Tips For Adulthood: Five Reasons You Should Go To The Dentist

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

One of the dirty secrets of adulthood is that you get cavities. When you’re a kid, you think cavities are just for children because you eat too many sweets. But then you you grow up and realize that – nope – you can still get new cavities or have to refill the ones from childhood.


Dentistry is a subject near and dear to my heart. I’m over on today talking about why government-sponsored dentistry in the U.K. is – IMHO – such a nightmare. (Subtitle: “Why The British Have Bad Teeth.”) Have a look.

But in the meantime, here are five reasons why it’s important to see your dentist regularly:

1. It’s Cheaper Than Therapy. Let’s face it. Most of us spend some portion of our time “in the chair” really “on the couch.” And why not? Dentists are such gentle, convivial people. I had one dentist in Chicago who was so comfortable with his patients that he told me he gave one guy advice on getting a vasectomy. I recently saw my own dentist the day my boiler broke and he allowed me to just sit there and swear – literally – for like five minutes. Later, when he was drilling my teeth he said, “Well, as bad as this feels, remember that you’re more upset with your boiler man than me. I’m probably only like 10th on your list of people you hate right now.” (Shame about all that alleged depression/suicide stuff among dentists, but it would appear that those stories are exaggerated.)

2. Tooth Decay is On the Rise. Despite all that fluoridated water, tooth decay is actually on the rise, particularly among the middle-aged and older. The reason? An increased reliance on medications for heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, etc., many of which cause drymouth, which in turn rots your teeth.

3. You’re Likely to Earn More. According to a study called The Economic Value of Teeth, there exists a mild “beauty premium” for having straight, white teeth. (At least if you’re female and not very wealthy). (Hat Tip: Freakonomics.)

4. You get free stuff. (At least in the U.S.) And everybody likes that. Just ask Chris Anderson.

5. You Don’t Want To Have British Teeth. It’s a cliché for Americans to mock Brits for their poor oral hygiene, just as they in turn make fun of us for obsessing about our pearly whites. But – as with most stereotypes – there’s some truth on both sides. And much as I tend to side with my British friends on many things, on this one I’ll proudly call myself American. See my article.

Bizarre, fascinating fact: A disproportionate number of dentists are named Dennis. Really. (Again, Hat Tip: Freakonomics.)


While you’re over at, have a look at my post on Hillary Clinton threatening to cut off intelligence-sharing with Britain over a high-profile torture case.

Image: Recommended by Dentists by Guendal via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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14 Responses to Tips For Adulthood: Five Reasons You Should Go To The Dentist

  1. […] original here: Tips For Adulthood: Five Reasons You Should Go To The Dentist Share and […]

  2. Matt says:


    Yes, all those medications we now take (by age 65 an average of 5 a day in the U.S.) almost all dry us out. As someone who started much earlier than that (late 20’s to late 40’s) on 5 different types of psych medication- (that worked out to 12-15 pills a day) now down to a much more benign 2 meds a day, I am well aware of it. Yes, it dries you out and this is a now well known effect. I must spend several thousand a year on teeth repair and replacement each year. There is also an effective prescription remedy for savage dry mouth sold by its manufacturer under the suggestive name “salagen.” It may be in generic now in the US because it has been available many years. Do brush and floss twice a day too. And note very carefully: if you have dry mouth due to your pharmaceuticals, you almost certainly have dry eyes. Get over the counter eye drops and use them 8 times a day or you will lose vision prematurely too! And be very sure to get that dehumidifier for those many hours in the bedroom. Finally, most of these psychiatric and some other pills also dry out your intestines (leads to constipation) and male sexual firing up (for males get viagra, levitra, etc.) Good luck!

  3. Latoya Falso says:

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  4. Roxie Socci says:

    Thanks for a great post. Love this website 🙂 Btw, your site looks a little wierd in opera browser. Works fine in firefox. Dentist Kent WA

  5. Interesting info !! I am planning to write a website on the best dentists and your information is very welcome.

  6. […] I finally took the plunge and went to see a specialist. (I also finally broke down and went to see the dentist about a different but equally persistent problem I’ve been having with my […]

  7. […] I finally took the plunge and went to see a specialist. (I also finally broke down and went to see the dentist about a different but equally persistent problem I’ve been having with my […]

  8. Son P Sear says:

    Really insightful – always spread your message. Looking forward to an update. For too long now have I had the need to start my personal blog. Suppose if I wait any longer I’ll never ever do it. I’ll be sure to add you to my Blogroll. Many thanks!!

  9. […] I finally took the plunge and went to see a specialist. (I also finally broke down and went to see the dentist about a different but equally persistent problem I’ve been having with my […]

  10. Good luck getting people behind this one.  Though you make some VERY fascinating points, youre going to have to do more than bring up a few things that may be different than what weve already heard.  What are trying to say here?  What do you want us to think?  It seems like you cant really get behind a unique thought.  Anyway, thats just my opinion.

  11. Wow, that is really nice info, thanks.

  12. Shelia Tayo says:

    I love this site. Maybe you could let me know how I can subscribing with it? I feel I should let you know I found your website through Lycos.

  13. i am traveling between , reading this on my PDA. Will read it in full when I get back, and I will also post a backlink on my website. Thanks. London,UK

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