Save money on the dentist – Look after your teeth properly!


teethI don’t do regrets. Regret is so pointless. But now and again I find myself wishing I’d taken better care of my teeth.

It’s all Mr Sockett’s fault, my childhood dentist who terrorised my little brother and I back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Back in those days dentistry was fairly brutal anyway, compared to today. But he made it much worse than it needed to be, not letting our mum come into the surgery with us and shouting at us when we cried. The whole thing left me with a lifetime’s hatred of having my teeth messed about with.

When I left home at eighteen I stupidly resolved never to go to the dentist again. And I didn’t until twelve years later, when I was in such pain I gave in. After an intensive clean and a whole load of fillings, I was back on track. But the damage I caused through years of neglect mean my teeth are nowhere near as nice as they might otherwise have been.

My current dentist is a lovely man, kind and gentle, and he’s told me exactly how to look after my teeth properly. If I’d found someone like him earlier, dental care would have cost me a lot less over the decades!

Here’s what he says:

  • clean your teeth at least twice a day, taking care to tackle every nook and cranny
  • use an electric toothbrush and don’t brush too hard
  • change your toothbrush head regularly
  • use Tipos every day, those little inter-dental brushes that you poke into the gaps between your teeth
  • use floss every day
  • use a good mouthwash (he recommends Listerine and Peroxyl) and change them every month – apparently your mouth flora become immune to mouthwash fairly quickly so changing brands means it stays effective and kills off the nasties
  • eat less sugar, drink less coffee, tea and red wine (I can’t stand wine so I’m safe from that one!)

If you want to avoid nasty shocks you can always buy a monthly ‘dental plan’, an insurance product that spreads the cost.

And if you need a bit of inspiration, try the lovely Pam Ayres’ hilarious poem on the subject. Thanks Pam!

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

I wish I’d been that much more willin’
When I had more tooth there than fillin’
To give up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers,
And to buy something else with me shillin’.

When I think of the lollies I licked
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My mother, she told me no end,
‘If you got a tooth, you got a friend.’
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin’
And pokin’ and fussin’
Didn’t seem worth the time – I could bite!

If I’d known I was paving the way
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fillin’s,
Injections and drillin’s,
I’d have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lie in the old dentist’s chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine
In these molars of mine.
‘Two amalgam,’ he’ll say, ‘for in there.’

How I laughed at my mother’s false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath.
But now comes the reckonin’
It’s methey are beckonin’
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.


About Author

I’m Kate. I live just outside Brighton, high up on the South Downs, with my husband Tony and our three cats. I’m dedicated to saving money, spending less, buying wisely, cutting waste, re-using, recycling, re-purposing and generating cash from the stuff I no longer want.

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