How often should I see the dentist?

Dental CleaningsWhen it comes to dental care, it seems like everyone has the same question; “How often should I see the dentist?” For years, the conventional wisdom was twice-yearly dental cleanings. Still, others prefer to go to the dentist once a year. Others go more frequently. So which is it: annual cleanings, bi-annual cleanings, cleanings every few months, or something completely different? Unfortunately, there is no one answer. The only one who can truly answer that question for you is your dentist. While once-a-year dental cleanings may be enough for some people, according to a new study published in the Journal of Dental Research, it may not be enough for others, especially those at risk of gum disease.

“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,” said William Giannobile, study author and professor of dentistry and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan.

Giannobile studied 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 to two cleanings annually. Researchers analyzed the link between the frequency of teeth cleanings and long-term tooth loss in the participants. They also considered risk factors of gum disease, such as smoking, diabetes, and genetics.

The Findings: How often should I see the dentist?

  1. Annual Dental Cleanings: Researchers found one cleaning a year to be sufficient for those with none of the aforementioned risk factors.
  2. Twice-Yearly Dental Cleanings: Receiving dental cleanings twice a year proved extremely beneficial for those with one or more of the aforementioned risk factors.

“The future of health care is personalized medicine,” said Giannobile. “This study represents an important step toward making it a reality, and in a disease that is widespread, costly and preventable.”

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Annual Dental Cleaning May Be Enough for Some

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