I was at Five Guys Burgers and Fries with two of my daughters Lizzy (age 3) and Becky (age 6). They have unshelled peanuts to eat while you are waiting for your hamburgers. So I got some peanuts for the kids, some ketchup for our fries, and some drinks. I then sat down with the girls.

I started shelling some peanuts then I watched my daughter Lizzy dip an unshelled peanut into the ketchup, take a bite, and start chewing. Being the super-dad that I am, I watched. After a few seconds of her chewing I looked at her and said, “Lizzy, is that yucky?” She nodded her head. I asked, “Would you like to spit it out?” She nodded her head and spit the shells out of her mouth into a napkin I provided. After that, she started smashing the unshelled peanuts on the table to get to the peanuts out. It was pretty messy.

Learn to Take Care of Your Teeth

Just Like Lizzy had to learn that shelling peanuts was better than eating the shell, learning to take care of your teeth is something that we all need to learn. It is not something that comes naturally and it is not intuitive. Personal oral care is something we have to learn, then practice, then implement daily, morning and night. If we can model effective, consistent habits for our family, they’ll be that much more likely to emulate our responsible oral care practices.

Your Meridian Family Dentist

As a family dentist in Meridian, I regularly see patients that have ten, twenty, even up to fifty thousand dollars of dental work done in their mouths. More often than not, this expensive work is not being taken care of very well at home. 

I often find it’s helpful to make the following analogy: just like how you would park your Ferrari in a garage, change the oil regularly, and keep up with the regular maintenance to make sure your car is running at peak performance, there are steps you need to take to ensure that your oral health and existing dental work last as long as possible.

Take-Home Tips

The basics, like brushing and flossing are by far the easiest and most common ways to do this. Using a water pik or other flossing device also helps. Then it comes down to what type of dental work you’ve had and the specific instructions you were given to care for yourself. By following your local dentist’s instructions regularly, you’ll not only enjoy your smile a whole lot longer, but you’ll have a healthier mouth!

Here are a few take-home tips and tricks to ensure that you and your family employ proper oral care habits to avoid expensive dental work down the road:

  • Brush a minimum of twice a day. The best time is after meals. 
  • Lightly brush your teeth and gums. Brushing harshly bends the tips of the bristles and, in turn, will fail to scrape plaque off your teeth.
  • Brush for two or three minutes total — no exceptions!
  • Limit your intake of soft drinks and sugary foods. Bacteria in plaque turns sugars into acids, which erode your teeth.
  • Floss daily. Go slowly and gently. 
  • Don’t use your teeth for anything besides chewing — they aren’t bottle openers or nut crackers!
  • See your local family dentist (that’s us!) for regular dental check-ups. 

Contact your Meridian family dentist at Peterson Family Dentistry to schedule your next teeth cleaning. We’d love to hear from you!