Straight Teeth Talk: Recipe for healthy mouth
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By Mac LeeHave you ever had a cavity or suffered from gum disease? Unfortunately, the answer is yes for most people, but it doesn't need to be. We now know we can prevent decay by following some very basic steps. Simply follow my recipe for a healthy mouth, and you'll literally be able to kiss cavities and sore gums goodbye, forever.
Some of these ingredients may be new to you, but most are available at your local grocery or drug store. Others can be found at health food stores or easily purchased online. Empower yourself, and take the time to learn and follow my easy recipe. Take charge of your oral care.
Clean, soft toothbrush with small cup for storage and disinfection
Crest regular toothpaste (Nothing fancy, tartar control or extra whitening not needed)
Listerine antiseptic mouthwash (any flavor will do, but without bleaching agent)
ACT fluoride rinse
CloSYS antiseptic oral rinse
Sugar-free gum, mints or candies made with xylitol, an all-natural sweetener that actually protects teeth from decay. Xylitol products can be found at Organic Emporium in Victoria or visit www.xylitol.org for more information.
Decay-causing bacteria are quite smart. If they were free floating, they would not cause much damage, but the sneaky microbes join together in a mass and form a sticky colony called a biofilm. The biofilm secrets a slimy mucous that acts as a roof protecting the billions of bacteria, so they can attack gums and teeth. If the biofilm is left long enough, the calcium in the saliva deposits itself in the sticky goo, becoming hardened calculus.
Perform these easy instructions before bed, after your last food or beverage, then again in the morning, after breakfast.
Use CloSYS Rinse for 30 seconds before brushing, concentrating on back molars. This is a unique product, which targets acidic areas in the mouth where plaque has formed. It interferes and breaks up the biofilm and plaque making it easier to brush away.
Brush your gums and teeth with a small (pea size) amount of Crest regular paste. Always use a soft tooth brush so you can brush your gums along with your teeth. If the bristles aren't soft, they will hurt your gums and the brain will tell the hand to brush in a way that it misses this important area.
Rinse for 30 seconds to one minute with "liquid floss" Listerine mouthwash.
Rinse for 30 seconds with ACT Rinse.
Disinfect your toothbrush by swishing in ounce of Listerine, rinse off, and store bristle side up in a cup.
Between daily brushings expose your teeth to Xylitol gum, mints and candies. To be effective you must enjoy Xylitol based products at least 3-5 a day. This can be in any form (gum, mints, candies, sweeteners, etc.) whatever fits your lifestyle.
Remember the mantra: "BRUSH YOUR GUMS, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, BRUSH YOUR GUMS, BRUSH YOUR TEETH." If you get the gums clean, you will get the teeth clean. If you do this, your teeth will not only feel great, they will be protected from getting new decay. It's very important this recipe is followed at least once in the morning and before going to sleep. If you want to really do a great job, do these steps after you eat and or snack. Most of my patients who just love to have clean teeth find themselves losing weight. They don't snack because they don't want to get their teeth dirty.
My recipe for a healthy mouth is geared towards pre-teens into adulthood, but that doesn't mean good oral care doesn't start in infancy.
In very young children (when the first tooth erupts until they learn to spit on their own), you need to brush their teeth with a child's toothpaste containing no fluoride. This is very important because ingesting too much fluoride is not a good thing and is actually bad for teeth.
At bedtime, you should again brush their teeth, but this time with ACT Rinse made especially for children. Use just a small amount of rinse and brush for one minute.
When children are old enough to spit, around the age of four, they need to brush with Crest regular paste morning and night. At night children should also rinse for 30 seconds with ACT. Their toothbrushes should be disinfected, as well.
Children should also take advantage of Xylitol products. There are mints, suckers and gum made especially with young people in mind, and children should aim to enjoy these three to five times a day. Finally, provide a sweet treat you can be happy to give a child.
Dr. Mac Lee practices dentistry in Edna. His website, www.drmaclee.com is dedicated to sharing common sense dental education for the public. If you have dental questions, please visit the site or call him at 361-782-7191.