Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Passive Aggressive Public Service Announcement #3

Since y'all seem to be paying attention now... New and Improved advice on Dental Care.

I have been recommending this book for the last couple years... and I have found the information in it to be enlightening (my dentists never told me any of it).  I still recommend it for the overall education- but I have found some of her techniques may not be suitable to our specific needs.

After a couple years of experimentation, here are the things I have found that worked the best:   (I am not a dentist and you should consider this advice accordingly)

First order of business-
No sugar.  No acid.  No fruit juice.  No soda.  All you apple cider vinegar freaks need to cut that out too.   Carbs and acid is what the bacteria want you to eat.

Also crucial -  Vitamin D3
Between 2000 and 5000 IU per day.
Your infections and your bones won't heal properly without it.

Then you really want to lower the inflammation when you clean your teeth.  You will be able to remove more debris and cause less damage.  I take two ibuprophen and wait before brushing.

Toothpaste is probably the cause of your dental problems.  It was invented by beauty product companies, not dentists.   It's about convenience, not efficacy.
You definitely do not want to put ground up rocks and industrial cleaning solvents masked with sweetener and menthol in your mouth and scrub your most sensitive tissues with it.
The reason you hate brushing your teeth is because it hurts.   It doesn't hurt acutely or on the surface because mint is an anesthetic and it masks those symptoms..  But it is abrasive and causes inflammation and dryness.    You just get headaches instead.

Their core assumption is flawed.  Your GUMS are the place where the plaque comes from, not your teeth.   The goal is not a "clean mouth".   You don't want to scrub mercilessly and kill all the germs.  That's actually not really possible, but it's not even desirable.  It's a matter of controlling the balance.  You want your mouth to HEAL.

Use Baking Soda instead of toothpaste.  It neutralizes acid and keeps strep bacteria from metabolizing sugar.   Is also gently abrasive, so removes stains.   Is also antifungal, unlike other antibacterial products that may promote fungus.  Doesn't taste great, but you won't mind because your mouth actually feels better afterwards.

Use a soft toothbrush.  Scrubbing your teeth vigorously with a hard brush is truly terrible for your gums.  If you use the proper techniques, you won't have stuff on your teeth that needs to be scraped off.   Since we have sensation and drainage problems, you must remember to brush your cheeks and gums and tongue area too.
These are the best.  Feel so good.  Totally worth the bother of ordering online.
Behind your molars is crucial.   You need this brush for that.  The small head makes all the difference.

Use warm water and swish thoroughly afterwards.  At least twice, the debris in your cheeks needs removing too.  
And some kind of oil to lubricate your gums  and cheeks and lips afterwards.  Coconut, olive, butter.

Wooden picks to remove particles stuck between teeth.    After that, chew and soften the end a little and clean out the gum pockets and rub the plaque off.  Organic molecules in wood are antibacterial and help fight germs.
Also very nice for plaque removal- cotton swabs on the tooth surfaces .
You can also use cotton shirt fabric over your finger to get awkward places.  
I do not use floss.  I believe it cuts the gums and perpetuates periodontitis.
Remember- Puncture wounds are not the goal.
If you use a water pick- it must be on low with warm salt water.   No cold sharp streams cutting your gums please.

Rinses are the key to keeping your mouth healthy.  Rinse early and often.
  • Nothing with alcohol.  No Listerine, no Scope, none of that stuff.
  • Nothing with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Triclosan.
  • Hydrogen peroxide-  big no-no.  Dries out the tissues. 
These are good-
  • White Tea-  is antibacterial and raises pH.   The best stuff for bad teeth and sore throats.  We should drink it after meals but I am a coffee addict and usually don't.  Coffee is somewhat antigingival, though.
  • Salt water.   If you have a goopy mouth, salt water is the best thing to rinse it with.   It breaks up the biofilm.   You can also use a little baking soda and water too.   Raises the pH of your mouth, and shuts down the bacteria.
  • The book recommends Xylitol rinse.  It is very effective for bacterial control but it seems many of us are sensitive to sugar alcohols too and cannot tolerate it even in small quantities.  If your head gets worse, stop using it.
  • Fluoride- If you have cavities or your tooth enamel is damaged you will probably need some of this.  Don't overdo it though.   Too much fluoride will mess up your calcium metabolism.  You also want to do this when your teeth are clean.
  • Antibacterial rinse-  on the shelves as "anticavity" or "antigingivitis" rinse.   These contain an antibacterial ingredient which helps at first, but I think over time it just creates resistant strains.   
  • Olive or coconut oil.   Oleic acid is antimicrobial.

I started off with the commercial rinses and metal scrapers, and had some professional work done in the beginning when my teeth were really bad.  Got some bad crowns fixed.  It's taken years, but things have gotten to the point where I just need to brush with baking soda once a day and use the wet brush otherwise.  And tea and toothpicks.

for the record, I would like a different book to recommend if anyone has a suggestion...

Update-   after ten years, I have finally found a toothpaste I can recommend:
Cleure Natural Baking Soda Toothpaste

I like the flavorless, and am thrilled to have found it.   It tastes and works better than actual baking soda.   Fine grained so it removes stains better.   Totally worth the price.