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Thursday, February 15. 2018
The endurance of teeth has to do with genetics, diet, hygiene, and injuries. Due to bad luck, I have ended up with a fine (expensive) bridge which is anchored in (expensive) implants. After all, nobody wants to look like they come from England.
The question du jour is this: What do you do about dental hygiene?
- Once daily or twice? Or, God forbid, after every meal?
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"office deep cleaning"...I don't know if this is new but they use a hydro-sonic device to clean the build up of plaque instead of scraping with metal picks as in the past. Much easier on me.
Brush with an electric toothbrush in the shower at night then floss with a Reach flosser followed by a water rinse with a Shower Pik. Gargle in the morning with an antiseptic mouthwash. Can't remember the last cavity I've had.
Around five years back, my dentist finally convinced me to get my teeth straightened. I'd worn braces as a kid, but that was 4+ decades ago, and things... drifted to a point where I had a front tooth that was getting ready to overlap another.
Invisalign isn't cheap, but it worked. Got in the habit of carry a folding toothbrush and a small tube of Sensodyne. (And cleaning those grotty shells on my teeth in an ultrasonic cleaner w/3% hydrogen peroxide.) I brush my teeth a LOT more now than I used to.
For the past 5 or more years
- Electric toothbrush (OralB dual cleaning head)
- Twice a day, very thoroughly, morning and before bed. Toothpaste, rinse thoroughly after use so I don't swallow the stuff.
- Floss using 'double string flossers' as it is easy and I can keep a box of them next to my chair in the LR and do it while watching TV. Sort of a family affair...
I'm a controlled diabetic who keeps blood sugar below 100 as much as possible. No carbs at all. Ergo, no decay. But it wasn't always so! I have some crowns and fillings. All old, but expected to outlast the solar system.
You know, I've always thought I would end with dentures, but my dentist assures me if I keep supplying him with money he'll keep me in my natural teeth! (He also says "keep doing what you're doing, it obviously works - just kidding about the money.").
I brush my teeth (sonicare toothbrush) when I take a shower at home, and when I go to bed.
Because if my life (I work from home, and live across the street from the gym) this means that some days I brush twice, and somedays only once.
I like the sonicare toothbrush for the simple reason that it's the requisite 2 minutes. I get bored and lose track of time pretty easy (I was doing pushups a few minutes ago. At about 30 I was "Bored now, when will this end". I did make it to 40, which is a step up from last week.)
I also use a waterpic several times a week, and especially after eating any sort of meat jerky, celery or anything else that sticks in those spaces.
You shouldn't need a deep cleaning every 3-4 months, not if you're brushing daily and flossing or water picing.
IMO the water pic is superior to flossing, but I'm not a dental expert.
Toothpaste isn't a scam--topically applied floride DOES help strengthen the teeth of those who don't genetically perfect teeth. I wonder of baking soda raising the PH to the point where bacteria can't thrive or are killed?
Either way, floride helps "remineralize" teeth.
Electric toothbrush twice a day with just a smidgen of toothpaste (a pea size squeeze). Office cleaning every six months. I don't bother with floss as I just don't have the patience. I also noticed that once I started hardcore brushing twice a day the cleaning gals can't tell I don't floss (or they gave up). I highly recommend an electric brush though. I got a good quality one that has lasted me 10 years, and the brush heads can be gotten online for a reasonable price.
Twice a day brushing, regular dentist and cleaning appointments, and too frequent visits for my latest painful problems.
My best ever dentist told me heredity pretty much determines frequency and severity of tooth issues. My mother was a tooth brushing fanatic and had us to a dentist early and often so she and I did our parts, I blame my problems on bad tooth genes. Alas, that best dentist worked his way into a tenured faculty position at a dental college and closed his practice because, he told me later, he hated performing the same boring procedures all day, every day.
One of my memories of the often bizarre world of the Vietnam War is standing in a formation at a replacement unit in the first hours of my 18 months on Vietnamese soil and being handed a toothbrush and some high test fluoride? toothpaste and having to brush to the satisfaction of a medic who at great length and in an emotionless monotone explained the necessity of good oral hygiene.
Toothpaste is not itself hype but most variations of toothpaste are worthless. You benefit from exactly two ingredients in toothpaste, abrasives and fluoride. Abrasives can be any number of minerals or materials but I believe silica (sand) is the most common. Fluoride helps to stabilize the calcium in your teeth and make them more resistant to acid. I use a paste with peroxide and baking soda because they do bleach your teeth and kill bacteria, but it's probably not enough to worth a higher price. Fortunately, even most cheap brands have some peroxide and bicarbonate variation.
Brush first thing in the morning. Electric brush, toothpaste. Rinse with mouthwash a couple of times a week. High calcium diet (lots of dairy). Zero cavities at 49 years old. I've read studies that mouthwash is as effective as flossing, and others that it just dries your mouth out. I've read studies that brushing / cleaning almost doesn't matter, so long as you douse your teeth with fluoride regularly, and other ones that contradict that. For me, my methods seem to be working.
Floss twice daily, morning and night, and use one of those individual floss/pick thingys if I get something stuck in my teeth during the day. I've seen some reports asserting that flossing is a waste of time, but I can't stop doing it, I've come to hate the feeling of food in my teeth.
Brush twice daily, morning after breakfast, evening before bed. I use a sonicare toothbrush with a dab of toothpaste. I hadn't heard of the no toothpaste method until my most recent visit to the hygienist. Haven't tried that yet.
Deep cleaning by the hygienist twice per year. My insurance will not pay for visits more frequent then every six months so that's what I do. They try to talk me into three times per year but that is always after they've told me I'm doing a good job cleaning and my teeth are in good shape. So, no.
Brush twice a day with a manual toothbrush, and floss once a day.
That's it. I'm 60 years old with a full set of choppers (some crowned and some filled, of course). Nothing missing or artificial.
Two implants, lower front from the loss, requiring bone graft, 25 years after breaking them in a car accident. There's a deep pocket inbetween that requires a lot of care. Not to mention some crowns that are collection points on my back teeth.
So, now, after years of marginal care, I brush with a sonicare every night and then use a water pik with some listerine thinned into the mix. Cleanings every 3 months. Should floss more, but do try.
I probably could cut back the cleanings now, but I can afford it and it's better than the alternative.
DO NOT USE the Sonicare Airfloss with implants. I got one thinking it would simplify things. But the implants don't have real gum tissue around them. With layers that cling to the teeth. All the Airfloss did was drive debris below the tissue creating an infection. Within a month, I was on antibiotics and rinse trying to clear that up.
Keep in mind, there is a link between poor gum health and other bacterial problems, including heart disease.
"Gum disease—which begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film known as plaque builds up around your teeth—is closely linked to premature birth, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems. "
I was not aware of this finding, from the link above. Avoiding/treating gum disease can save you a fortune in healthcare costs for other health issues.
The savings were especially striking — 74% lower — among pregnant women. The savings came from avoiding the costs associated with premature births, which has been linked to periodontal disease, and other complications. People with cardiovascular disease and diabetes who had their periodontitis treated had health-care costs that were between 20% and 40% lower.
Guess, I'm going to have to get better at flossing.
Some advice from someone with full dentures:
Do everything humanly possible to preserve your own teeth. Dentures are a pain, and substantially degrade quality of life.
I'm lucky I have good genetics because I did go to a dentist from about age 16 to 40. I brush twice a day, sometimes three. I always say I'll start to floss, but never do. When I finally made it to the dentist I had a deep cleaning for some plaque under the gums. Was told that if I floss and have a regular cleaning I shouldn't need a deep cleaning again.
I don't see why you would need a deep cleaning so often. It's pretty invasive.
I was told that the ph determines if you get cavities or plaque. I get cavities and have fillings that fixed them.
I've also been told that brushing is only for fresh breath, that flossing is what's important. You should only floss the teeth you want to keep. You can floss with a piece of yarn and it's better than nothing. I worked with a guy once that flossed with a plastic walmart sack at lunch.
I brush once a day, about 30 seconds or so. I have all my teeth (except my wisdom teeth which were impacted so they were removed) I do have fillings and crowns. I was not always so committed to daily brushing. My family genes did not predict that I would have all my teeth at age 75 but I think the big factor in my favor was good dental care. If your tooth is salvageable a crown saves it. If the cavity is small a filling fixes it. Then, over time, all the most likely places you were going to get dental problems have been fixed. Checkups and cleaning twice a year and daily brushing take care of the rest.
I'm a born-again flosser. I recently had my first dental appointment in YEARS, and found that I need rather expensive ($1200) periodontal treatment.
The good news is, it should solve completely about 90% of the problem. The other good news is, over 50 years since my last cavity (incurred due to chewing bubble gum), I have NO dental problems.
I can't take credit - I was born with an amazing set of chompers.