April has been designated as Oral Health Month amongst other worthy causes.
Much has been written about oral health in the past. So I do not wish to cover the same territory much better covered by others. The odds are you have heard it and seen it. Equally, like much that we are exposed to in our daily lives, you have not given it much thought. It’s only reasonable in our information overloaded society to be selective. Usually something only enters our awareness when we have a need.
Rather, I wish to address oral health and by extension general well being, by considering an infrequently mentioned component – that of volition. We will all have to address this need.
What do I mean? Preventive dental care whether at home and by keeping regular ongoing care appointments, require you to be volitionally involved. You must appreciate the value of the activity and be a fully active participant.
As kids, our parents usually act as our ‘volitional’ partners until such time as we can brush and floss our own teeth, remember to wear our athletic mouth guards, make and keep regular preventive appointments. At some point when maturity sets in, we rightfully assume our role in looking after ourselves. [Ever notice that as an adult you speak, especially to your own kids, and your parent’s voices come out?]
What happens when we can’t? Unfortunately, mental and physical disease, not to mention the inevitable consequences of aging may prevent our volitional involvement in our own care and well being. Then, to quote Stella, from a Street Car Named Desire, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers” will be our reality.
Caregivers, whether family or professional, will only be able to nominally help us based on circumstances, skills and resources. Thus, our futures in general and in specific dentally, are less than stellar as we depend on others for our care.
So, think about the issue before it’s imperative or at least, as senescence beings its relentless march to overtake you. Have a plan. Discuss it with trusted family and friends. Make arrangements as needed. Be ready!
Remember Oral wellness, Whole health.