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Dental Health = Wallet Savings

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My dentist has been nagging *cough* kindly asking me for over a year to start using an electric toothbrush. “Even on your best day, you can’t brush as effectively as an electric toothbrush” he told me repeatedly. “Blah, blah, blah, spend a ton of money you don’t have on a stupid toothbrush” was all I heard.

At my last appointment, he asked why I hadn’t switched despite his advice. “I live on a tight budget. I don’t have a hundred bucks lying around” I said, slightly annoyed at his persistence.

“You know you can buy one at Target for $25? You need to get past your short term financial hang-ups and start considering the long term financial ramifications. Seeing me every six months is great, but there is only so much I can do for you” he said.

Great. Sounds like my dentist has been listening to Dave Ramsey. Now he’s my financial nag.

So, I bought the $25 electric toothbrush after that appointment and started using it exactly as he instructed. Sure, the thing sounds like I’m driving a dirt bike through my bedroom at 4 a.m., but it’s what the doctor ordered.

At my appointment yesterday, I decided NOT to tell him about my fancy toothbrush splurge.

He sat in his chair, pulled his tool table beside me, and asked me to open wide. I did and he leaned in, holding his metal objects of torture *cough* I mean, his dental tools. There was a pause and then he grabbed my chin (a little harshly I might add), twisting my face from side to side while inspecting my teeth. He threw his arms up into the air like a champion boxer and chanted, “VICTORY!”

So much for him not noticing.

My teeth and gums got a sparkling clean bill of health yesterday.

It’s easy to go the cheap route when it comes to our health – especially in the short term. But try to consider long term consequences BEFORE you ignore your doctor. I’m not saying you must buy an electric toothbrush or suffer the financial perils of bad teeth. What I am saying is, don’t ignore the advice of those who went to school a heck of a lot longer than you did.

Maybe now, I’ll only fund my dentist’s kid’s college fund and not his grandchildren’s too.


12 Comments

  • Reply ellen |

    He’s right, of course. That $100.00 toothbrush totally changed my life – or at least keeps my complicated dental status from getting any worse for literally years!

  • Reply Wren |

    I’ve been using the battery-operated toothbrushes for several years now, and I can surely feel the difference. Now we’ve upgraded our brushes to the Oral-B battery ones, which work even better. Our teeth are happy, and our bank accounts are appreciative that all our money doesn’t have to go to the dentist now. Some still does, as like Ellen we have slightly complicated dental issues, but cleaner teeth and healthy gums are not in that list.

  • Reply Jen |

    Yay!! Due to some inherently weak teeth – my dentist tells me I take very good care of them even I have cavitites, etc. – I can tell you that anything beyond a filling is EXPENSIVE. I’ve had a root canal and implants. Even with dentail insurance I am thousands out-of-pocket. Right now, my only debt is my mortgage… and my dental bill :/

    So, yes, the money you just spent is going to help you in the long run!

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget |

    SO I asked for a sonicare toothbrush for christmas like 3 years ago. My husband uses a regular toothbrush and he only brushes for like 20-30 seconds max. Yet, me? cavities every sngle time I visit the dentist. Him? Never had a cavity in his life. My dentist says it’s also hereditary.
    I give up.

  • Reply Carrie |

    I ignored my periodontist’s advice to purchase an electric toothbrush – until he presented me with an estimate of what it would cost to fix the problems with my teeth and gums. Turns out the $100 toothbrush was ALOT more affordable than the $8,000 (yes, that would be three zero’s before the decimal point) of surgery and implants. Eight years later and he still comments on what a difference my home-care has made for the health of my mouth!

  • Reply Kim |

    Ohhh that’s so funny he noticed! Hubby put off getting an annoying tooth fixed, so instead of it being $110 for a cavity, it’s $370!

  • Reply Elizabeth |

    I have 4 kids and I brush my 12 year old’s teeth with an electric toothbrush due to his disabilities. He has the best dental visits of all of the kids even though I can’t brush for as long as I’d like before he gags & can’t use anything but toddler toothpaste since he has trouble spitting. I am so thankful that a relatively cheap device can save him so much trouble. We use a Crayola (Reach) because it has the smallest head that I can find.

    Electric really is better — I don’t know why I don’t have everyone else in the house use them!

  • Reply Beks |

    Dee – It’s by OralB and they have it at Target for $25. Shortly after I purchased it, Target released their own brand for $19.99 – but it’s a bit louder. My husband uses it and I’d recommend spending the extra $5 for a little extra quiet. The Target brand replacement heads work for both.

  • Reply Carol |

    As someone who has no dental insurance, but never neglects her teeth, I swear by the Oral-B electric toothbrush and a very inexpensive dental tool you can pick up at places like CVS, called a Rubber Tip. My Oral-B is quite old, maybe 7 or 8 yrs and still working just fine, so I feel it was a good investment. The Rubber Tip is just a few dollars and if you use it every day, your gums will stay nice and healthy! Good oral hygiene can make those 6 month check ups your only two visits per year for quite a while… and that is money in the bank!

  • Reply Amy P |

    You’re really lucky that your dentist lets you get away with every 6-month visits. When I was in the pregnancy/breastfeeding mode, my dentist had me coming in every three or four months, and I totally needed it. There’s something about having kids that’s really hard on teeth.

  • Reply Slinky |

    Huh. My dentist just gives me stuff like that if I need it so much. Personally, electric toothbrushes give me a headache from all the vibrating.

    Elizabeth – have you tried a water flosser? That would help a lot with the rinsing (and flossing). As far as the gagging, is it the brushing or the toothpaste that’s causing it? Personally, too much toothpaste makes me gag (it’s a texture thing), so I use a bit less than most people and sometimes stop to rinse.

So, what do you think ?