Of all the things considered matinal essentials—reading the paper, guzzling caffeinated beverages, consuming a balanced breakfast—few tasks have more effect on long-term health and wealth than brushing one’s teeth.
I grew up in a community where dentures were considered a convenient inevitability and most people underwent a full-mouth extraction as a mid-20s rite of passage. It will therefore come as little surprise to hear that, having grown up without being initiated into this essential morning ritual by my false-teethwearing parents, as an adult I spent hundreds of hours in various dentists’ chairs and have paid more than $60,000 to fix my messed-up choppers.
Please learn from my experience, readers. Toothache is world-stoppingly painful; seeing a dentist can be extraordinarily expensive; and if you happen to fall on hard times, very few states cover dental care for adults on Medicaid, and Medicare doesn’t cover dentistry at all. So, like Patti Smith says, take care of your teeth. Forget last year’s flap over flossing, the most essential ingredient to good oral health is a regular regime of brushing.
To answer the most controversial question first, the ideal brushing moment, in the morning slot, is right after breakfast. (Bedtime remains obvious.) But timing is just the beginning!
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June - July 2017