MAKE YOUR FUTURE SELF SMILE
The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true when it comes to taking care of your teeth. When people neglect personal dental hygiene, poor oral health is all but certain. Studies have shown, not surprisingly, that people who do not take care of their teeth are more likely to suffer tooth decay and to lose teeth, which adversely affects how they look, eat, and talk.
People who don’t take care of their teeth are also more likely to have painful toothaches. Teeth contain a large number of nerves in their soft interiors (what dental professionals call pulp), and anyone you know who’s had a root canal procedure can tell you that it’s nothing nice.
And to top it off, involved dental procedures like root canals don’t come cheap. Even people with dental insurance typically incur high out-of-pocket costs. After all, dental insurance is designed to promote preventative care. That’s why regular dental cleanings and check-ups are often covered in full, but modest co-pays start kicking in once a patient needs a cavity filled. Co-pay levels go higher and higher for more extensive (and expensive) procedures.
So to sum up, preventative oral care is important for four reasons:
- to keep smiles looking nice
- to maintain teeth’s functionality
- to avoid pain
- to save money
So now we know the reasons why staying on top of preventative care is important, how do we do it?
- Brush your teeth – Toothbrushes have long been the cornerstone of oral care for a good reason: they are effective. Brush at least twice a day, and change your toothbrush every three months.
- Do supplemental cleaning – The dental aisle of your local drug store is filled with flosses, mouthwashes, special picks, and other tools. Ask your dentist what you need; upgrade your daily bathroom regimen to get your teeth even cleaner.
- Use fluoride – In certain cases, toothpastes without fluoride are recommended, but generally speaking fluoride is great for promoting healthy teeth. The Centers for Disease Control consider the introduction of fluoride into community drinking water to be one of the major public healthcare achievements of the 20th Century.
- Avoid sugary foods – Sugar leads to tooth decay. Limit your intake of junk foods like candy and soda, and be aware of sugars added to many foods where you might not expect them. On the other hand, dairy products and foods with calcium help strengthen tooth enamel.
- Visit your dentist – Dentists can identify and head off dental problems before they become serious, and hygienists will clean teeth better than you can yourself. Two visits a year are recommended.
- Get braces – Crooked teeth and misaligned bites can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Have an orthodontist correct your smile to reduce the likelihood of potentially serious problems in the future.
Granted, following this advice takes a bit of work and effort, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that much, especially compared to the payoff. Your future self thanks you.