As I approach my 32nd year on this Earth, I’ve begun to contemplate all the damage I’ve done to my body. Between late nights, a beer or two during my 20s, not washing my face and so on, I can’t help but wonder what lasting effects these old habits will leave as I age. Luckily, however, one aspect of my health that I’ve always taken seriously is that of my teeth. I have been proudly cavity-free for nearly 32 years and my teeth still sparkle with the glint of youth—and not because I spend tons of money on fancy whitening procedures or caps or any of that nonsense. So what’s my secret? Here you go!
Regular Visits to the Dentist
I go to the dentist every six months. No excuses, no exceptions. Every six months, you can bet your bootie you’ll find mine planted in my dentist’s exam chair. A good cleaning, some scraping and a swish of fluoride do the mouth good. I don’t tend to mess with x-rays, as I don’t feel they warrant the bill increase or radiation exposure, but if you haven’t been in a while or if your dentist strongly recommends them, go on and play it safe. But after one time, don’t bother. Just get yourself to the dentist every six months for a routine check-up and cleaning.
I started using Plax when I was little. It’s a mouthwash that you use before you brush. It softens the plaque and swishes food bits out from between your teeth—and boy does it work. I then floss to further remove hard-to-get ick that lodged itself in my mouth’s nooks and crannies. I use Plax both in the morning and night and I floss at night—unless I’ve eaten something like corn on the cob, berries, etc. And as for post-brushing mouth wash—I use this three times a day. I’m not sure of its direct tooth-related benefits, but I like the tingle and freshness it provides.
Without fail, I brush my teeth three times daily. I even keep a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in my purse to brush in the ladies room at work. Excessive? Perhaps, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. And if I snack, I brush—even if it means brushing four times that day. If I drink a soda or something sweet, I immediately swish water around in my mouth to rinse off my teeth.
As for toothpaste, I switch between Colgate Cavity Prevention and Colgate MaxClean. But there are many great tooth pastes out there—some that whiten, some that control tartar and some made specifically for folks with sensitive teeth and gums. I feel the toothpaste itself isn’t nearly as important as actually brushing and flossing.
Dental hygiene isn’t rocket science—it’s merely a habit. And I promise, once you get into a good, regular habit, you’ll see the benefits very soon.