Guest Blogger - Krystal, our NCOHF Marketing Intern!

At the age of nine my two permanent front teeth were damaged during a car wreck. I remember being in the back seat of my parents car chewing on one of my hair bows, and the next thing I knew, my mother slammed on the breaks causing me to bite down on the barrette! The impact killed the nerves in my gums that supported my teeth, and they stopped growing. I had to have oral surgery because there was so much nerve damage. They pulled out my two permanent front teeth, leaving me with two big open spaces at the front of my mouth. At school, the other kids were cruel. I was teased and called “snag a tooth” for the remainder of the year. That summer, my mom saved enough money and was able to afford partials for me. Unfortunately, my dentist said my mouth was still growing so it would be a waste of money to get partials and have to redo them each year! My world was at a standstill. People don’t realize how much you depend on the appearance of your mouth, even at a young age. I didn’t like to smile at all and was very sad. Finally, my dentist came up with the idea of braces. He would attach two teeth to my braces and glue the braces to my surrounding teeth. It took a while to get used to that. I had to eat soft foods because there was nothing holding the teeth in place, but the wire from the braces. Still, I was so happy! At least, I would not have a big gap in my smile. This worked for about six years until I could finally get partials. One day, I plan on getting permanent implants, but until then I will enjoy my partials.

At a young age, I realized the importance of oral health. I lost two teeth, and I did not want to ruin the rest of the teeth that I had. At the National Children's Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy, I have learned a lot about oral health. Did you know that the #1 chronic childhood disease is tooth decay? You can prevent tooth decay by practicing good oral health habits. America's ToothFairy provides education to children and parents with the focus on eliminating this childhood epidemic.

I have also learned some helpful oral health tips! A few of my favorite ones come from Tips from America's ToothFairy. My first favorite tip is “invest in a new toothbrush at least every three months and after every illness to avoid lingering bacteria and germs.” This has helped me a lot. At first, I used to wonder why my colds would last so long or they would come right back; it was because I kept using the same brush! My other favorite tip is “Check out products with xylitol as an alternative to sugar-laden sweets.” I find this especially useful because I am a gum chewer and there are gums with xylitol which are better for your teeth.

Do your teeth a favor and take good care of them! They are very important. Your smile is the first thing people notice about you. Beginning at a young age, we need to practice good oral health behaviors at a young age to prevent oral health problems and protect our smiles. These oral health problems could affect a job offer, relationship and your confidence. Follow the tips from America's ToothFairy for a healthy smile!

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America's ToothFairy: National Children's Oral Health Foundation

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