Wednesday, 4 January 2012

First Things First

As for many people, this is the time of year when I reflect on what went well or not last year and what might be some of my aims for the fresh slate in front of me.   It can be disheartening to realise that there is no finishing point for many of one's good intentions.  Most are things that require one to just keep on keeping on, particularly relating to health-related habits.  I try to remember to keep my health at the top of my priorities.  However, one finite thing that I did last year was to change dentists and I have a couple of follow-up visit scheduled this month.

One of the evenings with Bill's cousins were over for dinner we were all talking about dentists and both the cousins said they were quite happy with theirs, located in the West end of Newcastle where Bill's family was based for years.   On the basis of that recommendation, I rang up and made an appointment, only to discover that I had been registered with them during my first year in Newcastle, when I lived off Westgate Road near the place I worked.  I think this registration must have been an automatic thing, but never mind.  I went.

I was surprised to find that the dentist's conversation was almost entirely advice about good dental hygiene.  (The last one was very congenial for the first and last 30 seconds of the visit and ignored me in between).  I was sent away with a new small toothbrush, some toothpaste and an advice sheet.   It turns out that as well as keeping me away from sweets, which my parents did, they should also have kept me away from acidic foods, though the dentist did acknowledge that a healthy diet is fairly acidic in itself.   Some of his other advice was:

  • limit sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes and to less than four times a day
  • avoid sugary food and drinks before bedtime
  • use sugar free medications in preference to those with sugar (like my cough drops)
  • brush twice a day, at night time and one other
  • only use a smear of tooth paste containing 1350-1550 ppm fluoride (I can't recall ever seeing this quantified on toothpaste, but Wikipedia indicates this is the usual amount found in 'full strength' toothpastes.) 
  • brush for a full two minutes, using only a light to moderate pressure to avoid creating a groove at the gum line.  I just count to 150 or so, but there are toothbrushing timers, apparently, and even phone apps for this purpose (whatever...)

I guess if I use the picture, I should link to the source.. 

  • have 2.2% fluoride varnish  applied to teeth twice a year (but this might apply only to small children, I'm not sure)
  • spit, but don't rinse after brushing, to allow the fluoride in the toothpaste to continue working
Finally, the habit I'm having the hardest time with, he's recommended I use a straw when drinking acidic drinks, which are of course the ones I like best.   Somehow I just don't see me sipping my morning coffee through a straw...


Suburban Princess said...

Hm. I know people who follow none of this advice and never have a cavity. Others, like myself, have acid reflux and keep the dentist's kids in a great university.

Anonymous said...

This post is so timely for me. I'm trying to be more conscientious about my dental health, but this year AGAIN I will spend far more on dental work than on my wardrobe. I've joked with my dentist that I should just have a standing appointment. Like you, I cannot imagine drinking my beloved coffee with a straw.