All of us probably have traumatic memories of going into one of those mobile dental vans in primary school to have our teeth checked, usually with tears streaming down our faces, only to emerge heroically a few minutes later with a free toothbrush and strawberry flavoured toothpaste.
We all know that dentists are there to make sure our teeth and smile are in tip-top shape, but most of us don't make the effort to visit them regularly. Some of us only visit the dentist twice in their lives - once when their wisdom tooth pops out, the other when they happen to have a toothache that sucking on ice cubes didn't get rid off.
We're pretty sure our dentists have a thing or two to tell us. Here are 6 of them:
1. Your dentist is looking out for oral cancer for you
Did you know? That when you go for your regular dental check-up, your dentist is also screening you for any signs of oral cancer? Every hour of every day, someone dies of oral cancer around the world. This dental disease which can affect any area of the mouth, throat or lips is often highly curable if diagnosed and treated in the early stages.
So, visiting your dentist just once or twice a year is great to detect and treat any irregularities early, as well as key in preventing oral cancer.
2. Brushing twice (not once!) a day keeps the cavities away
Brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day will remove plaque - the sticky gross substance formed by bacteria and the food that you chew. Plaque accumulates on the teeth and if not removed by brushing, will cause cavities and even cause gum disease.
You can even level up your dental health by flossing. Flossing daily will remove plaque from the spaces in your teeth that a regular toothbrush cannot reach.
3. Gum disease will affect your overall health
Gum disease is one of the major causes of tooth decay and teeth loss. But not many will know that it is also linked to heart disease and strokes. If diagnosed early, gum disease can be treated and cured. But if left undetected, a more severe stage of gum disease can occur called Periodontitis, which can result in bone loss.
Just remember: "Twice a day, Twice a year". Brushing your teeth twice a day and going for a dental check-up twice a year are your best bets against gum disease.
4. Your toothache will not get better without treatment
Let's face it, pretending that your painful toothache doesn't feel like someone is jackhammering away inside of your mouth is not going to make it miraculously go away. If your cavities continue to grow bigger, it's only going to result in much more pain if they get big enough to hit the nerve in your teeth, as well as become more expensive to treat as you might end up having a root canal done!
Similarly, relying on old wives' tales' remedies like chewing on garlic or rubbing salt into the sore area may just end up causing infection.
5. Root canals are not as scary as you think
So, you ended up chewing on garlic cloves and now your entire sore tooth area is infected. The bad news is that you need a root canal done. The good news is that with today's technology, the procedure is nothing like what you may think. You might end up pleasantly surprised at how undramatic it ends up being.
Instead of having a bad tooth extracted because of all the so-called scary stories you've heard about root canals, in my opinion, it is as painless as having a filling.
6. Change your toothbrush
Toothbrushes become worn out after about 3 months, and will not be as effective at cleaning your teeth and gums after that. If you have gum disease or severe bad breath, it may help to replace your toothbrush every 4 weeks or so as bacteria can remain in the toothbrush bristles.
Always rinse your toothbrush after use thoroughly and never share it with others.