Years ago, I asked my Dad what words of wisdom he could share that I might want to write about. In my naïveté, I dismissed his response as advice for the aging. “Take care of your teeth,” he told me. I should have listened!
Who knew how important that advice would be. I recently changed dentists, and discovered that all those years of hearing “you have great teeth” were a sham. What my dentist should have been saying was, “your gums are wasting away!”
To REALLY take care of the teeth and gums, requires much more than I ever imagined. The degenerative bacteria live under the gum line and repopulate every 4-6 hours! So much for just brushing twice a day.
Here's what my new dentist and periodontist have taught me about oral self care:
- Don't use waxy floss. The bacteria are like oil on your kitchen counter. Would you use wax paper to clean up spilled oil?
- Floss before your brush.
- Floss on either side of the gum line, below the tooth, and cover as much surface area of the tooth as possible.
- Listen for the squeak – four or five times per side of the tooth works like a charm.
Now, there's more involved, and I won't bore you with more details. But I will tell you that I've grown accustomed to this new routine that takes about 10 minutes twice a day. It makes me a little crazy – not exactly how I want to spend 20 minutes a day – but I have to admit that my teeth feel MUCH cleaner, and my mouth feels fresher.
Once again, it just goes to show that we're never too old to listen to our parents! Maybe I should send a copy of this to my kids!