How To Think About Your Teeth
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: “A word to the wise is sufficient.” That is why I am talking to you today about your teeth. I know most people prefer not to talk about or even think about teeth; even so, teeth are important. As you no doubt know, the natural teeth you have in your mouth right now are the only “natural” teeth you will ever have for the rest of your life. I’m sure you already knew that so let’s move on.
In short, my purpose here is to remind you it is up to you to take good care of every one of those teeth, to preserve them, to “baby” them. Why do I say all of this? Obviously, you need to preserve and take care of your teeth for one, or should I say three important reasons. When I say “three” reasons, what I’m trying to do is remind you that most people chew, and swallow food at least three times a day – every day of their lives. That means teeth are put to work chewing food so that the food can be swallowed and digested properly during each one of those meals. In other words, teeth have a major roll or job of preserving the rest of your body. This has always been the way it is for us as humans.
As a matter of fact, humans have been depending on their teeth to keep them nourished and healthy ever since Adam and Eve. Recently I saw a report that archeologists in Pakistan, while digging in a cemetery that dated as far back as the Stone Age, some 9,000 years ago, had found human skulls with teeth in them and much to their surprise, the teeth showed evidence that they had been drilled and filled and repaired by an ancient “dentist!” This tells us that – even back then – people were aware of the need to take care of their teeth.
You may wonder what causes tooth decay so let me explain. There are actually millions of germs in your mouth. Some are there as an aid to digestion. Others like Streptococcus Mutants are a main source of decay problems because they are there to eat sugar and only sugar. After it eats the sugar that is on and around your teeth, it will secrete an acid that has the ability to penetrate the outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, and this results in holes or cavities. The depth of those cavities, if allowed to remain without filling (by a dentist), can reach into the pulp chamber in the tooth and that could result in the need for an expensive "root canal" treatment. How can you avoid cavities? (1) Reduce the number of germs by brushing your teeth at least twice a day. (2) Use a toothpaste containing fluoride. (3) Avoid foods and beverages containing sugar. (4) Eat foods with sugar substitutes instead of real sugar. (5) However, if you do eat sweets, be sure to brush your teeth within one hour to get rid of the sugar on your teeth.
Now I will mention some words that most people avoid at all costs: tooth paste, tooth brush, dental floss, and what seems to be the most hated word of all: dentist! Believe it or not, your dentist wants to help you preserve your teeth…he is not there just to empty your wallet or checkbook. He really wants the opportunity to help you avoid dental pain, pocketbook pain and dentures.
In England, back in the 1500s, the man you went to see in the marketplace when you had a toothache was the local “tooth barber.” He would have you lie on your back, right there on the ground, put your head between his knees, and he would then go to work to fix your toothache for you. First he would chant some incantations and prayers, and then he would pour a mixture of herbs and urine in your mouth. He did all of this to kill the “tooth worms” that he said caused your toothache, then he would go to work on your ailing tooth with his knife, pliers and fingers and in this way extract your bad tooth. All the while the crowd of onlookers would cheer him on in his efforts to relieve you of your toothache.
I tell you all of this so you will appreciate the advantage and benefits you have when you go to your dentist these days: a comfortable chair, pain avoiding Novocain, water cooled drills, sanitary tools and a very sensitive and caring dentist who wants you to feel comfortable. Why? - So you will be sure to come back to him again and again for regular checkups designed to assure you that your teeth and mouth are as healthy as possible.