Ignore Your Teeth And They’ll Go Away?

It's not "rock n roll" to neglect your teeth...it's just gross and stinky. A little toothpaste never killed anyone's career.

Right… but apparently not before spreading misery to other parts of your body.  We all know that if you don’t take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing every day it leads to tooth decay…tooth decay leads to tooth pain, infection and eventually tooth loss.  Losing your teeth is a real drag, especially if you’re a brass player, woodwind player…or any other human who wants to eat and speak normally… but it turns out taking care of your teeth isn’t only good for your teeth.  Your dental health has a much bigger impact on the rest of your body than we originally thought.  There have been some recent studies indicating that gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.  Yikes!  The good thing is that it’s never too late to start caring for your teeth and it might just help you stay a little healthier all around.  Here are some tips for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy…even if you aren’t a musician.  

Brush and floss every day.  If you can remember, brush and floss twice a day.  Use a soft bristle tooth brush and don’t brush too hard.  Hard brushing doesn’t get your teeth any cleaner and neither does a stiff bristle brush.  All it does is hurt your gums and dig the enamel off of your teeth…then it starts to dig out your teeth.  I have a couple of divots in my front teeth caused by pushing too hard with my electric toothbrush.  Don’t let this happen to you.  If you want some more details about better tooth care check out this article on the Mayo Clinic website.

Go to the dentist.  Yes, I know, it’s nerve racking to even think about going where the drills are, but it’s really important.  Even if you can’t afford to fix your teeth right now (or you are just too nervous), you should get them cleaned professionally twice a year at the very least.  It will go a long way toward keeping gum disease away…and best of all, no drilling!  If you really, really can’t afford it, you still have options.  Many of the same low/no cost community health centers that offer primary care also offer dental services.

If you’re a musician living in the New Orleans area you can try the New Orleans Musician’s Clinic.  Not a musician or don’t quite qualify for the Musician’s Clinic?  Find a health center by going to GNOcommunity.org.

If you don’t live in the GNO community, you can still find a health center by going to the Department of Health and Human Services Find A Health Center page.  There you can search by address or city/state to find a community health center that offers dental care in your neck of the woods.

Remember, it’s much easier and cheaper to prevent tooth decay than it is to fix it.  My grandmom passed away just shy of her 86th birthday…she still had every single one of her own teeth and none were rotting.  If she can do it, so can you.  So, bottom line…take care of your teeth and they will help take care of you.

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Posted on July 18, 2011, in Musician's Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I am going to dub you “Ms. Resource.” You’re like a useful and paid librarian. You come out of the dusty ivory tower of books and spread sense across the land. I am telling you Jenni, someone out there needs and wants what you have to offer.

    ….

    You’ll get paid someday.

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