August 19, 2016

You only get one pair

Alec J. Wilmot

As we all know, you only get one pair of adult teeth and it’s our individual responsibility to take care of them. There are a myriad of factors to consider when talking about dental health but the universal rule is that one ought to brush them at least once a day before bed and if you’re really good, one in the morning too. Flossing is recommended for the keeping of good breath and clean looking teeth. Dental health is not simply aesthetic, though. When teeth are not well taken care of tar, plaque and other nasty by-products of our daily lifestyle build on and around our teeth and can infect the gums, ultimately causing the loss of teeth, gum infection, chronic bad breath and even stomach and heart issues due to these bad elements being swallowed – not a pleasant thought, I know, but it is worth bearing in mind that the maintenance of a clean mouth has demonstrable positive health effects on the rest of the body as a whole.
There does exist, due to the proliferation of advertising and lifestyle chronicling that has become so endemic in the internet age, the idea that nothing short of a gleaming, perfectly set ‘TV smile’ will do. The attraction to perfect teeth is mostly cultural but also partly hard-wired into us as human beings. A good set of teeth is an indicator of good general health, yes, but the ‘TV smile’ is the result of bleaching and cosmetic work – it does not reflect life in the real world and, indeed, very few people can maintain flawless pearlers without cosmetic aid. I say to those of us in the real world, do not fret – slightly off-colour teeth are completely normal, as are slight defects in the alignment of our teeth. We ought not focus on achieving a ‘TV smile’ but should still remain aware of how important dental health is – a simple check of our teeth and gums once or twice a week should reliably tell us how much brushing and flossing care is necessary to balance out our lifestyle factors (coffee, red wine, sugar and starch intake, smoking). You only get one pair of adult teeth, it’s important to take care of them.


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