Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Teeth Whitener for 49 cts.

Rush, rush, rush. Don't forget to brush.

I read an online advertisement that says
Don't pay a fortune to whiten your teeth - the price is only $2.49 plus shipping.

I keep wondering why people never bother to use baking soda. The local store's self-branded box is simply 49 cts.

I used to brush my teeth with baking soda at night and tooth paste in the morning. The tooth paste is for the benefits of fluoride for my teeth. Then I started using fruit flavoured fluoridated mouth rinse to moist my tooth brush before dipping the brush into the baking soda.

I had kept up the practice a number of years and I guess people were noticing my teeth were whiter than the usual population's. Then one day, the dental nurse (they call them dental hygienists nowadays) finally succeeded in persuading me that my front tooth chipped when I was a kid should be mended.

So another technician from a dental consultant company had an appointment with me at the dental office. She brought with her a panel of enamel shades to attempt to match my teeth with the enamel shades they have. The consultant's technician had to choose the whitest shade they had. She said with a big smile, you have the whitest teeth in the population. It's the baking soda, I said.

I know, she said - she'd like to use it too but she did not like the taste or the grittiness.

I am a lazy teeth-brusher and it takes only 2 daily minutes of grit and baky taste to keep my teeth healthy.

You should use baking soda on your teeth before you go to sleep for the night or before any few hours when you would not be ingesting any food. Baking soda is pretty nonreactive so the brushing does not actually whiten your teeth. Baking soda does not corrode your teeth. Baking soda is insoluble in water but it needs to react with acid to whiten your teeth. And baking soda is a persistent sticker to surfaces because it takes quite a few wipes to clean a baking soda spill.

Which sets the perfect condition for using baking soda on your teeth before you go to sleep. The remnant sugars stuck between your teeth which brushing won't eliminate turns acidic (by some bacteriologic process, as we have all been told) while you sleep and the acid reacts with the stuck baking soda and voila! - that's your teeth whitener.

As I said, I used to brush my teeth with baking soda. Then one day, I got tired of the dentist reminding me my lack of discipline in flossing my teeth and that I brushed my teeth too much that my gum was receding.

I changed my habit. I stopped brushing my teeth. Actually, I do minimal brushing where flossing wouldn't reach. My dentist and his technicians were happy with the results. Reason being, I started flossing my teeth with baking soda using a toothbrush. I would press the baking soda embedded bristles between my teeth to floss them. I lied to my dentist and his technicians that my healthier gum was the result of their recommended disciplined flossing. They believed me. I hate flossing my teeth with dental floss strings - it's messy and at times bloody and mostly tedious.

At first, I went to the pharmacy section to look for hand held flossing equipment and finally decided that the good old long-bristled toothbrush was the most convenient and cheapest means of flossing my teeth. My last supply of toothbrush I bought for $10 for ten from the local Hispanic supermarket. There are still quite a lot of Hispanic food ingredients that I still cannot find in major supermarkets, not to mention cheap toothbrushes.

May be baking soda is bad for the dental health business, because on subsequent visits, there weren't much plaque for them to clean and I dropped my dental insurance altogether.

Now for the taste part, though I don't mind it. First you should try as I had - moist your tooth brush bristles with fruit flavoured fluoridated mouth rinse before dipping it into the baking soda. If not try the following.

I am planning to experiment mixing a little of my favourite fruit jams with the baking soda on the toothbrush. That would give an excellent taste while flossing my teeth and provide the necessary acid to react with the baking soda while I am asleep. Let's see, my favourites are blueberry, strawberry-raspberry, peanut butter with grape and strawberry, fruity Schnapps ...

You shouldn't brush your teeth. It's bad for the gums. You should use your toothbrush to massage and floss your teeth with baking soda. The massaging action spreads into the gum line without ruining your gums but yet prevents plaque from forming.

OK, Schnapps is not a jam and probably would not provide sufficient acid to react with the baking soda.

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