Secrets Your Dentist Won’t Tell You (I will do anything for teeth but I won’t do that) …
Probably the secret part of that is how truly good it feels for a dentist when a patient consents to just 40% of their professional recommendations.
It’s a challenge accepting how less than 50% on both sides is somehow not a failure. What does it actually mean for a trained health professional to have to negotiate the level of wellbeing in their patients because of cost? How does health insurance get away with all that it does, when just like James Weldon Johnson’s Dem Bones everything’s connected?
Now there’s a secret worth knowing.
Dentists find it not unusual for to see a small child, beautifully dressed, with teeth rotted to the gums. Teenagers from affluent homes with nine cavities – just a total breakdown in parental supervision. (There’s the mystery cracked wide open!)
Distracted kids who struggle at school are often labeled as having behavioural issues because they’re so easily agitated. Often they’re suffering from toothache, abscesses, painful gums or the soreness of bruxism. Misaligned teeth can cause migraines. Fixing the bite removes the source of the discomfort. And gives a kid the opportunity for a much better life.
Something shocking that should be no secret if it actually is one, is the number of extractions of baby teeth that are abscessed or heavily decayed. Unthinking parents consider no reason to pay attention to baby teeth because they fall out. Interesting, if only there were boys-to-men who had never washed or brushed his hair because of male pattern baldness in the family. Or if most people intentionally trashed their first car because they know there’ll be others.
When a tooth is prematurely removed, other teeth crowd in to fill up the space. Without the right treatment, it creates a lifetime of dental management.
Teeth grinding at night puts a pressure that can result in several types of cracks: vertical root fracture, craze lines, a split tooth, a fractured cusp, or cracked tooth. Some are asymptomatic; a patient won’t realise they have that type of dental damage until they go in for their biannual check-up. Other times, patients will complain of gum swelling, pain when chewing, lingering pain, or the feeling of a tooth being loose that identifies the bruxism.
After extensive study of the condition of bruxism, Southern Californian Dr Joel Gould believes it makes sense that more people would have bruxism these days because the condition is a result of a vitamin D deficiency. We’ve lost a regular connection and exposure to the sun. Vitamin D regulates a lot of different things in our body. When you don’t have enough, insomnia, bruxism and anxiety are not uncommon. You can only make vitamin D between particular times of the day. The sun has to be high in the sky and casting a shadow shorter than your height for its rays to be strong enough for vitamin D to be produced.
In pretty much every case of cracked teeth the dentists finds some stressor; we’re living through unpredictable times and unprecedented weather. When people don’t know if they’re going to have a job, whether they can be social again, or for how long they’ll have to keep adapting, oral health care becomes the last concern on the list until it shows the impact of everything else.
The job of your dentist is to do everything they can to keep your teeth in your mouth. Sometimes there’s a lot riding against that.
Like soft drink consumption. Secretly referred to by dentists as “the liquid chainsaw” because of the way it cuts through teeth with its sugars and acids, it is the #1 reason for cavities.
The fear of amalgam fillings because they do release a small amount of mercury through wear and tear in the mouth is overreactive as far as s lot of dentists confess; apparently you’d have to have about 300 fillings for the mercury level to pose any risk. Certainly there’s room for debate on that, but either way, removing silver fillings releases more mercury than leaving them in.
And while composite fillings are popular because they’re tooth-coloured, metal fillings are more durable – especially in the treatment of larger cavities. Which you wouldn’t have, if you heeded all the advice of your dentist instead of just 40%.
Seems that leaves 60% of just plain dumb.
The most useful secret your dentist hasn’t told you (for reasons not understood by me at least), is that the recommendation to see your dentist twice a year only applies only if you have healthy gums. Most people don’t. So doubling that would be a start.
Many people with periodontal disease have it affect their back teeth, with their front teeth fine. So don’t secretly brush just the bits others see. Proper oral hygiene requires TEN minutes of brushing and flossing every day – not three, so the explanation for that tawdry lie would be appreciated. Alcohol based mouthwash dries out your mouth and affects the bacteria balance; you might have nice minty breath for a half hour, but that’s the most positive thing you get.
UV devices and other germ zappers are totally unnecessary; there’s no reason to sanitise your toothbrush unless you’re (bizarrely) sharing it with other people – and even then it’d be cheaper to just buy more toothbrushes and instil a few (whacky) oral health boundaries. With toothpaste, there’s a limit to what it can do. That new whitening formula can get rid of surface stains, but it can never whiten like a professional treatment. Because the gel irritation of their teeth and gums some people give up on tooth whitening. The secret is they don’t have to: just use a fluoride rinse or gel before and after to make your teeth much less sensitive.
The secret wish dentists have, rather than keep, is that people still used a Waterpik – very popular in the 1970s. It is the best device for keeping your gums, teeth and mouth healthy. The Waterpik pressure cleaned like perfect flossing and could reach just below the gum line where oral health trouble often begins.
Hardly a secret anymore one would think, but the electric toothbrush is the best thing to ever happen to oral health care. Newer ones replicate professional cleaning as much as is possible; they don’t reach much below the gum line, but they’re far superior to regular toothbrushes despite the research that claims the result is the same. If nothing else, an electric toothbrush at least has a timer, in itself a vast improvement on a manual brush which relies on much less precision in the length of time spent. Now knowing the secret that TEN minutes is the desired time for good oral care, three minutes already feels like ten so it’s not useful to rely on guessing and mind games to establish accurate timing.
Pay more for a really good brush; it’s worth it. And that’s no secret.
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