Editor’s Note: We wanted to highlight this excellent comment submitted by Sandy, a Tip Hero reader who responded to our question: How Do You Save on Dental Expenses?
I am a hygienist and impressed with the advice everyone is sharing. The best thing you can do is brush for 2 min. twice daily and floss daily. Be sure when you floss you go through the contact (the tight spot in between your teeth) and move the floss down each tooth (the one toward the front, back up to the contact then down the tooth toward the back). Bring the floss out of the contact then go to the next interproximal area (the next 2 teeth). My patients are amazed at the difference it makes to floss thoroughly. Tooth picks are also great for the gums and reducing the bacteria under the gums. Remember though, the benefit of floss is that it’s the only thing that goes through the contact and that is where interproximal cavities occur.
The bacteria under the gums are different than other bacteria in the mouth. They are very virulent and cause chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the issue involved with vessel damage putting patients at a greater risk for heart events, cerebral vascular events(like stroke) and premature birth/low birth weight babies. Chronic inflammation due to gum disease can also have a negative effect on diabetes. Because the bacteria involved with periodontal disease (gum disease) are so virulent, it is very taxing on your immune system.
A few more tidbits of advice:
hydrogen peroxide is a good mouth rinse and “ACT” mouthwash is good for reducing cavities. Walmart sells their own brand with the same ingredients as ‘ACT’. Avoid mouthwash with a high alcohol content (its hard on soft tissue). (Editor’s Note: I checked Target for a generic version of ACT but couldn’t find an alcohol free version.)
Chewing gum with ‘xylitol’ in it is good because it starves the bacteria that cause cavities. You can buy expensive xylitol gum at health food stores but I pick up Trident. Just make sure it is Trident with the little ‘xylitol’ label on the lower right of the packet.
Last but not least, if you or your children are going to drink something with sugar or eat candy or sweets and you can’t brush afterward, rinse with water (swallow or spit, it doesn’t matter). Rinsing with water neutralizes the ph in your mouth. Sweets cause acidity which increases the risk of cavities.
Sorry this was so long but these steps will truly make a big difference in your risk of gum disease and cavities. An easy way to save money and improve your heath!
Photo Credit Wolfiewolf