If you thought sugar was confusing, then how about your dental routine? Do you brush after, or before breakfast? When do you use mouthwash or floss? Oh and don’t forget those inter-dental fuzzy things that you should also be using. Baffling eh? After a dentist grilling and some personal research, I’m proposing the perfect dental routine to help you recover from you sugar sins.
Having a sweet tooth for most of my life, I certainly have the fillings to show for it. Years of strawberry crunch cereal and frequent dried apricots throughout the day took their toll.
Yesterday I went to the dentist. Now, since I kind of ‘quit’ sugar, I’ve been given the all clear during my past few check ups. What a major perk to cutting sugar this has been. Unfortunately, my past came back to haunt me and a few weeks ago, a filling fell out. I found myself under the dreaded needle once again, cursing every chocolate eclair I’ve ever eaten and swearing to myself I’m going to do everything possible never to endure such an experience ever again.
Getting a better dental routine
Here is a simplified cumulation of my research, accompanied by my random comments on practicability and what I intend to change.
- Brush teeth before breakfast (2mins, preferably with an electric toothbrush)
- Eat breakfast
- Use a mouthwash
I knew you shouldn’t brush your teeth straight after breakfast because the enamel is weak (especially if you’ve eaten fruit). I’ve always liked to brush afterwards so I go out feeling minty fresh, so I’ve usually just waited a while (30mins-1hr). Both the dentist and my research confirms that you should brush before breakfast and use a mouthwash after. This adds in an extra step, it’s a change to my routine and it’s a bit of a pain, but I’m going to give it a go.
Throughout the day
- Use mouthwash after lunch or your mid morning snack e.g. fruit or ‘sugary coffee’
- Chew sugarfree chewing gum (preferably with xylitol)
Now if you work in an office, this is somewhat unpractical. Firstly, having to take mouthwash in with you, and secondly, gargling and rinsing in a public bathroom (not cool). It’s also a hard new habit that is easy to forget. I’m going to try when I can e.g. when I am working at home and I remember, but not stress about it!
The good thing about a post meal rinse, is that it’s likely to take the edge of any sweet cravings. An eat less sugar tip right there.
In regards to #2, I went off chewing gum a while back. It tastes horribly artificial and too sweet for my taste buds. I will bear in mind xylitol products though. If I do fancy a smidge of dark chocolate, I’ll at least try and pick one that’s better for my teeth. #compromise!
- Brush teeth (2mins again)
- Floss teeth (& use interdental brushes if you need)
- Use a mouthwash or rinse
I’m pretty proud that in the last year I have finally started flossing everyday. Habit success, get in! However, I floss AM and now I am told that the evening is better because you get rid of the food from the day. Well that’s just flipping great isn’t it! I am tired and more lazy in the evening and I am scared that I will just stop flossing altogether if I attempt this risky habit switch. I will give it a shot though, and I will try to use a mouth rinse PM, which I have been failing to do recently.
I think this dental routine post is useful on three counts:
- It’s an insight into the perfect dental routine
- It’s an incentive to cut back on sugar. Less sugar equals less dentist pain and horrible needle nightmares.
- It shows you that habits are hard work. They take time, commitment and energy, no matter how small. For real long term change you need to work on them gradually and consistently. You need to keep trying when you fail and you need to accept that you’re human and this stuff is hard.
So there we have it…
Brush, eat, rinse, eat, rinse, optional xylitol, brush, floss, rinse, bed. Simples.
I’m hoping by writing about this, I am somewhat accountable for doing it. If there are any sugar habits or dental care habits you want to note down and so hold yourself more accountable for, then please do leave a comment below! Stuck for ideas? Subscribe and I’ll send you my finest sugar tips each week for six months.
Have a great weekend.
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