Without a mouthful of teeth, our appearances would be startlingly different (like this!). Although skipping out on flossing a few times a week or neglecting to replace our toothbrushes regularly may not lead to a completely edentulous smile, as dental health care providers we should be careful not to neglect our own oral health. While these simple tips from mayoclinic.com may seem to be common knowledge, make sure you are abiding by them and giving your pearly whites what they deserve! This is especially applicable to dental students, who might be tempted to focus more on their patients’ teeth rather than their own. Leading by example and practicing what you preach is a valuable skill that your patients and teeth will be eternally grateful for.
Brush at least twice a day. The best time to brush teeth is after consuming highly acidic food or drinks (like wine, coffee, citrus fruits, and soft drinks), but be sure to wait 30 minutes to an hour after you eat. Otherwise, you risk wearing away the enamel of your teeth.
Choose the right toothbrush. Opt for one with a small head for better access to back teeth, and soft bristles for ease on your gums. Whether or not you use an electric toothbrush is a matter of personal preference and budget, just be sure you are brushing regularly and with proper technique.
Teeth are for chewing—and nothing else! Avoid using your teeth for anything other than chewing food, i.e. opening bottles, ripping open packaging, cracking nuts, etc. By doing this, you risk chipping or breaking your teeth.
Drink sugary beverages through a straw. This will minimize the amount of contact between the sugars and your teeth, which will reduce the risk of developing caries.
See your dentist regularly. Don’t wait until you have a toothache; schedule biannual checkups and cleanings for preventative measures. Dental students—take a peek into your classmates’ mouth for some extra practice!
Don’t forget to floss. We tell our patients to floss everyday, but do you follow your own advice? You should! Make flossing a part of your daily routine and stick to it.
Any other interesting tips you’d like to share? Comment below!
~Sachi Mehrotra, UCLA ’15 predental