Let me preface this post with some transparency. I LOVE the dentist. I have never dreaded the flossing, the scraping, the prodding. Even as a kid, all of my dentist visit polaroids feature me with a huge smile on my face. I loved having braces. I thought getting my wisdom teeth pulled was actually kind of cool. #ThanksLaughingGas And I'm 100% the kind of dental patient who asks all the questions during my cleaning. Yes, I'm that person. Because of this, I'm always asking my dentist, Dr. Lauren Izadi and her West End Dental team alllllll the questions. Huge plug necessary: If you're looking for a dentist in DC, check this place out. They're all absolutely wonderful. So let's talk about some of the topics I learned about at my last visit.
1. I'm Brushing Too Hard
Hi my name is Libby, an I am an "aggressive brusher." According to my dentist, I get a little too into brushing. I know I'm supposed to brush in light, delicate circles, but sometimes it just feels good to scrub those bad boys clean. Well, in my case, this isn't doing my teeth any favors. I'm actually wearing down my enamel and putting a lot of pressure on my gums. Dentist's Orders: Get a soft toothbrush, like a really soft one. And start brushing with my opposite hand. *sighs loudly* Okayyyy fine.
2. Those Floss Sticks, Don't Do Sh!t
This one surprised me the most. In spite that New York TImes article that said we might not need to floss? (ew) I still stuck to my daily routine (give or take) of flossing with floss sticks. My dentist's suggestion, toss them. Why? Because they really don't do anything more than a toothpick would. It doesn't hug the teeth the way dental floss does. If anything, it almost just pushes plaque up into the gums. Gross. Here's a great article that backs this up. Also, why bother with wasting the plastic? Here's a great biodegradable floss option that I've started to use.
3. ...And Neither Does Mouthwash
Unless you are gargling to rid your mouth of bad breath, few mouthwash products actually live up to their promises. Mouthwash does not actually cure dental disease, bad breath, or tooth decay. It works to promotes dental health or simply mask bad breath. According to many dental studies, if you are brushing and flossing regularly to maintain your dental health, some dentists would say that you’re wasting your money. Unless you have gum disease, dental decay, or bad breath, you’re honestly better off spending your $5 elsewhere.
4. Guard Your Mouth
Oh you know, just another fun perk of getting older. Stress and teeth grinding. I'm not sure when I do it (when I sleep) or how bad it is, but I know it's enough that my dentist has noticed. While I'm not really ready to commit to the pricier custom guard that my dentist can make, I did find a pretty good alternative with this Oral B Night Guard. I don't wear it religiously, but on nights I suspect I might clench or grind my teeth (when I'm stressed or drink) I'll pop it in before bed.
5. You're Never Too Old For Fluoride
If you thought you didn't need the occasional fluoride treatment as an adult, think again. Each day, our bodies take in and lose fluoride. The way we take it in is through foods (like shellfish, grapes, raisins) EVEN WINE (?!) and water. The way we lose it is when acids caused by plaque, bacteria, and sugars in our mouths attack our enamel. We get get that fluoride back into our enamel layer by eating the right foods, drinking fluoride water and through treatments at your dentist's office. Upon learning that, I scheduled a fluoride treatment for my next appointment. The downside: most insurance plans don't cover the treatment. The upside: its only $30. No brainer here.
Have any of you ever tried switching up your dental routine? After going sugar free the past few weeks, I realized that a lot of the toothpastes we use have sugar in them! Here are a few organic toothpastes to try!