“Don’t marry someone unless they have all their teeth.”
That old-fashioned, farm country wedding advice may make you laugh a little or reflect on simpler times gone by, but the reality is that the health of one’s teeth is a pretty darn good indicator of their overall physical health.
I’m proud that my family all sports original pearly whites, which makes us great marryin’ material.
When I was in college and had a different dentist than that of my youth, Dr. J. made me feel like a rock star with all the compliments he’d give on how great my teeth were. I felt invincible.
When I went to my husband’s childhood dentist after we got married, he was singing a different tune.
My teeth checked out fine, but he used an electronic evaluation tool on my teeth that beeped when a cavity was evident. I left the office with two filled cavities and a chip on my shoulder.
I still refer to that machine as, “the money machine.”
Beep-bee-beep! Money in this tooth, ha ha!
I was only too happy to move into our starter home and switch dentists. We found a compassionate doc and a hygienist we really loved and spent about 6 years with that office. We started our family and took our first two children to their first checkups with this dentist, and we were very happy with the bedside manner, the time he would take to listen and explain, and the absence of a machine to find money in my teeth.
My oral health saw some of the greatest changes during this period:
- Sore/bleeding gums: likely from the stress on the body of pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Teeth grinding: I grind at night pretty badly, and it finally really affected my teeth with some chipping in the very front.
- Teething: Not kidding. My wisdom teeth actually began to grow in after I had children. Bizarre!
No cavities during this time, and the dentist recommended a bite splint for the grinding and that I get my wisdom teeth out, but I just wasn’t interested in either one. Too cheap for the bite splint, too much “mom” to want to put myself out of commission for a few days. Wouldn’t everything fall apart without me?
When we moved two years ago, we couldn’t rationalize a 45-minute drive to the dentist’s, so even though we didn’t want to, we had to switch dentists again.
This time – fiasco. Plain and simple. I felt as if anything I said was denigrated or ignored, shuffled to the side as the “crunchy one.”
Oil pulling? Why of course that’s just silly.
No fluoride? You’ll get cavities for sure.
The Bass brushing technique? Heard of it once back in school….moving on to another topic.
I even felt completely hoodwinked at the end of my appointment when I was cajoled into having X-rays I didn’t want in order to see what the wisdom teeth were doing after I explained that I really wasn’t interested in having them out at this time. After the X-rays, doc informed me that any oral surgeon would only consider them recent enough in the next 6 months, and my insurance would only cover them every 5 years, so I’d better make the appointment soon.
Are you kidding me???
Guess who’s in the market for a new dentist?
My New Fancy Toothbrush
Just as my teeth (and dentists) have changed over the years, it makes sense that the way I brush might mature as well.
As much as I trust that a good diet will help my level of oral health considerably, I know that (a) my diet is far from perfect, (b) I still have years of poor(ish) eating to combat and (c) time passes no one over. My gums are “receding,” I’ve experienced tooth sensitivity that wasn’t always there before, and I certainly could get better at making sure I actually brush my teeth twice a day. (I hope other stay-at-home moms understand that! Some days it’s lunchtime and I’m realizing we never really finished the morning routine.)
In that light, I want to take the best care of my mouth as I can.
I do practice oil pulling, although not as often as I would like. It just slips my mind or I don’t have time.
And most recently (the past year or so), my husband and I have been using the Bass brushing technique. The technique relies on brushing with small micro-motions and an angle right along the base of the teeth, using a special toothbrush designed to really get into the gumline (the “pockets” that basically are receding gums). The toothbrush has rounded tops on each set of bristles, rather than flat.
All the features were designed by a young doctor who was told his gingivitis was so bad, he’d have to have all his teeth pulled. He proceeded to answer with science and tested his own mouth for bacteria counts after brushing countless different ways with different styles of brushes. Read more here…
After about a year of using the brushes, I can say I am still a fan, but my one challenge is slowing down enough to do the method properly. I just want to plow through the task of “brushing teeth” with gusto, attacking my mouth with a toothbrush and getting it over with quickly. (That, by the way, is how you get receding gums. Bad idea.) Note: We do use Earthpaste toothpaste when I don’t have the patience for the Bass technique, probably about 50/50.
My mom found out that her “pockets” were getting deeper at her last dental checkup (i.e. the gums are receding further) and was curious about our fancy toothbrushes.
We sanitized mine and she tried it, and with an almost wistful tone with a hint of surprise, she said, “This…this is really something special.” She could totally feel the difference compared to a normal toothbrush!
Because I’m a practical dork, I got her the Orawellness HealThy Mouth system for Christmas. I asked her how she was liking it so far, and she sent this:
“I like the way the Orawellness brush bristles gently fit around each tooth and the shorter handle discourages brute strength for brushing. I am liking this brush! I also like the essential oil brushing blend. It does a great job of giving me slippery (therefore clean) teeth with a great taste.”
(If you check out that product, FYI you have to “Add to cart” to see the price. You won’t have to buy just because you click “add to cart.” It’s about $75 currently.)
I’m so tickled that my mom is liking the brush and system, and I knew I wanted to share the oral health topic with you all again. I asked Orawellness what special deal they could offer my readers, and I really like what we came up with:
You’ll get free shipping on any starter kit, including a Bass toothbrush, essential oil brushing blend, and tongue cleaner (you already save a few bucks on the kit). Click HERE to see the deal!
To get free shipping, just click the $3.95 standard shipping at the left and the total will automatically come off your order; see below.
If you want to add more to your order than just the starter kit, see this comment for another option.
If you really like the Bass technique, you can do it with any old toothbrush, but it’s not quite as effective (but still better than the plowing through it method). As my mom found out, the essential oils really get the teeth clean without any fillers/toxins and the toothbrush is…something special.
Update on my teeth: A reader asked what my oral health is like now (good question!). I still have some sensitivity but very rare, just if a bit of prune or date gets down in the gum area. No cavities since the money machine 10 years ago!! Still stubbornly have my wisdom teeth (that part of the story was only 6 mos. ago). And actually, I totally was “teething” a little a few weeks ago and could feel the one that is not fully grown in coming in a little more!! Dentist told me it would never move. Phooey on that (and another reason I couldn’t wait to cancel our appointments this month with him!).
How about you? What challenges do your teeth give you? Have you tried anything like the Bass system before?