A Candy Lover’s Guide to Braving the Dentist
I can’t think of any single thing in life that started out so scary and has grown to be so neutral as the experience of going to the dentist. I remember considering it absolute torture as a kid, getting poked and prodded at, accidentally swallowing fluoride and then getting sick, and finally getting that lollypop at the end, which I couldn’t even eat until the fluoride had worn off. Bittersweet. After experiencing all kinds of dental procedures, from cavities to crowns to root canals, I can now say I go to the dentist bravely, knowing there’s just about nothing I haven’t already been through.
I used to sit down in the dentist’s chair full of shame, knowing the dentist could tell my diet included soda and candy. Now, I feel proud of my teeth because I know I take care of them. That’s not easy though! Here are my tips for all the fellow candy lovers out there who dread a dentist visit.
The biggest thing that makes me feel positive about going to the dentist now? I floss. Every. Single. Day. It hurts like crazy at first but that’s not because flossing inherently is painful—it’s because your gums are infected. After you floss consistently for a week or so, that infection should wind down and flossing will stop hurting. The best part about flossing? I no longer have anxiety about lying to my dentist about flossing, and I never really get cavities anymore because flossing works.
Mix Up Your Soda Routine
I switched to diet soda after a long, cavity-filled childhood of Coke drinking. If you’re also addicted to soda, there are are some lower-sugar alternatives that should lower the guilt factor for you.
Brush Post-Candy, Or Sub Candy for Better Snacks
You can still eat sugary candy and have healthy teeth (no promises though), but you have to go about it sensibly. If you’re downing gummy bears regularly, brush your teeth a few minutes after eating them so you don’t get that gross, sugary layer forming on your teeth. (You know that’s the taste of cavities forming!) If you really feel a deep, Catholic-level guilt about how much sugar you’re eating, start subbing out your snacks for more wholesome fixes for your sweet tooth. I’d also suggest a bowl of cereal instead of a candy bar. Cereal is rich in vitamins and more likely to contain complex carbohydrates instead of the simple kind.
Once you’re doing things right, that sense of dread and guilt just vanishes. It’s one of the best things about growing up! Remember: Your dentist isn’t as judgmental as you fear, and you’re not as bad as you think. As long as you go to the dentist every six months, you and your mouth are going to make it.