Advice for the Teeth - and Soul - from the Divine Mercy Dentist

By Dr. Valdemar Welz

The gnashing or clenching of teeth - Realize that some of us have a tendency toward high blood pressure, which can lead to clenching the teeth. There's medication for that. And realize that our teeth are not supposed to touch. Make a conscious decision to keep your teeth apart. Get a sports mouth guard, then spend more time in prayer, because peace is a gift from God. What do you think the Mass is all about? To keep us free from anxiety. Why do people take Prozac? Because they don't have God in their lives. I have a feeling that 90 percent of the market for Prozac would disappear if people started praying. It's all about God.

Brushing - Make sure you brush toward the gum line. And because bacteria collect around every tooth, brush in a very systematic fashion, like an examination of conscience. I recommend using an electronic toothbrush. Use it two minutes on the upper teeth and two minutes on the bottom teeth. Go around the row of teeth like driving around a racetrack, except more methodically. If you do that once every 24 hours, you'll have fewer dental problems.

Flossing - As for between the teeth, the only way you're going to get in there to remove the bacteria is through flossing. Flossing is a pain in the neck. We all know that. But the motivating factor I've used is advice I received from Sr. Theresa, a patient of mine from the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She says to put a little card next to a table that says, "Floss for souls." Now, every morning when I floss, I say to God, "This is for souls." One of these days I'll start exercising for souls.

Dental visits - Go the dentist at least once a year. When a dentist removes the tarter, it's like going to regular confession. In the case of your teeth, you're left with a nice, smooth surface so you can brush and floss. In the case of confession, you get rid of all the sins you have hanging around your soul, so it makes it easier for you to be more like Christ. It's that simple.