Why See a Dentist Twice a Year?

Jan. 4, 2002
For your teeth, your gums, and your health.

The three most common human afflictions are the common cold, cavities, and gum disease.

For maximum oral health, almost everyone should:

* See a dentist at least twice a year.

* Brush three times a day.

* Use fluoride toothpaste.

* Floss.

* Replace your toothbrush every three months.

Regular visits to the dentist can help:

* Prevent tooth decay, or stop cavities from getting bigger.

* Prevent or treat gum disease (also known as periodontal disease).

* Prevent further health complications.

* Prevent periodontal disease that has been associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease, placing people at risk for heart attack or stroke.

* Prevent bacterial infections of the gums that results from gingivitis or periodontitis, may infect the lungs, causing bacterial pneumonia.

* Prevent poor periodontal health in pregnant women that can be a risk factor for the delivery of premature or low-birth weight babies.

Twice-yearly dental visits are especially important if you:

* Have any change in recent medical history.

* Have diabetes, since gum disease can result in poor control of insulin levels.

* Smoke, since tobacco makes gum disease worse.

* Are pregnant, since hormonal changes are associated with gingivitis, a condition in which the gums become red and swollen.

* Take prescription or over-the-counter medications that reduce saliva (and make your mouth feel dry), placing individuals at risk for cavities and gum disease.

* Take herbal remedies (such as ginkgo), which can cause gum disease.