I may be the only person around who actually loves Mondays! I look forward to it all weekend, because I go to school on Mondays. Okay, I’m not actually a student, but I go visit and help in all of my kids’ classrooms every week. I start in 9th grade Ancient History. Why wasn’t I taught history this way (or maybe I should ask why I didn’t pay attention!)? It’s fascinating! When I told Josh, one of my 14 year olds, that I was going to spend Monday mornings in his class, he exclaimed, “When I’m your age, I’m never going back to school!”. Well, when he’s my age he might change his mind. Just listen to what I learned this week!
His teacher was talking about Ancient Egypt, and said that historians have never found evidence that Egypt had a police force or written laws. How in the world did they keep the peace?? Well, he said they governed themselves through customs. Okay, I may be losing you here, but I promise I have a point! One of the students asked him to define custom, and he came up with an impressive definition…that I can’t remember. Basically, it’s something that people commonly do, but it’s not because there is a law to tell them to do it.
He gave the example of Halloween. He asked if it was a holiday. The class was divided – some said yes and some said no. Those saying no were right – it is not a “holiday”, because a holiday is defined as a legal holiday recognized by our government. Halloween is a custom. We all celebrate it on October 31st, we decorate in orange and black, we go trick or treating, we go to scary haunted houses (I don’t particularly like this part of the custom), but no one has told us this is what we should do or when we should do it. Some interesting facts he shared – Halloween is second, behind Christmas, for the amount of decorations and the amount of money people spend. All for a custom. He asked the class what happens in Utah when Halloween falls on a Sunday. We all knew the answer – everyone trick or treats on Saturday. No one tells us to do it, we just know that’s what we will all do. It’s a long-standing custom.
So that got me thinking. What other things do we do that are just customs? Are there things in dentistry that are customs that perhaps aren’t serving us well anymore? I thought of a few:
- If it aint broke, don’t fix it. This is a custom we see a lot, and it makes me sad! When it does break, it will typically cost twice as much to fix it, and it will most likely hurt. If you have a tooth that has chipped or sensitive, let’s fix it now to save you trouble and money!
- I’m too old to do anything about my smile. I just heard this today again! I completely disagree. We have countless patients that have finally had their smiles done that say, “I wish I hadn’t waited so long to do this!” You are never too old to smile and feel better about yourself!
- I hate to floss, so I just won’t bother. I know, I know. The old floss lecture. Well, that’s not what I’m going to talk about! There are other ways to clean between your teeth that don’t involve a little string. My favorite – a shower flosser. It hooks right onto your shower head and you clean your teeth while you are in the shower. You can buy them at our office. I’ve had people buy them for their family for Christmas presents – at a low $25, this is a winner!
- There’s no need to visit the dentist every 6 months. I talked about our 40 point Dental Physical last week, and can’t believe what we found again today. I found a small nodule in the neck of a patient that is suspicious. This came on the heels of a sad story. A family friend that is a dentist is dying of cancer. It started out in his neck area. He said he wishes he had visited a dentist himself and had an oral cancer screening done, because this would have been found earlier, and perhaps he could have been cured. Come see us every 6 months. I promise you will have an enjoyable time, and we can make sure we are doing our part to keep you healthy for years to come.
Hopefully you learned a thing or two – about dentistry, or maybe just about Ancient Egypt and Halloween! Enjoy the non-holiday this week, and be smart about the candy. Try to limit the sticky stuff and candy they suck on for a long time – those are the two that damage teeth the most. My kids are trading in their candy for legos and money this year. I will gladly take it off of their hands! Be safe and have a happy Halloween!
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen