There’s no limit to what Americans will do for the perfect smile – no spending limit, at least. In 2006, the average cosmetic dental patient spent $5,460 dollars on fixing their teeth while others paid well over $20,000. Invisible, removable aligners were purchased for $10,000, one-visit crowns went for $1,500 and gummy smiles were un-gummed for $300 dollars a tooth (there are 30 in your mouth). Checks were written, cards were swiped, gloves were pulled on and dentists throughout the country raked in the money.
For the less-wealthy Americans, whitening their pearly whites simply wasn’t doable in the United States, and so they traveled to Mexico, where dental work is about four times cheaper. They flocked from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii to the numerous border towns, now bursting with inexpensive dentists, and the dentists, in turn, moved their offices a little closer to the United States line, making travel a little more convenient.
But what are you to do? You have neither the cash nor the passport to fix your teeth, and you doubt the situation will change any time soon. Are you, then, doomed to have a hideous grin, darkening the nation’s otherwise pearly white sparkle?
Not at all, because what the spenders and travelers are forgetting is that you can create a gorgeous grin for little money right at home. No, you can’t make a crown or replace a tooth, but you can whiten those teeth and care for them in a way that will prevent the decay that leads to cavities, plaque and garish gaps. Begin with proper oral hygiene, brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Use whitening toothpaste to further your efforts, and replace your toothbrush regularly. Avoid tobacco and excessive amounts of coffee, tea, alcohol and soda – all are known to stain your teeth. If you want a homemade remedy, try rubbing mashed up strawberries, an orange peel or lemon juice with salt over your teeth. Or, go for the traditional combination of baking soda, salt (just a dash) and vinegar (just a splash).
You don’t have to spend frightening amounts of money or travel to another country to achieve oral health. You only have to go as far as your bathroom and maybe your local store, depending on what’s inside the medicine cabinet.
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