Captain DIY here, and today we’re talking teeth. And we’ll be crunching some numbers!
Wait! Come back! Don’t worry, I’ll be doing all of the math, you can just read and absorb, I promise!
Now that we’re all settled, what on earth do teeth have to do with DIY or FI? I’ll tell you.
Home maintenance and repair is not only satisfying, but it saves a ton of money, as we have previously determined. Now it’s time to turn that focus around and point it at our bodies. I started the Fit to FI series to address how we could build our own home gym to stay fit and burly. Another part of maintaining our bodies, in fact some would argue one of the most important parts, is maintaining healthy teeth.
Getting your teeth cleaned by a dentist once a year (or more if you have insurance that will cover it) is hugely important. In between those cleanings, we can do quite a bit to make sure we don’t start looking like this guy anytime soon.
Using a “picker” to floss is one of my new favorite ways to help. I hate floss, and I have a really hard time convincing myself to do something I hate every day. Once I found these little guys, I realized it was super easy to bang out a quick floss job, and when rinsed and reused a bag of them can last for an incredibly long time.
“Gross”, you say, “I’m not going to rinse a flossy thingy and reuse it!” Isn’t that exactly what you do with your toothbrush? And your toothbrush has a lot more little nooks and crannies to get stuff stuck in, so get off your high horse!
Ok, enough of that. Let’s get down to brass tacks and look at the numbers. Cost of a toothbrush: $4 for a pack of three. Change it out every six months or so, and you’re looking at an annual expense of around $2, for simplicity’s sake. Cost of the floss pickers, $3 for a 90-pack. I get about a week out of one, which gives me an annual cost of around $1.73 [($3/90)*52=1.7333…]. Finally we have toothpaste, which will run us about $4 per year.
I’m lucky enough to have dental insurance provided by my employer, but if I wasn’t I’d be looking at between $75 and $200 for a cleaning. Let’s split the difference and say we will pay $137.50 per year fro professional cleaning.
Total annual cost of keeping our teeth healthy: $145.23.
While I was looking stuff up to write this incredibly entertaining article, I came across this great site talking about how much it could cost us if we don’t take care of our mouths. They mention the cost of procedures like Tooth Extractions ($50-900), Root Canals ($300-2000), and Dental Implants ($1000-3000) to name a few. What this site doesn’t take into account is the added cost of having to take time off of work and travel to and from the dentist. Also, none of these procedures sound like a whole lot of fun.
Here at the Headquarters, we like to take a holistic approach to our lives, which means looking to optimize all aspects. This includes learning how to maintain our vehicles, learning how to maintain our homes, and learning how to maintain our bodies. Taking good care of our mouths is a pretty dull subject, but it can really save us time, money, and a whole lot of pain. And isn’t optimizing the potential to enjoy our lives the whole reason we started down this road in the first place?