October 12, 2010

Tuesday Tip: That Prize Winning Smile

Or How to Take Care of Your Mouth

It should be easy. From the time we’re young we use sparkly toothpaste and character toothbrushes. As we age we may get braces, or use mouthwash, giving the appearance of good overall mouth health, but there may be a few things that will make this care more pleasant and give you better results.


1. Clean Your Gear

No matter how much you take care of your mouth, it will not matter one bit if your retainers, dentures or mouth guards aren’t clean. To clean them, brush them with your toothbrush and a little bit of toothpaste before each use. Denture cleaning tablets are also a great thing to have on hand for semi-regular use for any type of gear used in your mouth. I use the generic brand of Efferdent Anti-Bacterial Denture Cleanser from Wal-Mart every couple of weeks to thoroughly kill germs and remove stains. (You may think that isn’t very often, but I have three sets of retainers and I clean them all at once…I’m not really gross.)

2. Floss

Yes, it really is that important. The dentists don’t nag about it because they are in cahoots with the floss companies. While I know how hard it can be to floss (I did have braces for seven years), I am grateful that I can now floss with ease in less than a minute. The swelling and brightly colored have returned to their proper condition and my gum sensitivity has decreased. Additionally, flossing at least once a day has shown to have numerous health benefits. It can decrease the the occurrence of colds and viral illnesses, and even allow for better heart health.

3. Watch Out for Fluoride

It is still a heated debate as to whether fluoride is actually beneficial for your teeth, however, it is universally accepted that fluoride is harmful when ingested or used in large quantities. Too much fluoride consumption can cause skeletal or dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is acquired during primarily childhood, and affects large quantities of the American population. Fluoride has is also help suspect for a number of other physical ailments due to its toxicity to the human body. Avoid fluoridated water and be careful not to swallow mouthwash or toothpaste EVER.

4. Sensitive Teeth Need Sensitive Solutions

My teeth are incredibly sensitive. This is a problem that increased over time as I continued to use regular toothpastes, and even got worse as I began to use toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. However, now I use the all natural “Tom’s of Maine” toothpaste. It is fluoride free, easy on the teeth and gums and better at whitening teeth than the primary brands (at least, so I’ve found). The one problem is that it can be difficult to find. You can buy it in a large pack online, but as always I recommend trying first. It can be found at some supermarkets (Fresh Market, IGA and others) but may be something you could find at a drug store as well. The taste is very different from other pastes you will have used, so it takes some getting used to, but it’s worth it. I have found that my teeth are not only less sensitive during teeth brushing time, but while I am eating as well.


While the eyes are the gateway to your soul, your mouth is the gateway to, well, the rest of your body. Keep it clean and use it to look for signs of poor health elsewhere in your body and it will serve you well.


ramsam said...

Speaking as a past dental assistant of 10 years let me add this- the Sonicare toothbrush really is worth what it costs. It will end all that scraping you usually get every 6 months. If you just can't cough up $60 or so for a toothbrush, opt for a upper end spin brush or other vibrating toothbrush. We just recently upgraded to Sonicares for the whole family and I was reminded how much I love them. (hint- if you have a HSA or Flex card you can buy them with that!)

Kristina P. said...

I have to admit, I need to be much better with flossing.

Hillary said...

Very true Ramona. I love my sonicare.

Lynnae said...

My tip...buy a pack of those little flossers they sell by the toothbrushes. They come about 50 to a pack for a couple dollars. I used to hate flossing because I didn't like wrapping the floss around my fingertips. I know this is weird but I hated that part. The flossers look like a little letter 'P' with floss tightly strung across. You can easily floss all the teeth and toss it without hurting your fingertips. I LOVE those things.