Many people leave their dental checkup with stern resolve to take better care of their teeth, only to find themselves trying to explain the new cavity or excess plaque the next time their cleaning rolls around. If this is you, you're not alone. For some reason, many people feel the need to explain away poor oral care habits, blaming their bad teeth on anything but a lack of effort. Here are some common lies you might tell your own dentist, and some reasons why you really should cop to the "whole tooth" truth.
"I brush three times every day."
If your dentist declares that your pants are on fire after you make this statement, don't be surprised. They're trained to recognize the signs of regular brushing, although they may not be able to tell if you've brushed your teeth exactly three times every day.
If you actually are brushing your teeth several times a day, but your dentist still finds problems, they may suggest that you change your brushing technique to get the best results. They may even tell you that two times a day is adequate, and they probably won't judge you, because even dentists have been known to miss a brushing every now and then.
"I floss after meals."
You're fooling no one if you say that you're flossing daily when you aren't. Your dentist can spot the signs of non-flossing, including plaque and tartar buildup. You can expect a bit of a lecture from your dentist if you aren't flossing at all, but even then, you aren't alone. Despite the fact that not flossing can lead to periodontal disease and serious gum infections, over a quarter of dental patients do not floss their teeth.
Save the lies about flossing for the tooth fairy, because if you don't start flossing regularly, you may start losing teeth sooner than you'd like. Instead, ask your dentist about ways to make flossing less of a chore or ways to be more efficient with your dental floss.
"I don't smoke."
Even if the stinky smoker's breath doesn't give you away, your dentist can still see through this lie easily. The scent of cigarette smoke penetrates the teeth and gums, making it nearly impossible to mask it. Smoking dries out the teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to bacteria. Smokers are about four times more likely to develop periodontal disease than non-smokers. Even if you don't get gum disease, smoking yellows your teeth, which is another clue your dentist can use to tell you're lying to them.
Even occasional smoking can damage your teeth, so if you smoke, try to stop. Otherwise, you'll have to explain to your dentist how a "non-smoker" has developed yellow teeth, bad breath, dry mouth and possibly even oral cancers, all of which are common in smokers' mouths.
"I don't have an eating disorder."
While it's true that most tactful dentists won't out and out ask if you suffer from bulimia, be aware that this particular eating disorder affects your teeth in a drastic way. People who purge themselves by vomiting expose their teeth to stomach acid on a fairly regular basis. This can cause the enamel on the teeth to wear away much more quickly than normal, and most dentists can spot this fairly easily.
If you suffer from bulimia, don't put off dental work. Your dentist only wants to help you keep your teeth healthy. They're not there to judge or lecture you about your eating disorder, so don't avoid the dentist out of shame or worry.
When you visit your dentist, it's best to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing less. This way, your dentist can choose the best plan of action for keeping your teeth and gums healthy despite your less-than-stellar dental hygiene habits. Learn more by visiting resources like http://www.silveradofamilydental.com.