Need some incentive to take better care of your teeth? People who are really diligent about brushing and flossing are probably safe skipping dentist visits — going every year or two instead of every six months. Photo by hj barraza.
On the flip side, if you're chowing down daily on candy (or if bad luck and genetics make your teeth hard to clean), you may need to go more often. As the BBC explains, the ideal timing varies from person to person:
Last year the Cochrane Collaboration performed a...systematic review of the research, and they were disappointed with what they found. The quality and quantity of the research was simply too poor to back up or refute the idea of six-monthly check-ups.
[The UK's National Institute of Clinical Excellence recommends] 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.
Cleaning is only half the reason for visiting the dentist; the other half is the examination for cavities and other problems. The exam can usually wait (cavities take time to develop) so if you always show up with squeaky-clean teeth, ask if you can consider going longer between visits.