We’ve all got the lecture from our dentist about the importance of brushing and flossing our teeth properly.
But Michigan dentist Dr. Susan Maples – who wrote Blabber Mouth! 77 Secrets Only Your Mouth Can tell You To Live A Healthier, Happier, Sexier Life (I swear that’s the title) says there’s a lot of sizzle and no steak to many of the claims about oral health these days.
Here are six things you might not know that can keep those pearly whites pearly – or at least from falling out.
Mouth rinses: Maples says alcohol present in a lot of mouth washes -is a preserving agent that can actually cause oral cancer. Also, stay away from mouthwashes that claim to make you teeth feel smooth as they contain a detergent that coats the plaque and debris trapping it underneath the slick. And finally: no mouthwash whitens teeth in 30 seconds. So don’t believe those claims.
Tooth lightening: Chasing an unceasing bright smile can damage pulp and cause teeth to die, Maples says. Avoid one-hour laser or light therapy because it dehydrates the teeth. The best results come through bleaching with custom trays only available through your dentist.
Soft tooth brushes: Make sure you always choose soft bristles to avoid traumatizing your gums. Scrubbing with a medium or hard bristle brush can make the gums recede from the teeth, Maples says.
Gum examinations: Your dentist should provide a thorough periodontal exam at least once each year that includes “pocket” measurements using a probe around the cuff of each tooth. Periodontal disease is the top reason adults lose teeth.
Let ‘em bleed: Don’t let a little blood keep you from flossing. Bleeding is a natural response, Maples said, when you clean inflamed gums. The bleeding will subside as the bacteria load is cleaned up.
Sensitive teeth: Don’t freak if a tooth develops cold sensitivity. This situation often heals itself. Toothaches stimulated by heat or biting pressure can mean you need a root canal.