My New Dental Routine + Basic Dentist Tips
I wish it would embarrass me to say this, but it's not, since I believe in sharing this for the greater good of mankind (I tried to feel shame, it didn't happen): I used to only brush my teeth once a day and that was it. #InsertHorror. That was the one step that comprised my entire dental routine. No bedtime brushing, no flossing, no dental checkups, no scaling. Brush once a day, period.
When I went for my teeth whitening at Dr. Michael's Dental Clinic, my teeth first got checked out fully and thanks to those big oral cameras they had, I could see what my mouth looked like from inside and believe me when I say this: I died (almost).
I thought my teeth were a bit stained from the front, which is why I wanted a cleaning too, but seeing them from inside - IT.WAS.INSANE. I have no rationale for why I didn't stare down my own mouth all these years and no justification for my behavior. If you judge me, I'll throw a tomato at you (lovingly, but I'll still throw).
I had honestly expected Dr. Lina to send me back (because I was also getting whitening done and from what I'd seen my teeth looked like something out of the Zombie Apocalypse) but she told me that somehow despite not having focused on my teeth at all, the foundations of my teeth were great and I had next to no cavities (she really was the best).
So the teeth cleaning happened first. I had this done once in my life 5 years ago so I knew what to expect (they hadn't shown me my mouth with oral cameras so I never knew what a nightmare it can be when your teeth haven't been cleaned in years). The cleaning itself was short, painless and we were done in under 30 minutes. I had experienced some sensitivity the last time I got it done, this time there was nothing.
Then I got to see what my teeth looked like post-cleaning and they looked SO squeaky clean, I had an urgent revision of life goals and decided that I would surgically attach a toothbrush to myself - there was no way they'd go back to looking like a Halloween nightware ever again.
So I asked Dr. Lina the most simplest of questions about dental hygiene which she lovingly answered (no judgments) with lots of details. I came back home with white teeth but also with a commitment to take care of them the way that I was meant to.
I love, love, love that I now have a dental routine in place that I am executing with a passion and not as an obligation. I went shopping with Nabeel that weekend and we bought a bunch of stuff as our dental ammo and put a plan in place for the both of us.
My Dental Routine & Plans (Dr. Lina Approved)
1. Buy an electrical toothbrush. An electrical toothbrush will always clean better than a manual one. Both Nabeel and I bought the Oral-B battery powered ones. The reason why we didn't get the rechargeable brush was because I already have a Clarisonic that requires charging and when it dies, I get lazy and stop using it for a few days. I got a bunch of batteries so I can pop a new one in when one runs out (just learning from my mistakes, you can of course get any of the brushes). There were many price brackets but we got the AED 69 one because we didn't want to spend too much right now.
Dr. Lina's tip: Dr. Lina recommended the Oral-B Smart Guide mechanical brush which tells you how long to brush each quadrant of your mouth (see here). I'll probably get this someday. She mentioned that the Braun HQ in Jumeirah may have a 10% discount, you could perhaps check that out? Also, she suggested that if you want to invest in an expensive electrical toothbrush, you could get one piece and two brush-heads and share with your spouse or sibling - you'd just need to swap out the heads everytime you use.
2. Brush twice a day. Wow. Finally. I've been brushing every morning and every night and it's truly changed my life. For realz. Toothpaste gives covearge for about 10-12 hours so doing a second round at night is mandatory (now I know).
Dr. Lina's tip: Make sure you get the teeth right at the back. This is the spot most people miss and therefore have issues with.
3. Brush for a full two minutes. I once tried to brush my mouth for two full minutes and thought I'd aged by five years. It just wouldn't end. I asked Dr. Lina if it could be less. she said no. But she gave me a fantastic tip which has me happily brushing everyday for 2 minutes (twice) and I don't even feel it.
Dr. Lina's tip: Imagine your mouth divided into four quadrants. Upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant and you won't even know it. I tried this and it's SO TRUE, you guys. I also sometimes check Snapchat while brushing my teeth and it's over before I know it.
4. Floss every night. Dr. Lina said to floss, floss, floss and therefore I floss, floss, floss. Every night I'll floss before brushing. It started off very wonky but now I've gotten the hang of it and am done in about 30 seconds.
Dr. Lina's tip: Get waxed floss, it's easier to use.
5. Mouthwash twice a week. Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing at night (I tried to get Dr. Lina to say yes to this but she firmly said no). Now that I'm in the habit of brushing, I wouldn't have it any other way.
6. Dental check-up every 6 months. I've already set two reminders on my phone for a 6-monthly and yearly checkup. A consultation with Dr. Lina is only about AED 280 which split up over a year is only AED 46 per month. That's nothing when it comes to good dental hygiene and catching issues early (which can later cost you thousands of dirhams). Both Nabeel and I will happily go (categorize as a date?).
Important Points About Teeth Cleaning & Dental Checkups
* Pregnant women are highly recommended to get their teeth cleaned (and other dental checkups) because of a higher level of hormonal change that is happening during the pregnancy and may result in gum disease. Pregnant women are more susceptible to things like gum disease and tooth decay which if not treated timely can cause issues for the mother and baby.
* Dental checkups capture issues before they get big and/or painful. Regular visits will save you thousands of dirhams later correcting things which may have never happened.
* With children, it's highly recommended to take them to the dentist when the first tooth comes in. The dentist will give you tips on baby teeth cleaning, what to feed and help you manage not just the child's teeth but diet as well.
* Take your children along with you on your dental checkups so they get used to this as a regular part of their health routine and aren't intimidated by it.
Your first trip to the dentist:
1. Don't be embarrassed. Read my comments here on Dr. Lina to know how a kind doctor will help you out, no matter how terrible your teeth are. It's never too late to start so go now no matter how old you are or how bad your teeth are.
2. You'll get a full dental checkup to see the health of your gums, teeth, jawbone. X-rays may be involved and depending on your condition, you'll be offered tips for your dental hygiene and a treatment plan.
If there's one thing I'm going to push you real hard about, it's to fix your dental hygiene if it was anything like mine. And trust someone who's gone from hurriedly brushing once a day to happily brushing twice a day, for a full two minutes each time, and flossing on top as well. And there's no way to feel the passion for this until you get your mouth checked out (those oral cameras will fix you right up). Go to a dentist, get a full scan and learn about this part of your body which works so much (I eat all the time) and needs attention.
It's been a month since I got my teeth cleaned. I haven't missed a single day or night of my dental hygiene. Do this for yourself.
Details about Dr. Michael's Dental Clinic
Where: Dr. Michael's Dental Clinic. They have lots of branches. I went to the newly opened one in Dubai Healthcare City and loved it. It has a metro station right in front of it if you're interested.
Doctor: Dr. Lina Shaar
Procedure: Teeth Cleaning/Scaling
Duration: 30 mins - 1 hour
Cost: AED 600 for teeth scaling and polishing
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+ I wrote about my entire teeth whitening process here, check it out to understand the procedure and to see sexy pictures of me with dental openers in my mouth.