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.
Great article,now brush your teeth…. xo
The 20s are a particularly vulnerable time for many young adults. Many people coming out of college and grad school don’t have jobs that have good benefits or are still under probationary periods for up to a year or more. This means they don’t have basic dental insurance, and that can result in them nickel and diming on their oral health care.
This is problematic, as the mouth is tied to our entire body, and if we fail to take good care of our gums, teeth, tongue, and mouth, it can have negative effects far down the line for the patient. Fortunately, there are affordable options and courtesy of the ACA, many people who were uninsured before can now get insurance, including dental in some exchanges, at a reasonable rate. Even if you get the most basic treatment insurance, it’s worth it for both your health and your teeth.
Great article! I remember feeling this way in my 20’s and as Dr Morim notes it’s particularly tough when you don’t have dental coverage to make that appointment. Lot’s of schools in Canada require health coverage for full-time students which includes dental so make sure you know what you’re entitled to with your insurance or Mom/Dad’s insurance!
This article hit the nail right on the head. I don’t think it’s even necessarily a mindset that only 20 somethings have; I know quite a few people who see the dentist only when they feel tooth pain, or only go in for a cleaning if their dental office is hounding them to do so.