Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to Get Healthy Teeth for Your Wedding (and, um, the rest of your life)

This is a wedding blog and I am going to talk about taking care of your teeth. But I need to clarify: this post is not about how to have pearly whites so you look all bright and shiny on the "Most Important Day of Your Life."

First of all, our weddings are not the most important days of our lives. They are just one of many awesome days.

Secondly, there are way more important reasons to take care of our teeth other than looking more photogenic on our wedding days. Namely, to have a lifetime of solid dental health!

You may be wondering if I am actually qualified to write said post about proper dental health. No, I don't have any relevant degrees or any relevant work experience. I just happen to be obsessed with dental hygiene because I come from a long line of poor gums (and I have an abnormally high aversion toward getting dental work done).

So, when I went to the dentist for my regular check-up, I seized the opportunity to grill her about how to best take care of my teeth (yes, all my chatter did slow down the cleaning process a bit). In care you're interested, here's what she said:
  1. Be sure to brush at least twice a day for two minutes. CHECK.
  2. Be sure to floss at least once a day. CHECK.
  3. Buy a Sonicare to ensure high quality brushing. She said in her experience this particular brand is superior.
  4. Don't brush your teeth right after eating citrus (it will remove the enamel) but do swish some water around to get the citrus off your teeth.
  5. Don't drink a lot of sugary drinks or chew a lot of sugary gum. CHECK and CHECK.

I'm eager to invest in a fancy toothbrush, based on her recommendation. I'm also going to start brushing the inside of my teeth first, since those areas seem to have more problems. If I start with them first, I will be more likely to concentrate on them.

How does your dental routine measure up? What are you doing well? What do you wish you would do differently? Any other ideas for the rest of us about taking care of our teeth?

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Mallory said...

Ugh I have a high aversion to the dentist as well.

While my gums are typically ok, I have a pretty high rate of cavities considering how well I take care of my teeth.

I have most of those things down from you list - I have an electric toothbrush but I may switch to sonicare.

I also just wanted to note a slight amendment to number 4- remember that this includes any acidic food, not necessarily just citrus so things like wine and coffee should be remembered as well.

great post!

Unknown said...

I floss probably about twice a week, which is better than not at all but still I know I should do it more. I use a tongue scraper on occasion!

Sophie said...

I have been following this advice forever. However, there are problems that required visiting the dentist. I have no insurance (healthcare is free in Canada, so few employers offer insurance and most people are stuck paying for their dental and eye care out-of-pocket). I have an overbite, 3 impacted canines, 4 impacted wisdom teeth, and countless chipped teeth. I live with it because I can't afford the braces that would correct all this, but I follow the basic hygiene advice so I don't make it worse.

jillybean said...

we splurged on a sonicare about 2 years ago and, now, brushing with a manual version doesn't feel like it gets the job done.
They are an investment, but:
they have a great warranty. We sent ours back after about 1 year and got a new once quickly, no questions asked.
We share the sonicare; we have our own heads for it, so we just switch them out when its the other person's turn.

Even with my black tea addiction, my last few visits to the dentist have be very complimentary.

Brite Lines said...

My sonicare is awesome, I highly recommend it. Before I got it I averaged spending about $1000 A YEAR on getting cavities filled and other horrible dental work. The number of cavities and other problems I've had has reduced drastically since I started using it. Also, it times for 2 minutes, so you really can't avoid doing it right!

Sara Sheehy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara said...

I had to laugh when I saw this post - first because you are in my "wedding" section of Google Reader (and it was just hilarious to see a dental post) and two, because I was flossing my teeth last night and thinking "I REALLY need to go to the dentist."

I hate the dentist too. With an undying passion. I have used a Sonicare Pro for a few years, and I agree with Jillybean, a manual toothbrush doesn't feel like it even works anymore. And the buzzer at 2 minutes is a big help.

For all you "I always have cavities" people out there, know you're not alone. I follow all these steps, and I'm still the cavity queen. A few years ago my dentist told me the root of my problems - my enamel didn't form correctly. It doesn't look any different, but when I was getting my adult teeth in apparently I had something as benign as a fever, or an illness, etc, that disrupted my enamel hardening. So there you go. Sometimes you're just destined to have cavity teeth.

qasiaraine said...

Ok...first YAY! I can actually see your blog again. My work blocks it on a random basis for some reason...some days I can get to it, others I can't. It's been a long streak of can't.

Second, I think I'm the only person I've ever met who LOVES the dentist. I attribute it to never having a cavity or any other horrible mouth work and as a kid my dentist gave me toys. I was trained well.

One thing about the Sonicare...for me and a number of people I know, as soon as we started using it, our gums started receding. Since I never had any other dental issues, I just stopped using it and went back to the good old fashioned toothbrush...and the gums stabilized. Most people I know haven't had this problem...just something to watch for.

"T-Bone" Lee said...

I too am obsessed with dental hygiene and in the last few years started getting cavities and was DEVASTATED. But I floss!! I brush perfectly!!! With an electric toothbrush!!! I get compliments on my home care at the dentist, but alas cavities. I was told it was because as I was getting older (i'm only 28!!) my teeth were losing their minerals (i eat SO healthy!) and softening. bummer. So i started rinsing with ACT restoring mouthwash...helped for a couple visits....but now I'm on to prescription fluoride toothpaste from the dentist. You don't rinse afterward and you floss first. If you're crazy about brushing and flossing but still getting cavities it's a good idea to talk to your dentist about prescription toothpaste. It's way more powerful than ACT and they said it will help restore my teeth's strength. Here's hoping.

Therese T. said...

I actually have very poor dental hygiene and had to have some small cavities filled this past Easter break :/ My Dad recommends a Waterpik, but I am not too eager to get one. I brush my teeth once a day but gargle twice, and I floss when I remember to. Told you it's bad.

Elizabeth said...

TEETH! And waterpiks!! This is exactly where I am at today. I was 5 minutes away from visiting my dentist for the first time in nearly two years today when I was notified that he had a doctor's appointment at the same time. I love going to the dentist so much I felt like someone just stole my paycheck -- but my late grandfather was a dentist and I think that has a lot to do with it. I have never had a cavity and use to always get compliments on my super white teeth up until the last two years. Now they have been victimized by too much coffee and hot tea to fund the uncountable grad school all-nighters. While I just graduated last week and have since cut out one of the two evils (hot tea and I have a thing though and I am not ready to let go), my teeth are bearing the evidence of my poor dental health. I noticed recently that they have tons of cracks running through them when I shine the light on them (I have been doing my own dental care at home with my papa's old equipment) and they look thin. It has devastated me, and I want my pearls back, for my wedding and beyond. I have rescheduled with a new dentist for next week. I plan to give the new doc the 10th degree and will let you know if I get any sage advice not already mentioned here. But the waterpik is amazing -- My dad has depended on them for as long as I can remember. They are especially great if you have tight little teeth that are difficult to floss between, and are super safe. I highly recommend them for better gum health.

Rosanna said...

As far as my routine is involved, it goes like this:

1. Hydrofloss whenever I can (3-5 times a day)
2. electric toothbrush (Oral-B)
3. xylitol spray when I can't brush (I don't use chewing gums because chewing too much can give you gingivitis!)
4. proper flossing at least once a day (I use Glide Deep Clean and Thornton for under the bridge)
5. night guard with a soothing gel for the night

Whenever my gums are irritated/bleeding I either use a chlorexedine based gel or a chlorexedine based mouthwash.

Oh, and don't forget massive doses of vitamin C to avoid gingivitis.

Also, once you do get gingivitis try the Perio laser (it does work!!!).

Tamara said...

My boyfriend graduates from dental school in two weeks! And I can proudly say I've never had a cavity. These are all great tips. Also, don't suck on hard cnadies (lollypops are killer). The electric toothbrushes are great. I always brush the inside of my bottom front teeth first because that is where the most plaque builds up because that's where saliva gathers. If using a manual toothbrush, don't brush too hard because you will cause receding gums which you cannot reverse. Also use a soft headed toothbrush. Brush your tongue (freshens breath!). Wear mouthguards when playing sports. Don't use your teeth as "scissors" to open things.

25th anniversary invitations said...

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Krista - BecomingMrsDial said...

Our wedding is in 22 days and yesterday I made my first trip to the dentist in three years. Holy cow! Thankfully everything looked good with the exception of a minor minor ALMOST cavity. (It was so minor they didn't even have to numb me or put in filling. Just some more sealant.) You betcha I'm scheduling regular 6 month checkups from now on, friends.

Megancake said...

My dentist also told me about Xylitol's benefit on teeth, it helps to kill the bacteria which causes decay. Now I make it a point to chew sugar free gum with xylitol in it after eating if I cannot brush. I know certain Trident gums have it but not all, most of the gums you can buy at whole foods have it though, just check the label.

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