Personalized Oral Hygiene for Better Health
“Your teeth are perfect, and gums are fine too,” my dentist told me today. Due to the pandemic, my yearly dental cleaning had been postponed for several months. My dentist’s conclusion justifies that we really do not need that much oral hygiene to keep our teeth and gums healthy. In the last year, I have been experimenting on myself. I have only been brushing my teeth and flossing weekly.
The real purpose of the experiment is not to defy the modern norms of oral hygiene. I’m actually trying to improve my nasal/sinus health. Several years ago, my allergies helped me invent AllerPops. During the process, I discovered that my allergies’ real cause was the lack of good bacteria in my mouth. My extreme oral hygiene at that time contributed to the reduction of my airway probiotics. You may read the story about the invention here.
My allergies have become very mild since boosting up my oral probiotics with the prebiotics I developed. I still have some symptoms in the spring. Last year, I wondered if I needed not only the right proportion of good bacteria in my mouth but also a sufficient total mass of them. The experiment is to find out if an increased level of probiotics in my mouth helps my residual allergies. I know the bacteria live in two main areas in the mouth, the tongue, and teeth. I have stopped regular scraping of my tongue since 2014 but kept on with the daily teeth brushing.
Before answering the question, I’ll tell you a story from the seventies when I was in sixth grade.
I lived in a village in Shandong Province, China, and went to a local school. One day, I needed to stick a piece of paper on the wall at the back end of the classroom for a school project, and I did not have any glue. We did not have any commercial glue anywhere at that time. Pupils needed to ask moms to cook glue with flour for them. I forgot. The boy next to me saw my difficulty and said, “You have glue with you.” Then he opened his mouth, scratched his teeth with his thumbnail, placed what he got from his teeth on his paper, and he finished his project. Following his example, I completed my work without a snag.
The instant glue saved my day. What a convenient glue bottle we had! However, instead of appreciating that instant glue bottle, I later destroyed it with a toothbrush given to me by my father.
The traditional condition of human teeth without modern hygiene is full of bacterial biofilm. I plan not to go back to that condition since I prefer to keep my teeth until I leave this world. Is there optimal oral hygiene that will allow me to have no allergies and maintain healthy teeth and gums? Yes, the experiment told just that.
The experiment did not cost me much. On the contrary, it saved me money, not buying toothbrushes, and using less water. Most of all, it saves me quite some time. The process is similar to what I did before, reducing the frequency of tooth brushing. This time I reduced once a day to once in two weeks. I found that once a week is the best for me. Gingivitis would occur somewhere after two weeks.
I have been brushing and flossing once a week for longer than half a year now. It seems my dentist has approved what I have been doing without knowing what I did. In this last spring, my nose couldn’t be happier with what I did. If you, too, find that AllerPops improve your allergy symptoms but do not completely relieve them try experimenting with your oral hygiene. You may discover a new routine that is better suited to your own body.