Scotland’s chief dental officer claims annual check-ups are suitable for most patients

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Most of us have heard at some point in our lives that we should go to the dentist every 6 months. While this advice still applies to some patients, most notably those with a high risk of developing dental issues, Scotland’s chief dental officer insists that most of us can benefit from annual appointments.

Margie Taylor has suggested that seeing a dentist every 12 months, or even every 24 months in the case of patients who have excellent oral health, is sufficient to stave off dental disease.

Some dentists have raised concerns about the comments, suggesting that it may be harder to spot signs of diseases, such as oral cancer, at an early stage. Ms Taylor met with representatives from the British Dental Association on Wednesday 6th June to talk about the issue and provide some clarification.

The Scottish Oral Health Improvement Plan claims that there is no evidence to suggest that every patient needs a check-up every 6 months and quotes NICE guidelines, which recommend routine checks every 12 months for most patients.

To determine when patients need to see a dentist, the government recommends using the Oral Health Risk Assessment tool, which evaluates the frequency with which patients should see their dentist based on their individual score. Those with better oral health are advised to see their dentist less frequently than those who are prone to dental illness and those who have a history of oral disease.

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