Thursday, March 17, 2011

Open Wide!

How many things do I have to remember to do for my teeth each morning? Until last week, I counted four.

But I am always forgetting something. There must be more than four things.

Things not to do for my teeth: one, do not use too much tooth paste. Your health teacher, the boy scouts, the classroom roving dental hygienist, and a lot of other people will tell you that you only need a baby pea-sized drop; using more creates a barrier between the scrubbing apparatus, the tooth brush, and the teeth; the last professional advice I received suggested that I do a quick scrub after spitting out most of the tooth paste.

Two, do not swig from the bottle of mouthwash. There are special oils in the mouthwash; the alcohol is not the only active ingredient. Swigging causes backwash and activates the oils. The persistent presence of the backwash causes the oils to remain active and they will get used up in the bottle just sitting there idle. The mouthwash will lose it's potency and ability to combat germs, bad breath and other things that compromise oral health.

Three, don't put water on the tooth brush and tooth paste before brushing. Okay, this is just an opinion I heard that might be valid, but I think that the reasoning behind it is similar that of putting too much paste on the brush.

And there are the things that I do for my teeth.

I had a very rough history with dental hygienists. I don't know if there is anyone who likes their time with the dental hygienist. I suppose that some people have an odd crush that masks the relative torture.

I especially remember Patti the Hygienist from my visit to the dentist over 25 years ago. It was an exercise of verbal humiliation, apart from the compromising position of being in the dentist's chair. Each barb was exasperated by the scraping of a metal prod and its insert in to the one soft cavity that brought a sad tsk of disapproval. The insult was added to by the injury of the flesh that was being ripped from my mouth, with the further insult of seeing it leave, bloody just before it was wiped on the antiseptic bib that protected my clothes.

Patti's head shook. I wanted to know when we would be done.

It is almost three decades later. A lot has changed. For one, hygienists seem to know that if they want people to come back, they should be a little kinder with their words and their tools. Second, I think the tools are better. Third, my current hygienist tells me that I am doing a better job of taking care of my teeth and the teeth and gums are in good shape. Take THAT, Patti the Hygienist.

I suppose they are doing well because I already have enough cavities. They are doing well because I have a better brushing technique. They are doing better because I am better at flossing. They are better because I floss, brush, tongue scrape and gargle with mouthwash. And with my last visit, I was given a tiny, little brush to reach behind the wisdom teeth of my very big, fat mouth.

I may still open plastic packaging with my teeth. Please don't tell my father who is quite aware of how expensive my teeth have been, and that's without ever needing braces. I will not, on the other hand, open a beer bottle with those teeth, thank you. 

I don't know how many things you do for your teeth.  I hope you don't forget them.


Dangerous Linda said...

Thank you for the educational post!

I didn't know that about the mouthwash and I will stop swigging from the bottle immediately!

You should get a water pik -- they're GREAT!

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