Love bites

305

I have a girlfriend here at school that I really love. She’s amazing in so many ways. She’s nearly flawless–but she’s not completely flawless.

This is going to sound terribly shallow, but I promise that I don’t mean it in that way. See, the problem is my girlfriend’s teeth. She doesn’t take good care of them. It’s not just that they don’t look great: I’m also concerned with her long-term dental health. Plus, to be honest, her breath isn’t very good. How can I broach this subject with her?

Speaking to others about cosmetic and health decisions is a risky business, even (or perhaps especially) when the people in question are our loved ones. While there can be no doubt that your girlfriend, like all of us, should be caring for her teeth, there’s no guarantee that she’ll take your advice in the right way.

We should all care for our teeth, of course. At home, that means brushing and flossing regularly. It also means scheduling dentist appointments, say experts in orthodontists in Newark and New Brunswick, New Jersey. There are some things we simply can’t do ourselves to protect our teeth. Dentists have the tools it takes to do serious cleaning, and specialists like orthodontists may be necessary for teeth and bite issues that require removable appliances and other corrective measures, say specialists at Keating Dental Arts, a dental lab specializing in such products.

And ignoring the necessary care could cost your girlfriend, both in terms of her dental health and in terms of financial consequences. Avoiding regular care could lead to more serious–and more costly–problems.

(To be fair to your girlfriend, she isn’t the only one with this problem. Four in 10 Americans don’t floss, and 30% of us don’t brush our teeth enough.)

But these are your girlfriend’s teeth, not yours. And the last thing you want to do is to come across as concerned about shallow things like their appearance. You need to find a way to frame this issue as what it is: a genuine concern for her health. Perhaps you can start the discussion before your next dentist’s appointment, by asking her when her next one is–if she says she isn’t planning to go, emphasize the health-related points made above. Discussing regular care is tougher, but you need to be honest and communicate with your girlfriend. Tell her clearly that you think she should care for her teeth more, and just be sure to emphasize the health benefits more than the cosmetic ones.

“I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone’s teeth get cleaner?” — Frank Zappa

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