Brushing Up On Oral Health
Years ago, I asked my son, “When is the right time to visit the dentist” and he promptly replied, “Tooth Hurty” and proceeded to ensure that I understood that witty answer. Did you get it? The appointment was at 2:30 pm – neatly converted to “tooth hurty” Ah, now that I made that clear, let’s move on to…
…Oral health talk
This past week, I’ve been hanging out at the dentist’s clinic. What propelled me there, however, was an excruciatingly painful molar. Apparently the silly thing developed a cavity. What made it miserable was a teeny weeny cavity in the neighboring tooth. It allowed more food to collect in the cavity than would have been possible if the teeny-weeny hadn’t been there. Just goes to show, nice neighbors make a big difference. Ha!
So anyway, during the first visit, the doc couldn’t decide whether the painful tooth needed just a cavity filling, a filling with a cap or – good heavens – a root canal. I got an appointment to consult the specialist who would decide. In the meantime, I was welcome to have nightmares and imagine all sorts of consequences. Stupid of me really, because the earlier root canal treatments at this clinic have gone very well. I like that the clinic has young, pleasant doctors with a nice sense of humor. Makes my heart lighter, but not my purse, okay?
Finally, D-day arrived and I went, armed with a book, a notebook, a pencil and camera. And my purse. (How could I forget, eh?) Strange assortment, you’re thinking, right? You are right. But with my longstanding experience with doctors, I am prepared for long waits. I also fix the appointment accordingly so it doesn’t cut into other fixed time activities.
When I arrived, the specialist hadn’t arrived yet (naturally) and I settled down to waiting. To match how I felt, it was raining. 45 minutes later, my turn came. Some checking, prodding, poking later, it was decided that the best thing to do right now was a filling with a miracle mix. I went through the drill-rinse loop for what seemed like hours, though it was only half an hour. This was followed by the filling. An hour later, I was ready to leave, with the advice that I shouldn’t eat anything for the next hour. The doc also suggested I avoid biting anything hard on that side. As if I would! She also said we would wait and watch and play it by ear. Ah, I am sure she meant tooth. Ha ha.
I returned home.
And now, I have a request and it is about your oral health
Please do visit the dentist for regular checks. I didn’t out of sheer laziness. Luckily I had decent teeth, but ignored the small problems and simply maxed out on my luck. The result? Big expenses. So:
- If you have toothache, home remedies are great. But it is good to get a dentist to check it out. A cavity is far easier to control and treated than allow it to develop into such a crater that there is no tooth left, and no choice but to get a root canal done, followed by a cap. It is expensive, folks.
- If you find food getting stuck in gaps in your teeth, you might want to have that checked too. Gaps occur as we age, but my dentist recommends using an electric toothbrush to slow down that process. Probably because of the pressure.
- If you have children, regular dental checks are a must, because children are prone to cavities. Encourage them to rinse their mouth each time they eat something. The main villain is allowing food particles to stay on the teeth. They cause tooth decay. Then begins the saga of dentists’ visits that seem never-ending.
Good oral health care begins from infancy. It is possible to keep a lot of dental problems at bay simply by taking basic care of our teeth. Also, dental health impacts our overall health.
Let’s face it, besides the obvious benefit of a positive impact on our self-confidence and self-esteem – and of course, a bright white smile – a healthy set of teeth and gums has other benefits such as:
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Better memory
- Reduced risk of infection and inflammation in the body
- Stabler blood sugar for those living with diabetes
- Better chances of pregnant women carrying their baby to term
Finally, some tips my doc offered (not for the first time)
- Don’t saw at your teeth while flossing
- Don’t brush like there’s no tomorrow. Be gentle and brush in circular moments
- Using an electric tooth brush? Don’t cruise across your teeth. Tackle tooth by tooth in – yes, you guessed it – circular movements.
- Go ahead, eat anything. Just make sure to rinse afterwards.
- Get your teeth cleaned at least once in six months. I interpreted that as one year. Our teeth get stained by tea, coffee, fruit juices, alcohol, smoking.
- And of course, ancient wisdom – kick the butt.Stop smoking, I mean.
- Brush teeth and tongue twice daily
- Change your toothbrush every three months.
I know what they say about the prospect of a visit to the dentist being worse than death, but believe me, it is slow death anyway if you don’t visit when you need to. Why would you indulge in self-sabotage? It is like watering weeds. Oral health matters.
Moral of the story? If you have a dental problem, I urge you to visit the dentist. Good for you, good for your pocket. That is all.
Check out this comprehensive oral health guide