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Routine six-monthly checks for dental disease?


The six-monthly visit to the dentist is a traditional ideal to which many people aspire. The NHS regulations recognise this tradition and allow payment of dentists for performing six-monthly examinations, although they do not recommend this frequency. The past 15 years have seen a dramatic fall in the incidence of dental caries among children in most developed countries - by about 35% in the UK.1,2 As a result the value of six-monthly checks for caries and periodontal disease has been increasingly questioned. If less frequent visits to the dentist are just as good, the doctor’s advice to reduce sugar intake will become even more important for dental health. This article first considers checks for caries and then for periodontal disease.

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