Thursday, February 4, 2010

No Skimping On Good Oral Hygiene

In my opinion, the single best investment a person can make for his or her health and appearance is the practice of good oral hygiene. Can you imagine living in a time before toothpaste? I wouldn't last a day without brushing my teeth. Although “toothpaste” has been used since 500 BC in India and China, we wouldn't recognize it, since it was neither a paste, nor in a tube, and it included ingredients not known to prevent cavities like soap, chalk, dragon's blood and burnt bread. In 1914 Colgate began adding fluoride to what was then called "dental cream," but this innovation didn't catch on until the 1950s.

Good oral hygiene is essential, not only for a beautiful smile, but for general health. Not flossing, or going to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings leads to a whole host of dental and medical problems such as gum disease, infections, bone loss, and perhaps heart disease and strokes.* Did you know that dentists also check for early signs of oral cancer?

When times are lean, it's tempting to look for ways to cut back on expenses. You're better off economizing on hair and skin care if necessary, but never-ever neglect your teeth … or get too busy in life to do the basics:

1) Brush your teeth at least 3 times a day. -- Chewing sugar-free gum and drinking water are beneficial to teeth in-between brushing, though they doesn't replace brushing.
2) Switch from hard to soft bristles. -- Brushing with soft bristles preserves your gums. Hard, or medium bristles wear gums down, exposing your roots over time. It leads to tooth sensitivity, cavities and gum disease [namely gingivitis and periodontitis].
3) Visit your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings. -- Do not skip the dentist to save money in the short run. If you don't have dental insurance, check with dental schools and community clinics until you find good, affordable dental care in your area.
4) Floss before bed every single night. -- Flossing removes food and plaque from teeth and along with brushing, prevents cavities, gum disease and maybe heart disease.*
5) Rinse with an antiseptic mouth wash daily. -- This kills germs and keeps gums healthy.

Your teeth should last a lifetime. If you haven't been to a dentist in the past six months, schedule an appointment today. Meanwhile ... brush ... rinse ... and floss!

*Researchers notice an important link between periodontal disease and heart health and are studying whether brushing and flossing can save lives. If nothing else, the association may be a bellwether of early heart disease.

You may also enjoy:
What Would You Do If You Were Losing Your Hair?
Good Housekeeping's Food Safety Tips
Go On A Skin Diet
The Doctors' Home Remedies


  1. For 35 years I have used a Gripit Floss Holder – – to floss regularly. These handy devices come with their own floss supply that can be advanced in seconds and refilled from local drug and grocery stores. I feel good knowing I don’t clog landfills with throw away flossers. My grand kids like using Gripits too because they don’t have to put their
    fingers into their mouths to floss.

  2. Jodie, thanks for bringing Gripits to our attention. What a great tip!

  3. Think I will try that... Visits to the peiodontist are expensive AND painful. Maybe this gadget would help!