Cohen: Shiny teeth and RU

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February is Dental Health Month and many people don't know. - Graphic via Brendan Cohen

February is the month for multiple celebrations, such as Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, Black History Month, and a personal favorite amongst some people, Groundhog Day.  February is a month of change as well, with the cold weather of winter starting to become the warmer, more tolerable climate of spring. Believe it or not, there is one more celebration in the month of February that not many people know about, and this celebration actually takes place during the entire month; I’m talking, of course, about Dental Health Month.

Dental Health Month is something that people forget exists, as stated before. I work in the dental field as a small side job, sterilizing instruments and cleaning operatories, but I also have family who work in the field, and they always encourage me to take dental health very seriously; to always floss, brush twice a day, and even use fluoride. I was talking to friends back home about this occasion, and not even one of them had heard about Dental Health Month at all. This made me wonder how many people here at Rowan know about Dental Health Month, so I conducted a small poll. After asking thirty total people, staff, and students, only six people knew about Dental Health Month. 

Dental health is one of the most important aspects of a person’s well-being. I know some people who talk with others, and the person they’re talking to says, “Did you brush your teeth today? Your breath smells.” Ironically their response is “I ate a breath mint.” However, that doesn’t help after a couple of hours. My response to them always is simple and along the lines of “brush your teeth and that won’t happen.” 

Dentists and hygienists worldwide encourage their patients and people worldwide to use proper hygiene. Improper care can lead to cavities, areas on the hard surface of a tooth that are damaged and have begun to decay due to bacteria. I know those can be extremely painful, and to get them treated could be even worse! 

As children, our dentists taught us about proper dental care and how we can avoid cavities and even tooth decay itself, but I’ve noticed a slight trend that might not fit everyone. Once people start to attend college and become fully independent, they forget the reminders of brushing and flossing, and when they come back home, their dentists see multiple cavities that have formed, and the patient wonders why. These situations remind me of the importance of dental care and how people could benefit well. If everyone in college starts a new and better dental care routine, Rowan students’ smiles will shine brighter than the stars in the sky.

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