Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to learn how to brush your teeth like an adult.
Level of Commitment: Baby Steps
I’m rating this one as “baby steps” because you don’t have to buy anything new or find more time in your already-packed day to complete the mission, but it’s far from simple.
That phrase about “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is very applicable here, at least for me.
Imagine how many times you’ve probably brushed your teeth in your life:
Your Age x 365 x 2 (give or take a few misses) = A LOT!
You most certainly have a habit of how you brush.
For me, it’s in a pattern, bottom to top, and FAST. In fact, both my husband and I have been chastised in recent years by our dentists that we’re brushing our teeth too hard and wearing away our gums.
I have a feeling plenty of overworked, overtired, people – especially busy parents – have the same problem! It seems more efficient if you brush harder and move the brush itself faster, no?
Our family received a family pack of Bass toothbrushes from my affiliate partner, Orawellness, a few months ago and watched their Bass brushing technique video one night as I was making dinner.
I was totally fascinated.
I know, super dork, fascinated by a video of someone brushing his teeth. I might as well be in kindergarten during “Dental Health Week” learning how to brush my teeth and getting stickers or something, but once I tell you about it, I think you’ll agree.
And I bet you’ll have a hard time learning a new trick, too, since you’ve likely been brushing your teeth in the same way since you were a child, just like me — but I’m glad I’m working at it.
Welcome to “Oral Health Week” at Kitchen Stewardship!
Bass Brushing Technique
You can watch the video here:
If you can’t see the video above, view it at You Tube HERE.
For those of you who might not have 8 minutes and are quick readers (raises hand), here’s a synopsis:
The Bass Brushing Technique is scientifically proven to “disrupt, disorganize, and remove the bad bugs that cause gum disease in our mouth.”
Dr. Bass was a young but very bright and successful physician.
He was diagnosed with advanced gum disease and recommended to have all his teeth pulled.
He turned to science instead.
He took swabs from his own mouth and studied them to see the gum disease causing bacteria. He had lots!
He then did experiments to figure out how best to remove or kill the bad bacteria. He would swab his mouth, count the bacteria, brush in a certain way, then swab and count again, until he found the most effective method.
He learned some things about oral health:
The bad bugs hang out along the gum line.
Toothbrushes weren’t doing the job, because they had too many bristles and mashed the bacteria around on the teeth.
The solution to the toothbrush problem was to pull bristles out until he got a toothbrush that could get in along the gum line and root out the bad bacteria. The result is the Bass toothbrush, which admittedly looks a bit “dollar store” at first glance, but it has fewer bristles and rounded tips that won’t etch the enamel on the teeth or irritate the gums. (One of the most common signs of gum disease is receding gums caused by brushing too hard with stiff bristles.) Um…I guess that’s why even though I’m young and healthy, I’m in that statistic that says that 90% of Americans have some form of gum disease. Darn.
See how far apart the bristles are? Compare this to your toothbrush, I dare you. Go on, hold it up to the screen now.
The technique Dr. Bass found to work the best is now called the “Bass Brushing Technique,” and it works like this:
Brush along the gum line, angled in, where the teeth rise up out of the gums.
Use “micromovements,” very small back-and-forth vibrating motions.
Children don’t have the fine motor control to do these tiny movements (and parents may not have the patience, but that’s fixable).
Count to five in each position before moving on.
You can do the technique with a conventional toothbrush, although it doesn’t seem to be quite as effective since there are too many bristles to be able to wiggle down between the teeth and gums.
The happy ending? Dr. Bass died an old man with all his teeth in his mouth, even though he was supposed to lose them as a young man.
The way I understand it is a paradigm shift:
The way I used to think about brushing my teeth was that it was the chance to get the food out of my teeth so that the bad bacteria didn’t have food to eat. I focused on the chewing surfaces of my molars as the most important areas.
Now I think about brushing the bacteria themselves away (and the food too, but not as the primary or only goal). I focus on the gum line and getting around all my teeth thoroughly, using micromovements and gentle fingers.
That part is so hard! I want to just grab the toothbrush in my fist and power through, but I have to force myself to use my fingertips, move the brush quickly but not very far, and stay in one for a count of five.
Two Drops to Brush Your Teeth
The Orawellness brushing blend of anti-bacterial botanicals works to kill the bad bacteria while you’re brushing along the gum line. Just like the Bass technique is a totally new habit, using two drops of mostly essential oils is a very different experience from a conventional toothpaste that fills your mouth with foam.
There’s no foaming up, no bubbles, no big squeeze of pink or blue on your toothbrush…but you DO get that “fresh” feeling after brushing, because the ingredients in the brushing blend are organic and wildcrafted essentials oils of:
…in a base of organic almond oil.
Check out this article for an explanation about why each ingredient is included. They are mainly antibacterial but work on different types of bacteria with various effectiveness, and some are soothing/healing. It’s kind of fascinating, really. Plus, talk about minty freshness!
Even my husband, who is the world’s greatest skeptic when it comes to this natural schtuff, says he thinks (a) the toothbrush really does get more off/out of the teeth than a normal brush, and (b) the brushing blend makes his teeth feel squeaky clean and very fresh. I think he uses the stuff more consistently than anyone else in the family, which is very rare for our new “natural” options.
You could even whip up some homemade toothpaste, which is still on my to-do list; probably not going to get around to that until after our son’s First Communion this weekend – exciting! I want to make the tooth powder from Heather Dessinger’s DIY Organic Beauty Recipes (still 20% off with the code KS20 through the end of April – my review HERE).
If you’re curious about what the KS kids think, they say the brushing blend is a “little too spicy” for their liking. My son can handle it but wouldn’t prefer it, and after the novelty wore off of the first time or two for my daughter, she’d really rather not use it. (I have a solution for that coming in a giveaway Wednesday!!)
I’m hoping we find the time tonight to make our own video of the Bass technique, because as much as I appreciated the Orawellness video, I want something closer up and with narration while brushing. If we get to it, I’ll post tomorrow!
Orawellness also put out a “HealThy Mouth Summit” back in January that was amazing. If you have serious oral health issues or questions, you may want to look at the list of topics and speakers and carve out some time to listen. I’ll be sharing what I learned from Dr. Bruce Fife about oil pulling later this week.
Other Oral Health Posts:
- My Experience with Oil Pulling – for Sensitive Teeth
- Safe Toothpaste – SLS, fluoride, artificial sweeteners, and other things to avoid
- Natural Toothpaste Reviews
- Oil Pulling Successes and Tips
- Fluoridated Water – is There a Safe Level of Fluoride?
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Orawellness and DIY recipes from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.