth are growing in or if they’re impacted. Having your dentist monitor their development ensures you receive appropriate treatment and avoid potentially painful complications. It may be possible to make room for the teeth and retain them, but some patients with impacted wisdom teeth must have them extracted.
Even if you’ve had your wisdom teeth out already, pay attention to any soreness or pain in your gums or teeth. Tooth pain may signify you have an infection or other dental issues. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the source of your discomfort and receive tooth pain relief with appropriate treatment.
How Often Should Adults Visit a Dentist if They Have Other Health Conditions?
Dental health is linked to health issues affecting your entire body and may be the first indicator of severe underlying health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Dental healthcare also impacts rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
You should see your dentist at least twice per year if you have a severe health condition or are at risk of developing these health issues. Poor dental care also increases your risk of stroke. If there’s a family history of suffering strokes, you’ll want to inform your dentist and follow their recommendations when booking appointments.
How Will a Regular Checkup Help Me if I Have Health Conditions?
People who are overweight, have sedentary careers, have high blood pressure, or are genetically predisposed to diabetes can monitor their condition through dental checkups. Regular dental care can prevent thrush, tooth loss, bad breath, and periodontal disease.
Patients with Huntington’s disease are more likely to experience tooth and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Regular dental care can help these patients prevent tooth decay and loss while ensuring those with TMJ receive treatment to reduce chronic pain.
Although not as immediately serious as other issues, a health condition may also refer to the shape of your teeth or your bite. You may need more frequent dental visits if you have braces or need treatment for a crossbite. Follow your dentist’s recommendations to ensure your dental treatment is successful and prevent complications.
Since many medical conditions impact your dental health, you must discuss your family medical history with your dentist. Open communication about your health ensures your dentist can detect potential issues early and take preventative measures to protect your health.
What if I’m Pregnant?
Pregnancy impacts your body, mood, and dental health. Individuals who are pregnant may be at higher risk for cavities due to changes in their routines and diets, and cavity-causing bacteria can be harmful to newborns. You can prevent tooth loss and health issues for you and your baby with regular dental care during your pregnancy.
How Often Should Older Adults Visit a Dentist?
Regular dental checkups ensure your dentist detects issues with your teeth and gums, enabling them to provide appropriate treatment and prevent tooth loss. Many seniors are on a fixed income, making it hard to maintain a healthy diet that helps prevent health issues. Since a poor diet increases the risk of dental issues, seniors should plan to see their dentist two to four times per year.
Seniors are also at a higher risk of tooth loss. Today, 25% of people 65 or older have lost all their adult teeth. Consistent dental checkups help seniors preserve their teeth and prevent other health issues like gum disease.
What Can You Expect During Your Dental Appointment?
Your dental checkup is the perfect opportunity to discuss any health concerns with your dentist and ensure they know your family medical history. They will also ask about lifestyle habits that could impact your dental health.
Your dentist examines your teeth and checks your gums for signs of disease. They may recommend further treatment if your teeth need to be aligned or if there are signs of periodontal disease or other dental health problems. Furthermore, your dentist may also order X-rays to confirm their diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.
Your dental checkup is the perfect time to learn about dental care. Your dentist or dental hygienist can offer tips to improve your dental health and prevent cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.
Most adults should visit a dentist between one and four times per year, depending on their health and age. If you haven’t seen your dentist in the last six months, call your dentist’s office today to schedule your next checkup.
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