Happy Monday! How's everyone day going so far? Mine is going fairly well. I'm just taking it easy after all the excitement of having a new release. I always forget how tiring it is.
Today's Meredith's Monday Musing post is something that is near and dear to my heart: Teeth!
One thing that connects every person in the world is we all have teeth. Some people have baby teeth, some have adult teeth, others have dentures, but guess what, those count as teeth too! Since we all have teeth, it's really important that we take care of them. Imagine having to walk around with a mouth that didn't have any teeth. It'd be hard to speak, eat, you'd be concerned about your appearance, etc. So teeth are good and we want to keep them for as long as possible.
I'm sure that everyone has heard this before, but everyone should be brushing their teeth at least twice a day. Why is this important? Bacteria like to sit on our teeth and eat them. So when one brushes their teeth, you displace the bacteria so they can't make any holes in your teeth, which is also known as a cavity. (Remember to also brush your gums when you brush your teeth twice a day and to spit out the foam into the sink when you're done).
Along with brushing twice a day, we should floss once a day too! Now, I'm sure that everyone has heard this before, but the majority don't do it every day. I get that. Flossing is annoying, it takes time and it's really not fun having to get between the nooks and crannies of your teeth, but it is so important. There are bacteria that can hide in between your teeth and when they aren't displaced, they can cause a cavity on the side of your tooth. When dentists have to fill that area, they end up having to remove good tooth surface to get to that decayed area.
Also, make sure to try and visit the dentist at least once a year, if not twice. I know, if you don't have insurance, going to a dentist can be expensive. However, it's important to go because the dentist will do a check of your teeth and tell you if they see any cavities or bone loss. It's a lot cheaper to pay going to that dentist and having to do a small filling then waiting and having to pay for a root canal and crown later.
Now that we've gone over the basics and why we should do them, let's talk about some dental conspiracies. Here's my favorite one: fluoride is bad for you. People are right when they say that. If a person were to eat like a huge solid chunk of fluoride they'd get seriously sick and possibly die! But guess what, the amount of fluoride that is in people's water, food, toothpaste, etc it's like 1 gram of fluoride. So you aren't going to die by eating or drinking things with fluoride in it. People get sick if they eat toothpaste because there are other things inside of it besides fluoride. My best example to make people understand this is too much potassium can kill a person, yet everyone still eats bananas. That's because bananas contain a little bit of potassium and not enough to kill you. As long as you don't OD on fluoride or potassium, they're okay for you.
Another conspiracy is oil pulling. There are individuals who believe that they can swish a form of oil in their mouth (coconut, olive, sunflower, etc) for twenty minutes twice a day and that'll take care of their teeth. Here are my two issues with it. One, there's no scientific proof to back up their claims. There is scientific proof that it doesn't work, but not any scientific proof that it does work. Secondly, if patients won't take the four minutes in a day it takes to brush their teeth, do people really think they'll take forty minutes to swish oil around in their mouth? Come on. If anyone ever comes to me and says that they believe in doing this, I say great, as long as they also make sure to brush their teeth twice a day too.
Another conspiracy is that x-rays are bad for you. X-rays are the number way that dentists use to diagnose if a patient has any cavities or bone loss. With modern technology today, most dentists are now using either digital x-rays or regular film that minimizes the amount of radiation it requires to expose the image. Here's the truth, having x-rays taken once a year, you'll get probably about the same amount of radiation with the x-rays as you'd get for laying in a tanning bed for five minutes. I'm not even joking. It's that little and x-rays are so important for the dentists to have so they can help diagnose any cavities or bone loss.
Moving past the conspiracies, here are some helpful tips:
If you throw up often, don't brush your teeth after every time. Instead, after every time, rinse with a glass of lukewarm water that has one teaspoon of baking soda mixed in it. This will just help swish some of the stomach acid away and the baking soda will neutralize any stomach acid that decides to cling to your teeth. Don't swallow the water! Make sure to brush your teeth two times a day still.
You don't have to use toothpaste to brush your teeth. OMG! The point of brushing your teeth is to displace the bacteria, so it can't cling to your teeth and eat a hole in them. So, if you want to just wet your toothbrush and gently brush your teeth, that'll work the same as brushing your teeth with toothpaste. HOWEVER, using toothpaste is awesome because one, it'll make your breath smell fresh. No one wants to kiss someone with smelly breath. Two, it gives your teeth some fluoride to help strengthen them.
If you have a little one at home and they brush their teeth with the normal amount of toothpaste and they swallow it, you don't have to freak. Just give them a cup of milk. The calcium in the milk will neutralize the fluoride that they just digested. They'll still probably have a bit of an upset stomach, but it's not anything to take them to the doctor for. However, if they eat an entire tube of toothpaste, CALL YOUR DOCTOR!
That's all I have for today. Happy Monday, everyone!