Wednesday, July 27
Today was a Pennsylvania day.
My mother and brother live in Pennsylvania.
More accurately, my brother lives in Pennsylvania and our mother lives with him.
When mom first thought about moving to Pennsylvania, I had offered for her to stay in Maryland and live with me but it’s hard to separate a mother from her son, so she went to Pennsylvania.
They do not have a car. So, every few weeks, I drive up, take Mom to appointments, take my brother wherever he needs to go and get them dinner.
I also try to accomplish some of the things Mom has on her daughter-do-list, which is usually quite a lot. Lol
When I’m not up there, I check on them everyday over the phone and I also do a lot of long distance things like, paperwork, phone calls for my brother, computer stuff for them both, help mom with placing internet orders, etc.
Today, I took Mom to a dentist appointment.
A few years ago, after getting a job at a dental office, I learned just how important good dental care is.
Since then, I’ve constantly stressed to her, and am now stressing to my son, the importance of taking good care of your teeth because dental problems sneak up on you and can quickly turn to health problems!
Dental problems sneak up on you
For a long time, my mother did not have dental insurance because she was afraid of the expense and I was in no position to help her.
Sure enough, problems have snuck up on her and now she needs a lot of work done.
But figuring out how to pay for it all is a big problem and I definitely do not want to her the lose her teeth, if there’s any hope of saving them.
So, now, faced with the possibility of losing her teeth, she wishes she had found a way to pay for dental care.
Saving her teeth is pretty much my #1 goal right now. I lay awake at nights worrying about it.
She does have a good dentist now, but we have a long road in front of us and do not know yet if it is even possible to save them.
Did you know that your teeth effect your health in a big way? Many people are surprised to learn that.
Tooth problems and tooth decay can cause more than the well-known symptoms of bad breath, toothache, tooth sensitivity and potential abscesses.
For one thing, it can also cause headaches or migraines.
In fact, an untreated tooth infection can spread to other areas of the body over a period of time.
This could cause serious symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing and contribute to heart diease, to name a few.
Tooth infection can also cause complications if you need surgery or can cause your doctor to refuse surgery.
Dentures are different from your real teeth…
Another widespread misconception is that having dentures is exactly like having your natural teeth.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I am not in anyway saying that a person should not get dentures. I’m just saying that they are very different and require patience and even some determination to get used to.
When the natural teeth are removed, the mouth shrinks, which means dentures will need to be adjusted smaller until the mouth is done shrinking.
Also, there will be foods that are difficult to eat or even not advisable to eat with dentures.
Appreciate your natural teeth
There were occasions when young people with healthy teeth would ask to have their teeth pulled so they could get dentures because they simply didn’t want to care for their teeth.
This is never advisable and a good dentist will tell you so. The dentists that worked in the office that I worked at would certainly never agree to such a thing!
But unfortunately, I learned while working there that many poor people are encouraged by unscrupulous dentists to have all or most of their teeth pulled and get dentures.
The reason for this is that these *unscrupulous dentist can get up to $600 per tooth by pulling them but much less for fixing a tooth.
Keep in mind, I did say, unscrupulous! The average dentist DOES have your best interest at heart and there are times when a tooth can not be saved.
Just beware if a loved one is encouraged to remove many teeth and get a second opinion before going forward!
Another little tidbit of advice
is brush and floss!
If you need help learning to floss, do not be afraid to ask your dental hygienist or dentist to teach you!
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time and flossing once per day.
I can’t imagine only brushing my teeth twice per day. I probably brush 5 or 6 times per day.
When I was younger, I brushed even more than that. I carried a tooth brush and toothpaste everywhere and brushed often.
Most dentist that I have spoken to say that the very most important time to brush and floss your teeth is before bed.
That is because brushing and flossing before bed helps to slow down the bacteria growth that causes plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, causes bone loss and tooth loss. So, floss, floss, floss!
Any time that I am so tired that I consider the possibility of going to bed without brushing and flossing, I remind myself how much I do NOT want my teeth to fall out and then I go brush and floss!
Along with not flossing, other things that can contribute to periodontal disease are:
eating soft foods like rice, on a daily basis. If your diet is high in foods like rice you may want to consult with your dental hygienist or dentist to ask how often it is safe to eat these foods as far as periodontal disease prevention is concerned.
Also, chewing tobacco, smoking, heavy drinking and sugary drinks, sodas but especially Mountain Dew can be issues that contribute to periodontal disease.
In fact, many of the people that I’ve met that have serious dental issues are habitual Mountain Dew drinkers and /or smokers.
But you don’t have to be a smoker or habitual Mountain Dew drinker to have dental problems, genetic factors play a role as well.
Genetic factors play a role as well
My father’s teeth often broke, causing him a lot of dental problems and my brother and I have trouble with our teeth braking too.
My back teeth brake easily. They started braking when I was 20. So, I’m always very careful to avoid very hard foods, like Jordan Almonds and I try to find dental hygienist which do a good job without being too rough on my back teeth.
However, even if you suspect hereditary issues, do not let that stop you from taking good care of your teeth!
One of the most important things to remember to is do not dispare, most issues can be overcome with good dental hygiene and a good dentist!
If you’re looking for a good dentist, ask friends and family who they see, do google searches and read reviews. You will find a dentist you like that can help you to have your best teeth!