Why Your Dentist Might Be Wrong About Your Next Checkup Date

Dental care

How often should you see the dentist? Should you really go for a checkup every six months?

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According to The Telegraph, dental guidelines hold that there's no catchall time frame for when you should return for a checkup – it all depends on how healthy your teeth and gums are. If you routinely have cavities or decays, your dentist probably should recommend that you make your next appointment sooner than six months. If you have a track record of no treatment needed other than a routine cleaning, then your dentist may even recommend your next visit to be two years later.

Dr. LeSueur of Tempe Family Dental says that even if your dentist tells you not to come back for a year, this isn't set in stone. He reminds that if you start experiencing symptoms, like tooth aches or an increase in sensitivity, then make the next available appointment. It's important that you treat any potential dental problems before they get serious because they can affect your heart and brain.

But it's likely that you miss your next scheduled appointment rather than see the dentist too much. Researchers found that almost 40 percent of patients miss their scheduled dental appointments.

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Are you spending too much on dental costs because you're having checkups too frequently or are you risking your health because you're not seeing your dentist as often as you should? Here's are a few tips that will boost your oral health while also keeping overall healthcare costs low:

Ask your dentist why. If your dentist tells you to schedule your next appointment six months from now, ask why. The Telegraph says that a majority of dentists simply tell their patients to come back in six months for a checkup without regard to the state of their oral health. Your doctor may tell you it's the standard of care – if that's the case, ask him if it's really necessary in your case and if your next appointment could be longer down the road. Or, he may kindly tell you that your oral health isn't so great, so he'd like to see you more often.

Make an appointment soon if you experience routine oral symptoms. It's not just the obvious stuff, like tooth aches and bleeding gums. Many serious diseases cause the most mundane symptoms. For example, a constant dry mouth could be caused by the onset of diabetes. Two-week old small irritations on your lips, throat, or any other part of your mouth could be a sign of oral cancer, which is treatable if caught early. Other oral cancer symptoms include routinely feeling like something's caught in your throat and numbness in your tongue. If you notice any weird symptoms lasting for longer than a couple of days, see your dentist ASAP.

Chew on foods that heal your teeth and gums:

  • Chewing on cruciferous vegetables cleans your teeth. They're very fibrous, so as you chew them they scrub away harmful acids made by bacteria in your mouth. Their antioxidants also clean the toxins from your body!
  • Chewing sugarless gum after eating has been proven to lower plaque buildup. Participants who chewed sugar-free gum in addition to their daily tooth brushing experienced less new plaque buildup than participants who only brushed their teeth.
  • Eating strawberries can whiten your teeth.

If you have a healthy, happy mouth, you don't need to see your dentist every six months. You can save on healthcare costs by asking your dentist when you really need to make your next appointment. To keep your teeth healthy, eat your veggies and chew sugarless gum. But, if you ever experience long-lasting oral symptoms, make sure to see your dentist right away!

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