Dentists have recommended that you come for a check up and clean every six months but is this always the case and does it apply to you and your particular dental needs?
Some people will be able to have less frequent visits yet there are others who should consider and actually need to go to the dentist more often.
The twice-yearly dental visit was designed with the ‘average’ person in mind. Here average means people who are middle-aged, non-smokers who brush their teeth twice a day and have a diet that doesn’t contain too many sweets and are in generally good health.
Within six months, the majority of people will produce enough plaque and tartar build up that it will need to be scraped off by a dental hygienist to prevent gum damage and gum disease.
Some people may be fine going for longer periods between cleaning, however it’s difficult to quantify or determine who this applies to. Generally this might apply to people in their 20s and 30s who are otherwise healthy, eat extremely well and floss daily. For the rest of us, whose dietary indulgences and dental hygiene aren’t so ideal, seeing the hygienist every six months seems a safer bet if you want to ensure your gums and mouth stay healthy.
More and more at Evolve Dental Healing we are recommending people come for regular hygiene care three or four times a year to support our patients to improve and maintain their gum health. This also enables us to review and monitor any dental issues that we are concerned about such as a heavily filled tooth or that old filling that is coming to the end of its lifespan.
So who would need to have more regular dental care?
We recommend regular 3-4 monthly visits for:
- people with poor oral hygiene and/or poor diet
- those with chronic health issues like diabetes or heart disease,
- pregnant and nursing mothers
- and those with a history of gum/periodontal disease that has caused damage to and loss of bone around the teeth.
We will also advise 3-4 monthly hygiene visits if you:
- have dry mouth
- are over 50
- have had lots of extensive dental work
- find it physically difficult to clean your teeth at home due to crowded or overlapped teeth which makes it hard to access the teeth surfaces during brushing or to slide floss between the teeth.
At your hygiene visit we will routinely screen your salvia to assess its quality, pH (acidity) and flow.
Saliva normally has a fairly neutral pH, or basic/acidic balance, that helps protect against excessive bacterial growth. Too much sugar can overpower saliva’s ability to create a balanced environment, making more frequent dental cleanings important. Also if your saliva has a lower, more-acidic pH, and this creates an environment where harmful bacteria thrive. Low salivary flow and poor quality saliva will also increase your risk of dental decay and gum disease. Saliva flow can be affected by medications and tends to also reduce with age.
As bacteria build up in the mouth, it can lead to tartar forming, which in turn can cause inflammation of the gums and eventually irreversible bone loss around the teeth. The timing of bone loss will vary from person to person, but 18 months is the starting point for when it becomes dangerous not to have the teeth cleaned. After a year and a half of no professional cleaning whatsoever, your risk for at least some initial bone loss is significant. This type of bone loss starts off slowly but will accelerate if left unchecked leading to loosening teeth and eventually tooth loss.
Also, the longer the time between visits, the harder the hygienist will need to work to scrape away the buildup, which can be unpleasant for you and usually means you will require more than one initial hygiene visit to get your gum health back on track.
Bad breath, tenderness or bleeding of the gums during brushing and flossing can indicate inflammation due to buildup of tartar and is a sign that some areas are being missed during home cleaning and that you need to seek care and support from your dentist.
To summarise here are the reasons why you need to see your dentist and hygienist more than twice a year:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Chronic health issues and medications– diabetes, heart disease etc.
- Poor diet
- Difficult to clean teeth
- Past gum disease or bone loss
- Pregnant and breast feeding women
- Dry mouth
- Inadequate salvia flow
- Acidic saliva
- Heavily filled teeth
- Its been a year or more since your last dental clean
If you have any concerns, pain, sensitivity or changes with your teeth or gums please consult your dentist.
To book with our highly qualified ad caring dental hygienists call 07 3720 1811.