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In honor of National Dental Health Month, I’m going to let you in on some things you probably don’t know about me. I was a dental hygienist in my former life…ok, well maybe in this life, but it feels like ages ago.
Confession time: I still keep my licenses and the geek in me thoroughly enjoys a day in the clinic from time-to-time. That said, I’ve got some sneaky secrets to share.
5 Secrets I Learned as a Dental Hygienist
1.You have to have dental insurance to have a healthy smile.
That couldn’t be further from the truth! As a dental hygienist, the healthiest mouths I’ve seen were the folks who did their homework (aka brushing and flossing diligently) but only came in once a year. Yeah, once a year that’s what I said. These hard working patients saved the monthly insurance premium, did what they were supposed to home, and paid out of pocket for their visit. They saved both time and cash.
2. Professional whitening is the key to a bright white smile.
Nope, try diluting some hydrogen peroxide twice a week. 1/2 water, 1/2 peroxide and brushing with it. Done! PS, when we have to remove some serious stain in the office, that’s what your dental hygienists are using!
3. The key to strong cavity free teeth is lots and lots (and lots) of fluoride.
Friends, this is a sad and downright dangerous money making lie! That’s right, fluoride is a big money maker for dentists because it’s often not covered by insurance and it’s cheap. Fluoride is linked to kidney disease, cognitive damage, thyroid dysfunction, bone cancer and the list goes on! By all means, refuse the fluoride treatment. It’s what’s best for your health and your wallet. I’m not trying to harp, but please also switch to a fluoride free toothpaste as well. Check for the safest brands here.
Here are my favorite brands:
Earthpaste ~a minty fresh paste
Theodent ~ kid friendly & approved
Agree or disagree, check out these studies on fluoride!
4. Mouthwash is the best way to kill germs and prevent bad breath and periodontal disease.
DIY tip #2, warm salt water is the bomb for your mouth. Germs, especially the dangerous gum disease causing ones really cannot live in a saline environment. (Hint: that’s why it works so well on a sore throat!) Alcohol and other additives in mouthwash are linked to throat cancer (1.) among other issues. If you have a sore in your mouth, are prone to periodontal disease or just need to freshen your breath, rinse with warm water and a tsp of high-quality salt.
5. The doctor (aka dentist) knows best.
Actually, this may surprise you, but that 30-second peak the doc takes around your mouth isn’t how your dentist gained the knowledge of that cavity on your back tooth. It’s because of your dental hygienist who just spent an hour in your stinky mouth (I mean let’s show em some love- it’s a tough job.) She pointed it out to the dentist when she went to get him from his office, but the law says she can’t tell you. She’s often the true guru and reason a problem could go unnoticed if it weren’t for her detail oriented diligence.
Anyone else having a difficult time escaping the face of Stu as you read this?
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Sources: 1. Dental Journal of Australia (December 2008; 53(4): pages 302-305) 2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) (1993). Toxicological Profile for Fluorides, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Fluorine (F). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Service. ATSDR/TP-91/17. 3. Armfield JM and Spencer AJ (2004). Consumption of Nonpublic Water: Implications for Children’s Caries Experience,” Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 32(4): 283–96 4. Arnold HA. (1980). Letter to Dr. Ernest Newbrun. May 28, 1980. http://www.fluoridealert.org/uc-davis.htm 5. Awadia AK, et al. (2002). Caries experience and caries predictors – a study of Tanzanian children consuming drinking water with different fluoride concentrations. Clinical Oral Investigations. (2002) 6:98-103. 6.Bachinskii PP, et al. (1985) Action of the body fluorine of healthy persons and thyroidopathy patients on the function of hypophyseal-thyroid the system. Probl Endokrinol (Mosk) 31: 25-9. 7.Barbier O. (2010) Molecular mechanisms of fluoride toxicity. Chemico-Biological Interactions. 188: 319–333. 8.Barnes GP, et al. (1992). Ethnicity, location, age, and fluoridation factors in baby bottle tooth decay and caries prevalence of Head Start children. Public Health Reports. 107: 167-73. 9.Beltrán-Aguilar ED et al. (2010). Prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis in the United States, 1999-2004. NCHS DataBrief No. 53. U.S. DHHS, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics. 10.Beltrán-Aguilar ED et al. (2005). Surveillance for dental caries, dental sealants, tooth retention, endentulism, and enamel fluorosis—United States, 1988- 1994 and 1999-2002. CDC, MMWR, Surveillance Summaries, August 26, vol. 54, No SS-3, pp. 1-44. See Table 23. 11.Bentley EM, et al. (1999). Fluoride ingestion from toothpaste by young children. British Dental Journal. 186: 460-2.
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust. MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, or as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your advising physician before starting any treatment for a medical condition. Real Nutritious Living, LLC shall not be held liable or responsible for any misunderstanding or misuse of the information contained on this site or for any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by any treatment, action, or application of any food or food source discussed in this site.