WASHINGTON CITY – Dr. David Brown has spent many years studying what it is like to be a tooth. And what he’s learned tends to surprise many of his patients.
For example, some teeth have reached adulthood by about age 6. This mean’s that as a child enters kindergarten, his or her teeth are entering the prime years of their adulthood and developmental cycle. And by the time a young person enters high school, it is likely that his or her smile has been determined for decades to come.
While childhood is not typically a peak time for thoroughness and responsibility, Brown said he is taking the initiative of speaking to his patients on behalf of the tooth.
“It is a lot of work to be a tooth,” he said. Essentially, mouths are the body’s first exposure to good things and bad, and “if we take care of teeth, we reduce the amount of germs and infection that can pass into our body systems.”
Taking care of teeth is something Brown knows how to do. After graduating from the world’s first and oldest dental school, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Brown and his family moved to southern Utah where he joined the practice of Kent Heideman in Washington.
Working with hygienists who have been with the practice for five-15 years, “we really get to know our patients,” Brown said. “And genuinely, we care about their dental health and work hard at teaching preventative maintenance.”
“We truly believe that one ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure,” he said.
With insufficient fluoride in Southern Utah’s public water systems (map), Brown said it is critical for individuals to stay on top of healthy prevention practices.
“A good, regular cleaning routine is critically important,” he said. “In fact, our hygienists take prevention so seriously, I call them ‘preventadontists.’”
Unlike like many bones and body systems, teeth neither repair, heal nor have defense mechanisms.
“It is important that we learn to take care of our teeth in our youth,” he said. “Not only are teeth a limited resource, they are also a nonrenewable resource.”
Brown has three children of his own under the age of 12. He said: “One of the things I tell my own kids is to brush thoroughly so they can protect their smiles.”
Every evening before bedtime, Brown’s children brush their teeth and come to him for inspection. “Even my 11-year-old comes to me for inspection,” he said.
Having a father who is a dentist and a mother who is a nurse, Brown said his kids have learned that “you can’t go to bed with germs on your teeth.”
“Sickness often comes through the mouth and gums,” he said. “The most important thing we can do is keep our teeth clean, and help prevent the mouth from becoming a portal for infection, trouble and pain.”
He likes to recommend a basic battery-charged toothbrush for children, Brown said, “simply because they will tend to spend more time brushing when they are operating a moving toothbrush.”
The goal of Heideman & Brown Dental is to teach their patients early the importance of positive dental health habits.
“The most important thing we can do to really help our teeth is to protect them from getting hurt in the first place,” Brown said. “By brushing, getting regular checkups and cleanings, and by avoiding sugary, sticky candies, foods and drinks, we are not only benefitting our health, we are also lengthening the lifespan of our teeth.”
An individual’s smile is not only critical to good health, it is also one of his or her most defining characteristics.
“Interpersonally, we tend to connect with others and are remembered by either our eyes or our smile,” Brown said. “As a dentist, my job is to help my patients both protect and preserve their smiles that communicate to others so much of who we are.”
A D V E R T O R I A L
Heideman & Brown Dental is located at 195 West Telegraph in Washington. Business hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (435) 673-4605.
Email: [email protected]
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