How often do you need to see a dentist?

There is a secondary purpose to dental visits. Even if the dentist doesn’t spot any problems, they are likely to remind you to keep on caring for your teeth and cleaning them properly – although there’s no consensus about the best way of doing that either.

How often should you visit the dentist, then? Bodies like Nice, which provides guidance for the National Health Service in England and Wales, say that the frequency of dental visits all depends on the individual. They recommend that children go at least once a year because their teeth can decay faster, while adults without problems can wait as long as two years. They even go as far as to say that longer than two years is OK for people who have shown commitment to caring for their teeth and gums. Similar advice is given elsewhere. An expert group reviewing the evidence in Finland back in 2001 recommended that under-18s who are at low risk could visit between every 18 months and two years.

Where does this leave the rest of us the next time we receive a card through the door reminding us our next dental visit is due? We’d all like an excuse to go less often, and the good news is that if you don’t have any problems you can probably wait a little longer than six months between visits. But exactly how long you can wait before your appointment with the dentist’s chair will depend on the assessment you and your dentist make of your individual risk.

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