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Note from Smiles Dental: Having been kids once ourselves, we understand that our patients may not always have the best oral health practices. For some people, there is a specific moment in their lives, when dental health becomes important. When this point is reached, the patient begins to practice positive dental health habits for the rest of his or her lifetime. This blog is the story of three individuals and their dental “aha moments.” Thanks for reading!

This first section below was written by Lauren. Lauren is in her early 20s, a college graduate and an avid reader. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with close friends and family:

No one really likes to floss, especially as a kid. It takes a special kind of coordination, and it usually makes your mouth hurt. I was certainly never going to floss my teeth. No matter that by not flossing I was missing cleaning 35 percent of my tooth surface; I didn’t make the connection after getting two different cavities between my teeth. Nope, I just wasn’t going to floss. I was too busy, too uncoordinated, and really, it just didn’t matter to me.

I did go regularly to the dentist from the time my first few teeth came in. My mom made sure to schedule my cleanings every six months, and we always received fluoride treatments and sealants. It was at one of these dental appointments that I had my “aha moment.”

My hygienist had finished scraping and polishing my teeth and was moving to the flossing when she stopped and picked up a mirror. She handed the mirror to me so I could see what she was doing and I panicked when I saw blood coming from my lower gums.

The hygienist calmly explained that my gums were bleeding because I was not flossing enough. When she asked me how much I floss, I had to sheepishly admit that I usually don’t (which really meant I hadn’t ever). Then, I was patiently shown how to properly floss and was given a brand new floss pack to take home!

Since that day I have flossed religiously. The amazing thing is, my gums have never again bled while flossing. My mouth feels cleaner, my breath is fresher, and my gums are healthier with a daily flossing routine.

Now, I stick to flossing at night, before bed. When I accidentally skip a night of flossing, I can feel the difference the next day. Your aha moment may come when you are young or older. I can tell you from experience that realizing the importance of your dental health will change your life.

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This next section below was written by Sara. Sara is also in her 20s, a college graduate and a graphic designer. She is creative and loves animals, especially cats.

When I was younger, I used to love staying with my grandparents for the weekend, as most kids do. My grandma was my favorite person in the whole world. She would take me shopping, to the movies; and of course, she always made yummy treats. One thing that sticks out in my mind the most about my grandmother is that she used to value her dental care, and it was important to her that I did, as well.

So, as much as I never wanted to brush my teeth at night when I was young, you can bet that it was a mandatory task before bedtime. She used to say, “If you don’t brush your teeth, they’ll be wearing sweaters all night!”

I never really thought much about it until one night I weaseled my way out of brushing my teeth. I can’t remember what caused this to be the case, but I’d like to think that my grandma knew I was old enough to figure things out on my own. I remember lying in bed that night when all of a sudden, I ran my tongue over the front of my teeth and it hit me — my teeth did feel like they were wearing sweaters!

My grandma was right and I immediately thought my teeth felt gross; I hated the thought of having teeth covered in fuzz. I jumped out of bed and brushed my teeth. This experience sticks out in my mind whenever I think of my dental care or am staying with my grandma. It was definitely an aha moment for me and my mouth.

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This final section was written by Monique. Monique is a busy mom of two who also takes care of her special needs nephew, who lives with her family. She balances busy schedules while working a full-time job.

I’ve always been a great brusher, and I have been blessed with great oral health. Flossing, on the other hand, has not always been a strong habit for me. I would go in spurts of being really diligent (five to seven nights per week) and then slack off (three times per week). Now that I am over 40, the slacking off has become more noticeable when my hygienist checks my pocket depths of my gums. I had a few areas that we needed to watch and pay special attention to.

It was after one of these routine dental visits that I decided I needed to do a great job flossing every day. I found some tools to help me that I felt are important to share:

1. I have flossers in my car and in my purse. These are great to have around to do a quick flossing when you feel something between your teeth.

2. I found a couple of floss types and brands that I love. I have tight teeth, so when the floss frays, it drive me nuts. I found a few that I really like and work well for me.

3. I use an electric toothbrush with “floss action,” as well.

As I get older, dental health is increasingly more important to maintain. I have found that brushing and flossing regularly have helped keep my teeth healthy and my mouth happy.