How Often Should You Visit a Dental Hygienist?
Although the general rule is that you should visit your dental hygienist and dentist at RCDG every 6 months, this is not necessarily true. There are many other factors that influence the frequency of visits to a dental hygienist. The care you take with your dental care, your genetic predisposition to gum disease, and your diet, all play a part in determining the frequency of your visits to a dental hygienist.
Where does the every 6 months rule come from?
Believe it or not, the 6 month “rule” is as a result of a popular TV program in the 50’s called “Amos and Andy”. The show was sponsored by Pepsodent Tooth Powder and recommended brushing with Pepsodent.
The ads also suggested that in addition to brushing twice a day, you visit the dentist twice a year. This was picked up by the insurance companies whose actuaries found it easier to predict gains and losses for the insurance company by factoring in the twice yearly visits.
As we have suggested, every human being is different and the frequency of your visits will be determined by a number of factors and will differ from person to person.
What Exactly does a Dental Hygienist Do?
Most dental hygienists follow a set procedure during consultations.
- First is a thorough examination of your mouth for swelling, inflammation, bleeding or other dental health problems.
- They will check carefully for any signs of periodontal disease. Early detection is half the battle.
- The dental hygienist will also check carefully for plaque build-up.
- Next is a careful evaluation of your brushing and flossing technique to identify any areas of your mouth where you have not been as vigilant as you should be.
- Then comes the most important part of the visit. The oral hygienist will perform a deep clean to eradicate any plaque and tartar build-up.
- And lastly, the dental hygienist will assess your brushing and flossing technique and will coach you in areas where he or she feels you need help.
Factors Influencing the Frequency of your Visits
As a rough guideline:
- If you experience excellent dental health and you have unrestored, uncrowded teeth with no history of gum disease you should visit the dental hygienist every 6 months.
- If you have fillings or crowns or a history of dental disease you should visit every four months.
- Every two to three months is recommended if you have a high susceptibility to gum disease caused by pregnancy, genetic predisposition to gum disease, adolescence, ongoing orthodontic treatment such as braces, or where teeth have been lost and replaced with crowns, bridges or dentures.
- Children are much more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. You are also trying to inculcate good dental habits that will last them a lifetime. In the case of children, every 4 to 6 months is adequate unless they are wearing braces. In that case, every 3 months is recommended.
We trust that we have been able to suggest that the frequency of your visits to an oral hygienist will be determined by different factors that are unique to every individual. Every 6 months is the very minimum. You might actually need to visit the dental hygienist a lot more frequently. Visit your dental hygienist and dentist to get a thorough evaluation of your dental health. They will then plan a program for you to maintain optimal dental health.