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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

Genuine phobia of brushing teeth

01/29/2008

Question:

Since getting a brace to help after an operation to pull down a tooth i have developed a strong fear of brushing my teeth which is causing many problems. Without braces brushing was a chore as it feels to me the same as someone scrping their nails on a carpet or chalkboard which makes me feel funny, but I was just coping with twice a day brushing. Since getting braces however it has intesified due to bristles getting caught and the metal contact to the point where I can rarely force myself to brush my teeth. I have now noticed the back of my teeth are black and today after having a week of terrible toothache I was eating, and part of my tooth crumbled away. I`m really scared and don`t know what to do. I don`t want false teeth, really don`t want to go to the dentist/orthodonist unless they can sedate me and sort it all out and really don`t know what to do. I wish there was another way of keeping oral health at a good standard without brushing. I use mouthwash 3 times a day. Can the state of my teeth ever be reversed? I`m still only a teenager and don`t want to ruin my teeth. Please help me, what can I do? please don`t say it`s too late.

Answer:

Thank you for this question - it's important to say that it is never too late to begin good oral health. I will tell you however, that the more you delay going, the more limited the ways to treat your dental disease may be. The most important thing you can do if find a dentist who understands your concerns and can talk you through what the treatment options are.

Oral health is now understood to be a vital part of your overall health. A dentist/hygienist will be able to give you tips and techniques for taking care of your teeth, taking into account your phobia. I hope this helps.

For more information:

Go to the Dental and Oral Health (Children) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Professor
Director, Residency Program, Division of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati