Dental decorum: How to handle sensitive situations

NC —Would you tell your boss she has something stuck in her teeth? Or tell a pal her garlic-laden lunch is lingering? As polite Canadians, “sorry” and “excuse me” may be part of our national lexicon, but when it comes to addressing sensitive situations of dental decorum, we're often at a loss for words. Pointing out a 'dental disaster' such as situational bad breath, or having food stuck in the teeth may be uncomfortable, but according to etiquette experts Ceri Marsh and Kim Izzo, co-authors of The Fabulous Girls Guide to Decorum, it doesn't have to be. “Knowing if you should speak up can be determined by putting yourself in the other person's shoes,” says Marsh. “Would you want to know, and how would you like to receive this information?”

The Canadian duo who have been helping women make good manners modern have developed the three Ps to help navigate sensitive dental situations:

Be Polite – There's an etiquette to telling others of any oral offences they may be committing. Remember, a healthy dose of tact and honesty go a long way – it can be sensitive but we all want to know.

Be Proactive – No matter how well or how little you know someone, it is always polite to inform him or her when anything is stuck in their teeth – be it a poppy seed or spinach.

Be Prepared – Be a model of oral-care excellence. Always keep a toothbrush and an all round protective toothpaste, like Sensodyne iso-active, on hand to freshen up at work, home or play.

Sense and Sensitivity

Another situation that 44% of Canadians face is the awkward cringing of tooth sensitivity. Be it water cooler wincing or coffee break shuddering, according to Dr. Jordan Appel a Toronto-based dentist, it's one of the most common complaints he hears from patients. “Sensitivity can be prevented with a regular dental hygiene routine,” recommends Dr. Appel. “Start by flossing, then brush your teeth for two minutes with a specially formulated toothpaste like Sensodyne iso-active. With twice the foam of a regular toothpaste, it penetrates hard to reach places to soothe the nerves without giving up on the benefits of cavity protection or plaque removal with brushing.” No matter the situation, good oral hygiene is synonymous with good decorum, according to etiquette experts Marsh and Izzo. “When you're a woman who values manners and style, you know ensuring your teeth and breath are in top condition is as much of a priority as choosing the perfect little black dress,” says Izzo.



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