Is Your Mouth Kissable? Four More Reasons to Smile
By Martin Brown
Unfortunately, million dollar smiles aren’t a dime a dozen. But you can beat back the high cost of restorative dentistry by learning a few simple and fast ways to take better care of your teeth. Here are four reasons to keep smiling:
1. Beware of tooth decay.
Carl Sandberg once said, “Fog comes in on little cat feet.” Tooth decay is a lot less pretty than a fog rolling in off the ocean, but it is just as quiet. And like fog, it sneaks up on you.
Everyone knows to brush regularly. And they know to go up and down in the front, and sideways in the back. Where we fall down is all the times we don’t brush at all.
Brushing once or twice a day is not enough. Bring a portable brush and case into your office and brushing after lunch or a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack is important too. If you don’t brush then, you probably won’t when you get home, hungry for dinner. By bedtime the bacteria that helps to form the basis of tooth decay has been at work on your teeth for nine or ten hours, and that’s not good. Brush after meals, and brush when you’ve had a snack like cake, which is laden with sugar. The extra time you spend with a toothbrush in your mouth—actually know more than a total of five minutes a day—will be time saved from sitting in a dentist’s chair, not to mention the expense of fixing all those cavities.
2. Stay away from late night snacks.
The glass of apple juice, the glass of milk, worse, the late night cookie: you’ll brush you teeth, and then an hour later have a snack like these before going to sleep. All night long these foods, filled with sugars, are left in your mouth and causes tooth decay. When you’ve rinsed and brushed, other than a glass of water, make sure you’re done for the night.
3. There’s a lot of power of that little piece of string—so floss!
Lots of people hate using dental floss. It’s easy to see why. Putting all those fingers in your mouth is reasonably disgusting. But flossing can’t be beat for removing the food particles that your toothbrush just can’t get. The good news here, however, is that if you’re brushing regularly, you only need to floss once a night: always after you have indulged (if indeed you do at all, after you’ve read this) in a late night snack.
4. Annual checkups are important—so make them, and don’t break them!
If your maintenance program is strong, you should get good news with your annual checkup and cleaning. But it is important to remember that the old genetic role of the dice, that dictates a portion of our health outcomes regardless of our good intentions, plays a role in our oral health as well.
Regardless of how carefully you brush and floss no two sets of teeth were created equal. Some of us are far more prone to tooth decay, cracked teeth, and gum disease than others. For this reason alone you should make it a habit to schedule an annual check up with your dentist. Small problems, particularly small cavities, are better to tackle than large problems.
With a little extra time, thought, and care, nearly all of us can have a beautiful smile. So, go ahead and make that investment. Every time you look in a mirror you’ll be glad that you did.
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