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Oral Hygiene

By Pebbles Mendoza

In today’s world it’s extremely difficult to know whether articles on social media are fake news or not. I read something about toothpastes that looked as if it was an official posting from a medical website or journal, but on delving further, it turned out to be utter nonsense - completely untrue and made up. I seriously can’t understand why people take the time to do such things, especially as it was extremely well-written and professionally presented for maximum effect. So why did an obviously intelligent and talented person do such a thing? There must be an ulterior motive somewhere, but I can’t think what.

The article highlighted the fact that different toothpaste tubes have color-coded marks on the crimped end. It went on to say that these markings indicate what the toothpaste is made of, and how damaging the ingredients can be to our health. Many toothpaste manufacturers had to go to great lengths to disprove what was said about their products.

Some people believe that cleaning their teeth with a mixture of baking soda and salt is good for them. Supposedly it cleans and brightens your teeth. But considering how much time and money has been spent on research and development of toothpaste products, I’d far rather rely on the trusted brands that we can readily buy today.

When fluoride was first introduced to toothpaste, it made the headlines and was heavily promoted in every form of advertising possible. Pictures of smiling, beautiful faces adorned every billboard, magazine, newspaper and TV screen across the globe. It was a revelation.

It also contributed to a massive drop in tooth decay. Fluoride fights bacteria by strengthening the enamel on our teeth, thereby protecting them from acid damage. In turn, this stops bacteria in our mouths from breeding and feeding on sugars and starches left after eating food. The American Dental Association recommends brushing our teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

As mentioned above, many dental associations and articles on oral hygiene advise that we brush our teeth at least twice daily, and whenever possible, after each meal. I find that brushing my teeth before I eat refreshes my mouth and actually makes me taste and appreciate the food better. That’s not to say that I don’t brush after meals as well, but when I know I am going for a tasty meal, I know it will taste better if I clean my teeth first.

I once attended a wine-tasting event at a top hotel in Makati. There were several well-known wine connoisseurs in attendance. One of them, a French gentleman, insisted on brushing his teeth between changing from tasting the red to white wines. I later asked him why and he answered in the same way as I did above. He said it enabled him to taste the wines better.

When you brush your teeth properly, you remove food and plaque from your teeth and stop any build-up of bacteria. Any presence of bacteria in our mouth produces acids that attack our teeth’s enamel. This will end up causing cavities, tooth decay, and the dreaded pain that a bad tooth gives us.

We need to look after our teeth and care about oral hygiene on a daily basis. In addition to brushing our teeth after meals, doing the following also helps keep our mouth healthy.

  • Flossing once a day

  • Drinking lots of water

  • Not snacking between meals

  • Avoiding acidic food and drink

As well as cleaning our teeth, toothpaste has a multitude of other uses.

  • When our kids are small, they have the habit of discarding drawing books and taking their crayons and pencils straight to the nearest living room wall. Rub a little white toothpaste on the affected area, leave for a few minutes, and then rub off with a sponge.

  • If you have any old photos from before digital cameras were invented, it’s easy to stick them onto your bedroom wall by putting a small blob of toothpaste onto each corner.

  • After coming inside from the garden or beach, get some relief from any bites and stings by rubbing them with a little toothpaste.

  • Minor burns can also be soothed by applying a dab or two directly onto the burn.

  • As my teenage daughter can attest, toothpaste helps dry out acne by removing oil from the skin.

  • It can also be used to polish everything from metal kitchen and bathroom fittings to jewelry.

So the next time you are at the drugstore, pick up an extra tube of toothpaste. You never know when it might come in handy.


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