For a number of years, men have only associated the term “grooming” with the concept of styling. In the recent past, brands have been introducing a more “health” conscious way of looking good. If you’ve been a true fan of MP, then you are certainly aware of some of those more “natural” products that were featured on our posts.
To start things off, I’d like to make a confession (one of many): I’m not too fond of doctor visits. No, I am not talking about hitting up the ER to get stitches on my left brow (true story), nor am I talking about waiting in line for the prescribed cold medicine. I am referring to the regular doctor checkups. Heck, just the thought of waiting in line and filling out some paperwork was enough for me to categorize the entire experience as a big waste of time. Besides, I am still young and look (and feel) plenty healthy! For those exact reasons, I delay any unnecessary doctor visits as long as possible. This is also true with dentist visits.
So, the story begins with me being roughly 4-5 years overdue for a routine dental exam. After numerous requests from family members and feeling it was “about time”, I finally called the local dental clinic and scheduled an appointment.
(Jumping right to the point)
After what seemed to be a good half hour of dental x-ray zaps, which resulted in countless gag reflexes and even more academy award winning facial expressions, I finally found myself resting in the examination chair. Given that I was the last patient of the day, the dentist took his sweet time coming into the room with a long list of “things”. For starters, I was told my 4 wisdom teeth would need to be surgically removed as they’ve migrated to invade and damage the neighboring teeth. Second, there are a few cavities that will need to be attended to in the next few visits. Lastly, the 4-5 years of avoiding the dentist caused severe plaque buildup that’s now causing some serious medical concerns. What was supposed to be a quick exam and a routine teeth cleaning resulted in a life changing experience.
To help everyone get a better sense of the situation, let me paint some additional colors. The doctor informed me that the formation of dental plaque is usually a common occurrence. Food residue usually gets trapped between our teeth and the cervical margins. The real chemical reaction occurs when the user does not perform proper dental care such as routine brushing, flossing and dental cleaning. Those unattended residues combined with extended contact with human saliva results in the rigid formation of plaque. In more extreme cases, the acidic nature of the buildup can even cause demineralization of the teeth. In my case, the long-term buildup of the plaque had begun to eat away at the intersection between the crown and the root of my tooth. As a result, my gums are much redder than that of a healthy person and the teeth around the gum margin is looking thinner then usual. If left unattended, the teeth will literally fall out one by one…..
Since I like to believe that we live in a fairytale world, there is a possible happy ending. In my case, with proper care we can slow down the demineralization process. After a good 45 minutes of high-pressure water cleaning and fiddling with the horrifying “hook”, the dentist managed to remove majority of the visible buildup on the surface. The next step would be for me to schedule a deep cleaning session where I would be undergoing a similar cleaning process to eliminate the remaining buildup hidden underneath my gum line. I was also informed that proper flossing following tooth brushing is the best DIY method for individuals to protect their teeth.
1. Be generous with the floss string – Longer floss string allows for better. maneuverability (Note: floss string works better than floss picks)
2. Wrap the ends of the detached strings several times around each middle-finger
3. With a good 2-3 inches of strings between your fingers, move your hands far apart until it’s properly tensioned.
4. Using both middle fingers as tensioners, move the open string over the slots between your teeth and slot the string in using your index fingers for maneuverability. (Note: This is where most people get it wrong. When slotting the floss down the space between the teeth, DO NOT stop when the floss touches the tip of the gum. Give it a bit more force and you’ll find the floss sink a bit lower into the space underneath the surface of the gum. There is a noticeable feeling when you’ve done it correctly).
5. Once you’ve positioned the floss underneath the crown, proceed to move the string up in one motion. ONLY move the floss up and down. DO NOT zigzag the string back and forth as you’ll run the risk of cutting into your tooth and damaging it. (Note: Initial flossing will cause some bleeding as your gum can be sensitive, but this beats losing your teeth).
6. Repeat until complete.
If you are like me and prefer skipping doctors or dentists, I beg you to reconsider. The short term laziness and time saved of avoidance is not nearly worth it, compared to the number of health issues that might result in the future. If my experience can be a lesson to both grooming and health, simply brushing ones teeth and looking good isn’t a solution. Only with proper care both on the outside and inside can we truly achieve the sensation of looking and feeling great!
Photo used under CC from Lee Roberts