How to take better care of your teeth

posted by Jason Kottke Jan 16, 2015

Molly Beauchemin is a dental health enthusiast. She talked to several dentists about what the current best practices are for keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible: The Truth About Your Smile.

Most people have heard a common criticism of hand sanitizer: using it too often makes you more vulnerable to sickness because it kills off even the beneficial germs that fight viruses like the cold and flu. The same is true for the bacteria in your mouth: mouthwash is so antiseptic that most dentists recommend you only use it if you are impaired or have an injury that prevents you from brushing. Otherwise, you risk killing off even the beneficial flora (yes, our mouths are disgusting wastelands of bacteria, but a lot of them are good guys) that help fight plaque and odor-causing bacteria.

I've been searching around for something like this for a few months. Dental hygiene, for me, is a set of mesofacts — I'm mired in the knowledge of my youth about how to brush, when to floss, etc. — but increasingly the kids would come home from the dentist with some new tidbit I'd never heard of before, like the thing about not rinsing the toothpaste out of your mouth after brushing. I have to say though, the oil pulling bit at the end sounds like a bunch of hokum.