fact: i hadn't been to the dentist in more than six years, until recently. i was invited to come in and check out the wellington clinic in chelsea by dr. goodacre, and considering the aforementioned fact, i thought it might be a good idea. i've never really had any dental problems; as a child i had two minor fillings, but never a need for braces or having my wisdom teeth out. in fact, as it turns out, i have plenty of room for my own wisdom teeth, and then some! well, except for that one sneaky one that plays up every now and then, but other than that, no dramas.
but, i'm a coffee addict, and also drink a lot of diet coke. i like sweets. i drink wine. i induce many a thing that could contribute to the detriment of my teeth over time, and i figured it was high time to bit the bullet (so to speak), and have them looked at. the good news is that in six years i've managed to keep my teeth in pretty good nick, with a few notes from the experts on what i could be doing better. to me, some of those things were news - or, debunked myths at least. things like:
flossing is not important at all
it totally is! flossing is an added step to your daily dental hygiene routine that maaaany of us miss. me included. forgetting to floss, or choosing not to can lead to the build-up of bacteria in between and around the teeth, and into the gums. bacteria in those hard-to-reach places can cause gum disease, decay, and pain. flossing releases this bacteria from its resting place, and forces it out and into the sink. it's super cheap, easy and essential to your dental health - start flossing!
brushing bleeding gums is bad mmmkay
it's not! brushing is not only for your teeth's health, but also for the health of your gums and tongue. brushing all of these areas regularly gets rid of plaque, which is what causes inflammation, bad breath, and gum disease; plaque can cause the gums to bleed if not regularly brushed. brushing removes plaque. removing plaque removes bleeding gums. it's the circle of life. though, while the teeth and gums are sensitive and bleeding, you could try brushing lighter than usual, and on an angle to as to not agitate the already-sore areas.
you should avoid sugar or your teeth will rot
not totally true! so yes, sugar is bad for your teeth, but it's not actually the sugar that's hurting them. the real cause of tooth decay is a combination of bacteria, sugar and acid; your gums get irritated is sugar gets caught between them, but most of what you eat can and will cause bacteria if you don't flush anyway. so, if you don't eat sugar but do have bad dentist habits, you are prone to the same decay. so.. eat the sugar! the sugar isn't the enemy!
whitening your teeth is dangerous and vain
not so! whitening is a popular treatment for taking colour-abused teeth back to a "healthier" shade (fun fact: the whiter the teeth is not necessarily the healthier the teeth), and has been since the 90s. thankfully though, the way to achieve a whiter, brighter smile is becoming a lot easier, and a lot less dangerous. or, not dangerous at all, in fact. while a prolonged use of whitening products can cause some sensitivity of the teeth, they simply oxidise your enamel so that light refracts differently and teeth appear whiter. there's absolutely no bleaching involved.
i'm currently using the philips zoom nitewhite whitening kit*, which is backed by dental studies that have shown that it's totally safe for your teeth and gums. and, it's recommended by dr. goodacre from the wellington clinic, and was only recommended after a thorough consultation. i've only used it a few nights so far, but it's easy to use and not uncomfortable at all. i look forward to seeing the results in time for christmas!
an electric toothbrush is extravagant and stupid
well, the verdict is out on this. dr. goodacre is confident that an electric toothbrush is better for your teeth as the vibrations produce thousands and thousands of strokes that you then don't manually have to create yourself - and, they reach to the furtherest part of your gums that your manual brush can't quite reach. but, i've never had one, so i wouldn't know. i've never had one, and never had any problems with my dental health. other than some plaque build-up in the last six years, all results from my consultation were positive. but, i'm happy to take the advice given, and hoping to find an electric toothbrush under the tree come christmas day. updates on both to come!
*i was invited for a dental consultation at the wellington clinic, but all learnings are my own*