Thursday, November 12, 2009

You or someone you know needs to read this

“It’s great to see someone who takes care of their teeth,” my dentist told me today, glumly.

Since my dentist works in a pricey part of town where presumably his patients have the education and resources for good dental hygiene, I had to ask what would prompt such a comment.

He told me how so many of his patients drink diet sodas instead of water, and that the acidic nature of these drinks wear away at people’s teeth. Not only that, “everybody’s an athlete these days”, and they’re drinking sports and endurance drinks that are an enamel-eroding blend of acids and sugars. Furthermore, many people are on SSRIs (a category of antidepressants including Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Paxil) which often have the side-effect of teeth-grinding and clenching. (The increased incidence of grinding and clenching he’s noticed in his patients could also be due to increased stress.) He’s seeing patient after patient (some in their thirties) whose teeth are visibly shorter and worn due to these practices. Many of them are in denial and don’t accept there’s a problem until thousands of dollars of damage has been done to their teeth.

I believe he called the required dental repair work “dental remodeling”, and he said it cost between $15,000 and $30,000 to do. He clearly did not enjoy doing this type of work, despite the obvious financial benefit he could enjoy if more of his patients needed such procedures.

So, here are a few things I would like to suggest, if you aren’t already doing them:

  1. STOP regularly drinking acidic drinks (especially sodas [even diet ones], sports drinks, etc.). Just think … if these drinks are doing this to your TEETH, what are they doing to the REST of your body????? DRINK WATER.

  1. IF you must continue drinking garbage, brush your teeth afterwards or at least drink a glass of water afterwards to rinse your teeth and gums.

  1. Ask yourself if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Do your teeth show unusual wear? If you look at photos from just a few years ago, do your teeth look different, smoother, or shorter? Do you wake up with headaches in the morning? If you have a partner who complains that you grind your teeth while you sleep, take it seriously. It’s a big deal.

  1. If you suspect you do grind/clench your teeth, talk with your dentist about getting a mouth guard to use while you sleep. Like my dentist says, a mouth guard can be replaced at ~ $400 a year (if you really do damage to it), but remodeling your mouth will be very expensive and never quite satisfactory. (Teeth grinding will damage or even shatter the porcelain used to replace your natural enamel.)

Your enamel will not grow back. Take care of your teeth so they can take care of you. This is all common sense, right?

1 comment:

PV said...

Hmmmm, and I'm having session one of dental surgery to fix my front teeth tomorrow...Yes, one must take care of ones teeth.