Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO/Avoid the dentist

Marjorie Spitz RentoComment

True confession: I hate going to the dentist. I'm a huge advocate for preventative health, but when it comes to the dentist I shudder. The sounds of the equipment, the bright lights, the hands in my mouth, and the drool totally skeeve me out.

Leading up to a dental appointment I actually engage in deep calmative practices (and take Sam-e) to keep myself from jumping out of the dental chair. Why don't dentists put interesting artwork or lava-lamp type distractions on the ceiling? But I digress.

I take great pleasure in eating and if you do too, maintaining good oral health will allow you to chomp on yummy food and drink until you hit the grave. That’s a goal of mine at least (that and good breath).

If your gums bleed, you have sudden teeth sensitivity, excessive mouth dryness, and/or bad breath, it’s time to up your oral hygiene routine.

So today I will share some teeth health tips to help you maintain good oral health and limit the time in the dental chair.

 “Tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease are caused by colonies of bacteria that constantly coat the teeth with a sticky film called plaque. If plaque is not brushed away, these bacteria break down the sugars and starches in foods to produce acids that wear away the tooth enamel. The plaque also hardens into tartar, which can lead to gum inflammation, or gingivitis.”

If you do nothing else, adopt proper brushing techniques and floss daily.

By proper, I mean at least twice a day, using a soft toothbrush, and be sure to brush your gums (apparently “more teeth are lost through gum disease than through tooth decay”) and tongue. As demonstrated in this video, use a 45-degree angle, and go vertical too. 2 minutes should do it! If your toothbrush is frayed, replace it immediately.

Flossing is critical to get in those in between nooks and crannies and remove lingering food particles and bacteria. Prior to bedtime is ideal if you only want to integrate flossing once per day.

Do a visual scan of your teeth and notice any spots or discoloration, which could indicate a cavity.

Drinking water has so many health benefits and oral health is one of them. Drink lots of water to continue to flush away debris and neutralize acid.

And of course, maintain a proper diet. According to an article from Colgate’s oral health center, there are many foods that can improve the health of your mouth (hint: sugar is NOT one of them).

For example, don’t have a toothbrush? Eat celery. It “scrapes food particles and bacteria away from your teeth… and is a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost.” Yogurt (because of the probiotics which promote healthy bacteria) and even cheese (because of the high pH factor. Note: “pH stands for ‘potential of Hydrogen’ and is a measure of acidity or alkalinity of water soluble substances”) are on the list!

Enjoy foods like carrots that entail lots of chewing to encourage saliva production (saliva production is good because it “neutralizes plaque, promotes remineralization through the increased release of calcium and phosphate ions, and assists in lubricating tissues in the oral cavity”).

Incorporate nutritious chewy foods with calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, C and D, but avoid sticky foods like nugget or lots of dried fruits that will stick between teeth. 

If it’s been awhile, pick up the phone and make a dental appointment so they can get in there and scrape off any lingering plaque (ick!). Go at least once a year, but ideally every 6 months. I’m already psyching myself up for my August appointment, but for now, pass the celery please.

Toothfully yours,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™