Being a dental hygienist and all, people tend to frequently ask me what I do to maintain a healthy mouth, especially since I’m a baker and I love sugar, of course. Yes, it’s true–you can still eat sugar and achieve a healthy mouth. Many ask what kind of toothpaste I use and would recommend, or how I have such a white, healthy smile. Honestly, it’s really quite simple. I’ll let ya’ll in on a few simple secrets:
1. Brushing twice a day for two minutes, especially with an electric toothbrush (I love my Oral B Professional 5000 Care Smart Series… I’ve had it for 4+ years now and it hasn’t let me down–you can read here why electric brushes are the shizzle),
2. Brushing with a really great (preferably fluoridated) toothpaste twice a day for those two minutes, and
3. Flossing every (and I mean every) single night after brushing.
For some reason, us Homo sapiens have not yet programmed ourselves to do this simple act of routine self-care on a daily basis. It takes little effort and yet yields great results. And I am speaking honestly from my own personal experience. Truth be told, I didn’t start flossing until I made up my mind I wanted to become a dental hygienist four years ago. I made a promise to myself that I was going to begin flossing every single day. I’d have to practice what I’d preach. Growing up with orthodontic work and braces when I was younger, my oral hygiene was admittedly absolutely embarrassing. I never flossed. Probably never really knew how to properly manually brush my teeth. No wonder my gums bled and I had gingivitis. Who wants to thread floss through every single metal bracket between 28 teeth? No thank you. I didn’t value the importance of good oral hygiene. But let me tell ya, after going through hygiene school 3 years ago, I am a changed woman (in good and bad ways, but I’ll just leave it at that). Never have my teeth and mouth been happier. I’m not saying you, too, have to go through 2 years of training and stress and pulling out your hair on a daily basis to achieve optimum oral health, but that I’m here to decode it a bit for you. It’s really pretty simple, and takes little effort.
I have to say I’ve flossed 99.9% of the days since I made that promise to myself several years ago. When I first started, I proudly bragged to my hygienist the next time I came in for my routine cleaning (my teacher would slap me on my hand for referring to this as a “cleaning”, as in professional terms we should refer to it as a “scaling”, but whatever…). She couldn’t tell the difference. My technique was obviously not correct. But for some reason, once I began to work around teeth a whole hell of a lot more and had to start teaching these methods to my patients and flossing their teeth also, my own technique drastically improved. Not only does technique matter a lot (hug your tooth in a C shape motion and go up and down a few times making sure you are frictionally removing those bugs), but the actual type of floss itself is imperative. Some people have tight contacts, so unwaxed is great for this, but Glide should go take a hike. That crap does absolutely NOTHING, but that’s just from my own experiences. Personally, I absolutely love Listerine’s (formerly REACH) mint Gum Care woven floss. Interestingly enough, Amazon even states that “this floss removes up to 52% more plaque than Glide Original Mint”. So there ya have it. It isn’t always easy to find at CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid, and tends to be pretty pricey (ranging from $4-5 per package), so I went ahead and purchased the pack of 6 on Amazon for just 18 bucks. It’s a great deal, and could probably last you up to a year. It’s seriously the best. Just trust me on this. Just read the reviews if you aren’t convinced enough. Once I switched to this entirely, I hardly ever have any calculus build-up on my teeth, and no more sensitive or bleeding gums. I went in for my own routine cleaning today and my hygienist (and personal mentor) remarked how healthy my gums are now compared to what they used to be. My last recall appointment was 7 months ago, and I had hardly little to none build-up. In an ideal world, we could all keep our mouths free of unhealthy bacteria and calculus/plaque build-up, but we can do a pretty good job of getting pretty darn close to it. If I can, you can, too. Dare I say it, this floss will change your life.
If I haven’t convinced you yet enough, look at it this way. Each tooth is it’s own entity, it’s own “house”, so-to-speak, sitting on some property. Your gums and surrounding bone are the foundation. When you brush, you maintain the front and back parts of your house(s). But what about the side yards, in between those houses all lined up in a row? You can’t neglect those either, just because they’re tight and close together. They need some lovin’ too. So reach for that floss and get busy. Do the dirty work. Your neighbors will thank you. And the “foundation” holding it all up will, too.
Ok, but enough about floss. That isn’t my real intention behind this post. I really came on here to tell you about these toothpastes that will change your life. Trust me on this.
- The first one is Botot, a European toothpaste created in France back in 1755, considered to be the “world’s first toothpaste”. It was created for King Louis XV so if it’s fit for a king, you know it’s gotta be good. The pepto-bismol pink color has warm and invigorating natural flavors of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and anise, great herbs and spices for optimal gingival health. It also contains fluoride (hence the “protection against caries”), and silica, supposedly a natural antibacterial enzyme. But most importantly, this has the most amazing taste. I’ve sampled quite a ton of toothpastes these past two years, and I have quite a particular taste now when it comes to pastes. The stannous fluoride in Crest Pro-Health products leave a very unpleasant metallic aftertaste to turn anyone off to them, and Tom’s Maine just leaves such a chalky plain aftertaste and doesn’t lather very well. Every time I brush with this stuff, my mouth thanks me. I first discovered this stuff while shopping at a furniture/decor store in Portland of all places, and couldn’t resist using my excuse for being a hygiene student for spending $10 on a tube of this to test it out. Yes, I know what you’re thinking… TEN DOLLARS?! Think about it. It’ll last you at least a good 2 months, and you’re using it twice a day. That ends up being about less than 8 cents per brushing experience (yes, I totally just used a calculator to figure this out… I’m clearly aware of how much of a dork I am but I’m proving a point here). That’s 8 cents of an investment that will help you keep your teeth so that you can eat more than mashed up bananas and apple sauce when you’re older because you won’t have to wear dentures. You’ll look FORWARD to brushing your teeth. People spend money on quality shampoo, face lotion, shaving cream, or lipstick. Why not show your teeth some love? They’ll thank you in the end. I’m just going to say it again, I LOVE THIS TOOTHPASTE. And people ask me if I whiten my teeth constantly. I don’t anymore, but I honestly think this paste has something to do with it. I’m sure there’s some hydrogen peroxide hidden in there somewhere. Order here. (For some reason, everywhere I’ve searched tonight it is sold out. Maybe I’m telling too many people about this best kept secret… it’s catching on.) They also manufacture a concentrated mouth rinse that I have been pining to try.
- After running low on my second tube of Botot, I went on to Amazon the other night to order another but to my surprise, the only online store currently carrying it charges an extra $10 for shipping. Ok, I do love you Botot, but not THAT much. So I started another toothpaste relationship: Marvis Jasmin Mint paste. Marvis toothpastes have minty undertones serving as a base for other intense, aromatic and original flavors. This jasmin one is a “surprising charm of a sweet and floral note, dedicated to women with class“. Hell yeah. I admit, I was a bit skeptical about putting this in my cart, but again, I’m the guinea pig here. The reviews convinced me. Not only am I a packaging and design whore and mostly just love it because of how cute it’d look on the bathroom sink, but I do love floral scents and tastes. The texture is very pleasing, not too gritty, and doesn’t taste soapy afterward. It’s fragrant, subtle, and feminine. I immediately fell in love with this, also. This also isn’t something you’d typically be able to find at your local drugstore. Amazon has it priced really well, also coming in at about $10.50 per tube. Other flavors include ginger mint, cinnamon mint, aquatic mint, amarelli licorice, and whitening. Order here.
- The same night I decided I was taking a temporary brake from Botot due to the shocking shipping costs, I simultaneously discovered Euthymol. Another simple, old-fashioned beautiful tube with pepto-bismol color and flavoring, this Johnson & Johnson manufactured paste doesn’t contain fluoride and has supposedly been around for quite some time, as well. It contains natural antiseptic properties and essential oils for a healthy mouth. The second time I tested it, trying to pinpoint the flavor, I realized it resembles the mint-flavored Necco wafers. Sounds kinda gross, I know, but it isn’t that bad. I like this one a lot, but not as much as the beloved Botot. I definitely would buy it again, though. You can’t go wrong with the price: $3.50 (although the shipping can be a bit more), but it’s better than buying the Crest Pro-Health whitening pastes that promise to deliver a million things in one tube for the same if not more costly price, yielding poor results. Order here.