How often do you visit your dentist for routine cleanings and checkups? No matter how well you take care of your teeth and gums, you need regular preventive dental appointments, at intervals determined by your dentist.
Rethinking biannual visits
Factors that determine the frequency of your trips to a dental practice in Meridian, Idaho include your current oral health and systemic health status, and your health history. Here are some health conditions and habits that often necessitate more than two dental checkups in a year:
Gum disease and diabetes
Diabetes adversely affects the immune system. Elevated blood sugar levels reduce the body’s ability to fight infections, and this often increases the risk of gum disease. Equally, gum disease complicates diabetes management. If you have diabetes, you may need to visit your dentist every 3 to 4 months.
Rheumatoid arthritis increases the chances for gum disease eightfold. This autoimmune disease also makes it hard for people to brush and floss thoroughly. People with RA may then need more professional cleanings at the dental office.
Gum disease increases the risk of having a baby that’s pre-term or too small. Pregnancy and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can also worsen existing gum disease. When you visit a dental practice while you’re pregnant, the dentist may recommend frequent checkups to help you protect yourself and your unborn baby.
HIV or AIDS
HIV/AIDS weakens the body’s immune system. When the body is unable to stave off infections, there is more risk for oral health problems, such as canker sores, oral thrush and warts, and dry mouth. People with the weakened immune system then needs to visit their dentists more often.
Potential oral health impacts of tobacco use include gum disease, oral cancer, stained teeth and tongue, and dulled sense of smell and taste. People who smoke or chew tobacco need frequent dental checkups.
Some decades ago, dentists used to focus on fixing oral health issues rather than preventing them. Today, dental professionals routinely check for problems that patients may not yet see or feel. Your dentist will consider your oral hygiene, dental habits, and medical conditions and schedule dental visits accordingly.