How Often Should You Really Go to the Dentist?

AURORA, CO - MARCH 27:  Registered dental hygenist Denise Lopez-Rodriguez cleans Laura Breland's teeth at a community health center on March 27, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The center, called the Metro Community Provider Network, has received some 6,000 more Medicaid eligable patients since the healthcare reform law was passed in 2010. Expansion of such clinics nationwide is considered key to serving the millions more patients set to be be covered by Medicaid if the healthcare reform passes the current challenge in the Supreme Court. Preventative health services and treatments at community health centers are also designed to reduce emergency room expenditures, which are up to 10 times more costly.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

How Often Should You Really Go to the Dentist?

Some people can get a teeth cleaning once a year to fight off gum disease.

Published September 20, 2013

In the pursuit to maintain good oral hygiene, there’s no underestimating how crucial regular visits to the dentist’s office can be. Visiting a dental hygienist periodically may not only prove essential to preserving an attractive smile, but for an array of health reasons as well. There are many risks associated with poor oral hygiene such as gum disease, cavities, infections and worse, but these risks can most often be entirely averted with just two yearly teeth cleanings.

But according to a new study, for many people, once-a-year dental cleaning may be enough to prevent gum disease that leads to tooth loss.

“Twice-yearly cleanings have been recommended for over 50 years without supporting evidence,” study author William Giannobile, a professor of dentistry and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, said in a university news release.

But the results of this study “showed that one yearly cleaning is likely to be enough for patients with no risk factors,” he said. “Patients with one or more risk factors, which represent over half of the population, should visit at least twice a year and likely more in some cases.”

For the study, which was published online June 10 in the Journal of Dental Research, Giannobile and colleagues looked at data from more than 5,100 adults who visited the dentist regularly for 16 straight years, had no history of gum disease and received one or two cleanings each year.

Read more about oral health at BlackDoctor.org.

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  (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

Written by Brittany Gatson, BlackDoctor.Org

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