As a dentist’s daughter, I frequently receive questions from my peers about what it means to have good oral health. I used to wonder why people believed that I would know the secrets to good maintaining healthy teeth — I’m not a dentist after all. As an elementary school student, I was the go-to dental knowledge bank. In middle and high school, the questions continued. Today, as a college student pursuing a career in dental hygiene, the questions have gotten even more abundant.
The funniest part of all of this is that, more often than not, I know the answer to people’s questions, and I love answering them!
So how do I know the answers? Often, it is because they are parts of my lifestyle; parts that began the day I was born to a dentist. While I know that sugar is not great for your teeth, eating candy is not the end-all-be-all determinant of how healthy your teeth will be. I know that flossing is one of the most important personal hygiene things you can do, despite how underestimated it may be. And trust me, I know not to bite on a lemon or open a plastic container with my teeth.
I was never directly given a list of what to do and what not to do, but I grew up with a knowledge-bank was built by tidbits of conversations and interactions with my dad.
I do not have the answer as to why everyone has the same set of unanswered questions about dental health, but I think that if people made maintaining good oral health a part of their lifestyle, the answers may seem more simple. Maintaining good oral health can be made into a routine that is easy to maintain. Once this routine becomes second nature, people can and will prevent so many oral health problems.
If we create a routine, we really won’t have to sacrifice anything. We can still eat that once-in-a-while piece of candy, as long as we brush and floss every night. We can recognize that if our gums are bleeding, our bodies are telling us that we need to care for them better through flossing. And we should be aware that dentists, dental hygienists, and students love when people care enough to ask us questions. www.joethedentist.com