Most of us are taught from a very young age about the importance of oral hygiene. As little children, many of our parents informed us day in and day out about why need to brush and floss our teeth at least twice a day, and why going to the dentist for regular checkups while our teeth change from baby to adult is important.
Going to the dentist matters more than you may think
As we get older, however, we recognize the importance of scheduling routine visits to the dentist long after our adult teeth have come in. No matter how well you take care of your teeth and mouth at home, these check-ups are essential to maintaining proper oral hygiene.
While brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash daily certainly reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, some people have genetic predispositions that cannot be controlled. For these patients, this means visiting the dentist more than the standard twice a year.
The importance of twice a year check-ups
Now that you know why you should be going to the dentist, how often exactly do those check-up appointments need to be? Until after the mid-20th century, there never used to be set guidelines for dental visits.
Most people attended a dentist when oral problems arose, which meant millions likely would go years between their appointments. Cleanings and check-ups were usually advised every 24 months or so, but doctors now know this is far beyond optimal.
These days, the vast majority of dentists recommend that their patients see them at least on a bi-annual basis. This is done more for preventative maintenance reasons than anything else; regardless of how well your teeth may look and feel, your dentist is the only one who will be able to tell if you are at risk before problems actually become noticeable.
Individuals considered to be at a very low risk for developing cavities or gum disease are often fine with annual visits, while those at a higher risk (like smokers or people with poor family health histories) are advised to schedule quarterly appointments.
If you are unsure of how frequently you should be visiting your dentist, the best solution would be to ask them! A dentist will give you an unbiased answer as to how often your particular mouth needs a professional clean and inspection.