There’s an expression for when you’ve got something handled, taken care of, or under control: we sometimes say it’s “in the bag.” Some famous fictional characters have bags. Santa has a bag of toys (I wish I had that bag). Mary Poppins had just about everything under the sun in her carpetbag. That miraculous bag had the power to heal others drawing from it a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
When I say, “it’s in the bag” there’s no way I can deliver on that kind of wonderful mystery or magical delight. But, I still feel that it’s a purposeful expression and I literally deliver critically healthful materials to my patients in a bag every day.
So, what’s in the bag? It’s pretty simple:
• 1. A tooth brush
• 2. A tube of toothpaste
• 3. Floss
• 4. Return appointment card
These are the four items that are in the bag and are given out to everyone I see every day at my office. If we use these items in our normal daily routine, then we would have fewer instances of tooth decay and infected teeth. A healthy diet also plays an important role in good oral health. With that said, you have to know how to use the items in the bag properly.
Believe it or not, you can apply too much toothpaste to the toothbrush. A pea-size amount is all you need … ever. When the bristles on the toothbrush fray and bend down instead of stand up then it’s time to get a new toothbrush. If you never use the dental floss then you can allow small particles of food to settle in between and behind your teeth after eating. That unflossed food breaks down and ferments causing an odor that is unpleasant and sometimes offensive to others and creates an unhealthy oral environment that can initiate bone loss.
Also, you need to visit your friendly dentist every six months. As good as we are at brushing away plaque, we will never be able to remove it all on our own. A little help by the dental hygienist goes a long way in keeping our teeth in tip-top shape. Parents can help model these good habits to their children as they create a home with healthy and beautiful white smiles.
So, when I think about it, the things that I put in the bag can help us to take care of our teeth, handle it, and keep things under control. And as we use them we can say with confidence: It’s in the bag!
By Dr. Paul Lawrence, DDS, McKinney Smiles