Health Goes Strong writer Celeste Perron has covered health and wellbeing topics for many magazines including Prevention, Women's Health, Marie Claire, Parentingand Cosmopolitan, where she served as lifestyle director.
CELESTE PERRON: You may have noticed that acing your dental appointments isn't always easy. Personally, I discovered that going beyond the basic trifecta of toothpaste/brush/floss was an easy way to elevate my oral care routine.Here's my advice on putting together a better oral care arsenal:
- You've got to switch to an electric toothbrush, if you haven't already. One dentist I interviewed told me the difference is "night and day" when his patients go electric. Because the bristles on an electric brush move so quickly there's no way manual brushing can compare. I recommend the Oral-B Professional Care 5000.
- Find the right floss for you. There's a whole menu of flosses available now, so ask your dentist which is best for your teeth. I am obsessed with one called Oral-B Super Floss, which has a stiff tip that easily slips under bridges and other hard-to-reach places, plus a thick spongy center strip that really cleans up once you've got it where it needs to be.
- Add some extras.My dentist appointments have been going better since I began regularly using an antibacterial rinse like Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection. It is a simple way to keep plaque and gingivitis under control and keep my breath fresh!
Family Goes Strong contributing writer Karen Springen spent 24 years at Newsweekmagazine. She currently teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and writes for many national publications.
KAREN SPRINGEN:About a third of Americans over 75 wear dentures. I don't want to join their ranks. So I follow the dentist's orders. I don't drink soda. Twice a day I floss and use my Oral-B electric toothbrush. And I pay for the hygienist to clean my teeth three times a year even though my insurance only covers two visits. My teeth could be whiter—OK, much whiter—but my teeth-staining tea- and hot cocoa-drinking habits are hard to break. Keeping my teeth clean and healthy is important to me, so I make sure I take the steps now to keep them healthy for years to come.
A former founding editor of Moremagazine, a frequent contributor to Ladies' Home Journaland Town & Country, and the author of two books, Susan Crandell brings her wisdom and insights regularly to Work, Family, and Health Goes Strong.
SUSAN CRANDELL: When I was a kid, fluoride wasn't widely used, and I floated through college on a sea of soda. By the time I earned my first promotion at work, I already had a mouthful of crowns. One corner of my smile was particularly problematical and by the time my daughter was taking fluoride vitamins, I was having a molar extracted and a bridge constructed to span the gap. That lasted until she got engaged, by which time decay had hollowed out the supporting teeth. Presto: three implants needed, at a cost slightly higher than the car we bought for her to drive to college. I'm grateful to have functional choppers that stand no chance of rotting, but I wish I had paid more attention to good oral care since birth.
These days, I'm a model student of dental hygiene—flossing once or twice daily, using toothpaste that promotes healthy enamel, plus a daily rinse. So far, so good. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to skirt the need for more bionic teeth. When all is said and done, I prefer my own.
Health Goes Strong's "Everyday Dietitian," Robyn Flipse has headed up the nutritional care services division in a large teaching hospital; maintained a private practice as a registered dietitian; taught nutrition courses at three New Jersey colleges; and published dozens of magazine and newsletter article.
ROBYN FLIPSE:Someone once said that the most important people you need in your life to age well are the 3-Ds: A good doctor, a good dentist, and a good dietitian. Since I am a dietitian and follow my own advice, I figured it was worth finding the other two partners to round out my trio. I really lucked out with the dentist I started seeing 20 years ago. Besides providing me with excellent care, we share an interest in organic gardening and hiking, so we always have something to talk about during my twice yearly visits.
My expectation when I see him is that he is going to tell me everything in my mouth looks good and there are no signs of a problem. But if he does identify a problem, I listen carefully to his recommendations and follow them to a tee. That's because I understand it is my job to brush, floss, and otherwise take care of my teeth and gums 363 days of the year and his job on only two. Maintaining my oral health is a critical part, just like nutrition, of maintaining my overall health.
Healthy living tips for the 50+ brought to you by Crest & Oral-B ProHealth For Life.