It’s never too late!
As a kid I had 10 teeth pulled (four of which were permanent) by a dentist who didn't GAF that my anesthetic was barely working.
Lifelong dental phobia = cemented.
Thankfully, I now have a really understanding, competent dentist who tells me to relax and breathe when my fingertips go white from gripping my hands together. But my stomach still twists into knots before going to (or even making) an appointment.
Recently I went in for a painfully overdue filling. This experience is now at the top of my list of things I never want to do again. After having multiple tubes and drills and needles and torture devices shoved in my mouth, I asked my dentist--in a nice way--what I could do to avoid seeing him in the near future.
1. Fluoride FTW
Fluoride helps your teeth become bad-ass decay and acid fighters, which in turn helps toughen your enamel and prevent cavities from forming or worsening. You can get your fluoride fix in toothpastes and mouthwashes. Also, tap water is fluoridated by The Man. (Thanks, The Man!)
2. Eat These Foods
Fish and green tea are particularly high in flouride, and cheeses, nuts, chicken and other meats, and dark, leafy greens provide calcium and phosphorous to strengthen teeth. Stay far away from candy or any other food that could stick to your teeth and grow bacteria.
3. Ditch The Sugar
Sugar is all kinds of bad for your teeth. Eat too much and you're on a one-way route to Cavityville. Also, be wary of natural sugar substitutes such as honey and fructose, as they can cause cavities as well. My favorite faux sugar is xylitol; it has a really natural sugar taste (and after-taste) and is actually good for your teeth.
4. Chew Sugarless Gum
Chewing sugarless gum after meals stimulates your saliva flow and promotes remineralization by washing away acids and allowing the phosphates and calcium in your saliva to be distributed all over your piehole.
5. Brush And Floss Regularly (duh)
Of course, basic dental hygiene is paramount. Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush to prevent tooth enamel damage. Floss once a day to remove plaque and keep teeth and gums happy and healthy.
Are you a dental-phobe, too? Have you ever had an anesthesia fail while in the dentist's chair?
Also: What's the best toothbrush/floss that you've tried?