Oral Health to a 20 Something
I’m 22, fresh out of college, where does oral health and going to the dentist fit into my life? I brush my teeth at least twice a day, and even catch myself flossing from time to time. When I look in the mirror, my teeth seem white enough. I don’t see any chips or brown stains, why would I need to go to the dentist?
Making a trip to the dentist is something that just isn’t on my radar, even when I’m brushing or flossing my teeth. I never set up my dental appointments in school. All my life going to the dentist was something that Mom or Dad told me was happening Thursday afternoon, or when I got home for Thanksgiving break.
There’s only one thing that gets me thinking about my oral health past regular brushing, and I know I’m not alone here. I could be in the middle of a double, watching my baby sister, or just reading a book when I feel that sharp pain in my lower jaw. Is that a cavity? Is that my wisdom teeth coming in? I just don’t know; the most I can do is poke the area with my tongue and guess.
If it’s a cavity, I can chastise myself for the extra serving of dessert last week, and go back to ignoring it when the pain stops. If it’s my wisdom teeth coming in, all I can think about is how hard it’s been to get an appointment, my Dad’s oral surgeon, the go-to guy in my hometown, has been backed up for months. I’ll talk to Dad about checking in with him, and go back to ignoring it when the pain stops.
Regardless of where the pain is coming from, the bottom line remains the same: going to the dentist comes into my mind when something’s going wrong rather than keeping something right, and that’s a bad point of view. We need a better outlook. Visits with the dentist and oral health in general should be about keeping things good, not just stalling the bad and fixing pain.