Canadian Dental Checkup: How do Your Teeth Compare?

Here’s a reason to smile: According to the results of the Oral Health Component of the Canadian Health Measures Survey, released in 2010, Canadians aren’t doing too badly when it comes to the health of their teeth: Three out of four see a dental professional each year, and two out of three people with natural teeth don’t need dental treatment. But some stats are a little more disturbing.

By Jaclyn Law
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How often should people see a dentist?

One in five adults with natural teeth have, or have had, a moderate or severe problem with their gums; more than half of kids and teens have cavities; and 17 percent of Canadians reported not visiting a dentist in the past year because of the cost.

We discussed the survey—and ways to improve oral health—with Dr. Chris Lee, director of the emergency recall clinic at Dalhousie University’s Dentistry Faculty Practice.

 

The frequency depends on how healthy your teeth and gums are. "If someone doesn’t get a lot of cavities or have a lot of gum disease, once a year is good. If someone has no teeth, they [should see a dentist] once a year, because dentists check for things like oral cancer," says Dr. Lee. "For people who have gum disease, as often as every three months."

Your dentist may recommend frequent visits if you’re prone to tooth decay or if you’re a smoker.

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Find more about: teeth | oral health guide | health | dental.

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