(BPT) - Adulting is hard — and keeping track of everything that needs to happen and paying for it in the middle of a pandemic is especially challenging. If you’ve been a Scrooge about taking care of your teeth, the ghosts of the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) — the 7,334-member-strong organization that represents root canal specialists known as endodontists who save natural teeth and relieve tooth pain — are here to warn you and perhaps save you from an ill fate.
Ghost of holidays past
A recent survey found that 81% of American adults wish they had taken better care of their natural teeth. More than half wish their parent(s) had instilled better oral hygiene habits when they were younger, and 43% admit that tooth pain or oral health issues negatively affects their productivity or ability to focus.
Oral health involves more than just keeping those pearly whites looking their best. Maintaining good oral health could be an important factor in living your life to the fullest. Poor dental health can lead to overall health issues and can negatively impact mood, confidence, ability to carry out daily tasks, your social life and your love life. In fact, more than a quarter of Americans feel others would find them more attractive and about 1 in 6 feel they would have a more active dating life if they took better care of their teeth.
If you continue down the path of lax oral hygiene, things are not looking good for safely unmasking and kissing that special someone under the mistletoe this holiday season. (To that, we say: “Bah humbug!”)
Ghost of holidays present
Think of the traits that you feel make you more attractive. Wouldn’t you want to keep those traits around for as long as possible? For most adults in the U.S., they feel their natural teeth are a trait that has a significant impact on their attractiveness. Many also believe that, if they were to take better care of their teeth, their self-esteem would improve, and they would have more money due to needing fewer dental exams or procedures. (Ebenezer would like the sound of that!)
Whether you’ve avoided going to a dentist’s or dental specialist’s office during the pandemic due to fear of contracting COVID-19, stress and anxiety, or just feeling that your teeth were less of a priority while masks were mandated, you’re not alone. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans report that increased levels of stress during the pandemic have manifested into teeth grinding (bruxism) or brushing their teeth too hard. And in the era of COVID-19, the AAE is closely monitoring the situation and taking necessary measures to ensure the health of patients, families, endodontists, and dental staff and teams. It is safe to visit your oral care provider during the pandemic, and there’s a Patient Toolkit available with more information about those measures.
Ghost of holidays yet to come
The future is bright with hope! While 39% of American adults plan to avoid sweets this holiday season to avoid painful teeth or tooth issues, 76% intend to prioritize their oral health in 2022. And they’re not just thinking of their own oral health, as nearly 7 in 10 Americans would consider giving a toothbrush (either electric or manual) to someone they know for the holidays. (Bob Cratchit would be proud, don’t you think?)
Looking ahead to the new year, 60% of Americans will have a New Year’s resolution relating to oral health. Their ideas for resolutions include: to brush or floss their teeth more often; to drink fewer sugary drinks, cut back on candy/sweets, or reduce coffee or tea consumption; to improve the appearance of their teeth; or to quit or reduce teeth grinding.
What options do you have to improve your oral health?
If you are due for an oral care appointment, schedule one as soon as possible. If you’re already in pain or are presented with the option to extract an infected tooth at your appointment, we’d encourage you to get a second opinion from an endodontist. Endodontists are specialists in saving teeth, committed to helping you maintain your natural smile for a lifetime. Their advanced training, specialized techniques and superior technologies mean you get the highest quality care with the best result: saving your natural teeth!
AAE President Dr. Alan S. Law has some advice: “Major tooth pain can strike at any time or place, and it’s critically important that patients seek treatment from a skilled dental specialist right away when this happens. AAE’s recently improved online directory can help patients more easily connect with an endodontist in their area when they need relief from tooth pain, to save their natural teeth via root canal treatment, or to receive immediate care for other dental-related emergencies. Endodontists often have more availability than general dentists, so our directory site is an address the public can really count on!”
Now go face unafraid any holiday plans that you’ve made!
Find an endodontist in your area: findmyendodontist.com
Learn more about the benefits of root canal treatment: aae.org/patients
Why see an endodontist? www.aae.org/patients/why-see-an-endodontist/