Dental Care (part 2)

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Last week, we looked at basic dental care. This week, we see what more you can do to get the teeth you need.

First, get that dental checkup every six months to make sure there aren’t any problems hiding in your mouth. The more rigorous your oral hygiene, the easier it is for the dental hygienist to do her work. By the way, brush before you visit the dentist. That way the hygienist doesn’t have to do the basic work you could have done at home.

dental care

The more rigorous your oral hygiene, the easier it is for the dental hygienist to do her work.

At the dentist, get the magic sealants. Sealants are one of the greatest inventions in dental care. Sealants are why none of my kids have cavities (except oldest son with his lone specimen). I can’t recommend sealants highly enough. They are a miracle and if your insurance doesn’t cover them, pay for them yourself. They’ll save you big bucks on cavity repairs and you’ll avoid the pain as well.

All this careful work will help avoid gum disease as well. Healthier gums mean your teeth are less susceptible to decay and they last longer. They look better too as you shouldn’t be seeing the roots of your teeth.

What does better oral hygiene have to do with an uncertain future?

It will save you big bucks. For what I’ve paid to repair my teeth, I could have purchased two very nice full-immersion Disney vacation packages for my family. Even if I didn’t need the root canals, the infills, and the gum care, all my fillings have to be replaced as they age. Did you know that fillings don’t last forever? They don’t. Those cavities that got repaired when you were thirteen will have to be replaced when you are fifty.

The money you save can be substantial and for what cost? About fifteen minutes out of your day, maximum, plus floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and water. Your dentist may even GIVE you a new toothbrush every visit, along with some floss and toothpaste. Mine does. Dr Larson wants his patients to have tiptop teeth.

You’ll save pain. There is no pain like dental pain. It can affect every single part of your life, as you attempt to function while miserable with agony. I’ve had fillings come out, I’ve had root canals, I’ve had braces, I’ve had cracked teeth. The pain is awful.

Your teeth, like your sight and your hearing, never, ever get better on their own. Broken bones heal, cuts will leave a scar. You can have a surgeon remove your appendix and your gall bladder and you recover from the surgery, good as new.

Teeth don’t do that. You don’t grow new ones to replace the ones you have to have pulled. They don’t heal from trauma. They don’t knit themselves back together like a bone does. Cavities don’t fill themselves up. Ever. Let me repeat that. Teeth never, ever get better on their own. The purpose of all the dental work you do at home and your dentist does in his office is to stem the tide of entropy and decay.

Bad teeth, besides being astonishingly painful, can actually kill you. Yes, people have died from abscessed teeth. Think about that pocket of black decay in your mouth, so close to your sinuses, your eyes, your ears, your brain. Good oral care will go along way to preventing this.

Dental care in the future may be unavailable. You may not be able to afford a dentist or there may not be one you can reach. A daily habit of fastidious dental care will go a long way towards ensuring that if you are forced to go without dental care, you can manage until you can get to a dentist.

My tooth care is far better than what it was. I’ve had to change my lax ways to prevent more pain and more cost. When I see my elderly parents struggling every day with dentures, partial plates and routine pain, it reminds me that I don’t want to suffer the same thing. So I make myself rinse, floss, rinse, and brush. I try very hard to do this after every single meal, and when I go to bed. I fail a lot, but I have gotten much better.

Routine daily dental care is one of those things that seems so minor but it can have a big impact on your life. Just like exercising every day, you don’t see the impact now, in the moment, of taking the time out of your busy schedule to do these actions. But they both pay huge rewards over your lifetime; the rewards of being healthier, saving money, and preventing pain.

So remember: Rinse, Floss, Rinse, and Brush. Repeat after every meal and before you go to bed. Do it for a lifetime and your teeth will last you a lifetime.

Next week: An update on our exercise post. (If you want to read them first: Exercise part 1, and The Joys of Exercise.)