The other day as I was driving to the dentist, I looked at the brave little tulips and daffodils announcing springtime. I was reminded of the seeing the same flowers poke above the ground when I would drive with my mother and brother to my grandmother’s house as a kid. Back then, our spring trips often involved “spring cleaning.” My trip to the dentist was a sort of “spring cleaning” too.

  1. Remove dirt from every crevasse.My grandma and grandpa built their home together in the 1930s out of river rocks and cement. They loved that home. They knew every crevasse and they wanted every crevasse clean; they wanted that special home to last as long as it could. They were proud of how well they had maintained their self-constructed home for over 65 years.I may not know every crevasse in my dental construction, but my dentist does! Like my grandparents loved their home, I love my teeth and I want them to last me a lifetime. Cleaning every crevasse ensures that my teeth will be something I can be proud of for a long time too.
  2. Take the time to clean what intermediary cleanings don’t.Weekly spot cleaning with clorox wipes is different than putting on your rubber gloves, getting on your hands and knees, pulling out the chemicals and scrub brushes, and going for it. When we went to Grandma’s, we did deep cleaning—the things that Grandma couldn’t possibly do every week.Brushing and flossing are great—forgetting these habits is like abandoning your floors to muddy shoes and juice spills. The good thing about cleaning your teeth, though, is it doesn’t require any personal elbow grease, which—in my opinion—makes it much better then spring cleaning for Grandma.
  3. Prevent damages.When I got tired of my cleaning job, my mother would remind me of this principle, “If you treat something well now, it will treat you well later.” She explained that cleaning and servicing Grandma’s home helped her avoid having to pay for repairs when things had rusted, broken, or stopped working and it was too late.As much as we want to pretend that our teeth are relentlessly resilient, they just aren’t. If we really want to avoid the repercussions of extensive and expensive dental work, regular cleaning is the simple answer.
  4. Make the house presentable for the next 6 months.Once all the deep cleaning in the house was done, we would go outside and pick out the dead weeds and flowers, spruce up the yard, and make the home look nice and new for summer visitors.Every dazzling smile needs to be re-sparkled, just as every yard needs to be spruced up. Regular cleanings can ensure that those little cavities don’t even start.

 

I must admit that as a kid, I didn’t love spring cleaning for Grandma. But now as I drive past that old rock house, I am grateful that we worked hard to keep it up.

I must admit that as an adult, I don’t love getting my teeth cleaned. But I know that in the future, when my teeth have given me minimal problems and I won’t hesitate to smile, I will be grateful that I took time for “spring cleaning.”

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