I wrote a post about teeth whitening which in turn got me thinking about caring for our teeth in the first place.
When my children were young, I remember I used to take them to this dentist who had a large old fashioned painting, on the wall in his waiting room, of a man trying to pull an unfortunate sufferer’s teeth out with big unfriendly pliers. And there was a line of people in the picture waiting their turn too! I always thought our dentist was quite brave displaying that image. Long ago, as people got older, their teeth would rot away and be very painful. The only option to get rid of a toothache was to have their teeth pulled out.
Fortunately as time passed, people learned that cleaning their teeth was important and they would use ground up chalk or charcoal, lemon juice, wood ash or tobacco and honey mixed together. Bit of a mixed bag there but the wood ash was a good idea but not the lemon juice which would be too acid for the tooth enamel.
What happened about 100 years ago?
A minty cream was invented and toothpaste was born. Today we are encouraged to brush our teeth twice a day and if possible after lunch or sweet snacks as brushing properly breaks down plaque.
Here are some suggestions for the best care of your teeth
- Use a soft tooth brush and just a blob of toothpaste the size of a pea to brush all your teeth back and front in small circular movements for at least 2-3 minutes and don’t forget to brush the tongue as well to keep the breath fresh. Renew your toothbrush around every 3 months. If you have crooked or irregular teeth, lose a smaller headed brush. An electric toothbrush, with an oscillating or rotating head, may be more effective at getting rid of plaque as well as easier to use for people with limited movement.
- Once a day, floss between each tooth and along the gum line gently or you can use an inter-dental brush.
- Finish off with a natural mouth rinse.
- Book an appointment for a check up and clean with your dentist twice a year. Avoid X-rays if possible and limit to not more often than once in three to five years. Make sure you choose a dentist who does not still use amalgam fillings.
- Be careful what you eat and drink – lots of fresh vegetables and water are best for your teeth. Sugary and diet sodas are the worst as bacteria love any sugar on your teeth and break it down into acids that eat away tooth enamel and lead to dental erosion which is permanent.
- The stomach acid in vomit can cause dental erosion too.
- If plaque isn't cleaned off your teeth regularly, your gums could become red, swollen and shiny and even bleed. This is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis. Luckily it is completely reversible so if the plaque is removed, the gums will recover.
- Saliva in your mouth is an important tool in caring for your teeth as it helps to wash away and neutralize any acid. Saliva also contains minerals to replace those lost from the enamel during acid attack. But if sugary food or drinks are consumed too often, our saliva does not have long enough to fully remineralise the teeth. Tests have suggested that a tooth left in a can of soda would decay and even disappear overnight because of the potency of the sugar and acid combination in some drinks! That should make you think twice about reaching for that can of soda.
You might even think about changing to a more natural type of toothpaste. All those well known branded and conventional toothpastes are full of synthetic chemicals and even poisons. That is why it is not recommended that you let your children swallow toothpaste in spite of the tempting added flavors. Check out the ingredients in your favorite tube of toothpaste. You might be surprised at what they contain.
But there are some safe dental products available
These include Weleda, Dental Miracle, Perigum and Tooth Soap which you might like to try out.
We need our teeth to chew food, speak clearly and, of course, for appearance sake.