What Are Your New Year's Dental Resolutions?

by Dr. Lee Sheldon

Here is a dental plan for 2023.

  1. Invest in a comprehensive dental evaluation.
  2. Get your teeth cleaned.
  3. Buy a good electric toothbrush. You can do okay for $60.
  4. Cleaning between your teeth is more important than cleaning the fronts and backs. If you have enough space, an interproximal brush (a small brush made to go between the teeth) is best. Floss is second best. Teeth have depressions on the surface. Floss doesn’t get into those depressions. The brush does.
  5. What about a water irrigator? I don’t use one, but some evidence shows they work.
  6. Buy a chlorine dioxide toothpaste. Chlorine dioxide sticks to the teeth and provides a continuing source of oxygenation. That helps with breath as well as gum inflammation.
  7. Mouthwash is good for breath. Some fight bacteria and last for a long time. My favorite has zinc chloride.
  8. Thoroughly remove plaque from your teeth once every 24 hours. You should be able to get it done in less than five minutes.
  9. Buy some pH test strips. This will tell you the acid level of your saliva. Neutral is 7.0 Lower than that, and your mouth is acidic. When the pH is 5.5 or below, you could be fighting a losing battle with tooth decay. Baking soda rinses may help raise the pH. Dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. Swish in your mouth for about 15 seconds and spit out. Check your pH every hour until it drops below 7.0 and repeat. Most with pH problems need to rinse every three hours.
  10. Reduce your exposure to sugar, the number of times sugar touches your teeth, to three or fewer per day. Each sugar exposure means 20 minutes of acid dissolving your teeth.