Posted on: 3 January 2020
While seeing your dentist a couple of times a year for examinations and dental cleanings may be sufficient for most people, other people may need to make more frequent appointments. To find out how often you should visit your dentist, talk to both your physician and your dental professional. Here are some conditions that may warrant more frequent visits to your family dentist.
If you are a diabetic, you may be at a heightened risk for developing gum disease and cavities. A diabetic's saliva often contains high concentrations of blood sugar, which can cause oral bacteria to thrive inside the mouth. Oral bacteria causes plaque and tartar to develop on your teeth, and if not removed, the risk for cavities and gingivitis rises.
While brushing and flossing help remove plaque from under your gum line, only a professional dental cleaning performed by your dentist or hygienist is effective in removing tartar. Diabetes also raises your risk for oral fungal infections, so when you visit your dentist for a cleaning, he or she will examine your oral cavity for white patches that may indicate fungal infections such as candidiasis.
Diabetes can also make treating gum disease more challenging so it is essential that your dentist monitors your oral health regularly so that early changes in your gum tissue can be recognized and treated.
Before entering menopause, estrogen helps protect women against periodontal disease. During menopause, however, estrogen levels sharply decline, which can lead to gum inflammation, oral infections, bleeding gums, and destruction of the bones that support the teeth. Because of this, you may need to see your dentist more often than women who are not menopausal.
If you have dental problems as a result of menopause, talk to your physician about hormone replacement therapy, which may restore your gum health. Also, if your physician prescribed medications to treat menopause-related osteoporosis, your dentist may need to monitor your jaw health because these medications can raise the risk of a disfiguring condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw.
In addition, post-menopausal women may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. It is thought that gum disease may trigger systemic inflammation, which may raise the risk for heart attack and stroke in high-risk individuals, so preventive dental care may lower this risk.
If you have diabetes or if you are in menopause, visit your dentist regularly. He or she will talk to you about your risk factors for gum disease and will recommend how often you should schedule preventative appointments.