So, I got to visit my favourite (not) place today, which was the dentist. I haven’t been in over a year, which is so bad. I definitely paid for this big mistake. Below is a little backstory, but if you want to know how I’m going to combat my gingivitis (in traditional and a very interesting non-traditional way), skip the grey text and scroll down.
So over the course of the year, I hadn’t really been flossing and had just been brushing my teeth. I have those retainer things they put behind your teeth after you take your braces off so flossing is absolutely tedious, which is why I wasn’t doing it. Even my old dentist used to give me slack for it because at least I was a regular for my checkups and cleanings.
So fast forward to today, I go in for my cleaning. They have a dental hygienist now, which is basically a dentist that specialized in the cleaning part. She was 150% lovely and made me feel really happy and comfortable despite my fear. She beat me up (in a good way) and my teeth probably have never been so clean… but by the end of my very, very long session (longer than usual) she gave me some bad news: my gums were in bad condition and my pockets we abnormal.
So basically pockets in your gums are normal, usually 1-3mm deep. For the most part, mine were fine. But then there were spots that reached 4-6mm. This was major cause for concern, because the deeper the pocket, the harder to clean your teeth, which results in tartar buildup, which leads to bone recession and eventually…. tooth loss.
So I was given an ultimatum that either I start flossing regularly and practice a better brushing technique or else I can lose my little pearly whites. Even my mom was shocked because my teeth look fine and my breath doesn’t smell. If only we could both see under my gums.
Anyways today starts my little journey of fixing my gingivitis. I’m a nursing student, so I asked my dental hygienist a million questions and she gave me some really good recommendations. I also did some research and found a non-conventional option that I’m going to try, too.
1. Using a spinning toothbrush.
I was using a normal vibrating toothbrush but with my lack of flossing it was hardly adequate. She recommended a spinning electric brush because it would do most of the work for me and get rid of harder to take off plaque, which an oscillating brush won’t do.
2. Start flossing (ugh)
Flossing is painful for me because my gums are so sensitive and my teeth are very tightly packed, so usually floss either breaks or it won’t go through without huge force, with make my gums bleed even more once it shoots through like a knife. I bought very fine but strong floss and also these little flossing brushes that’ll go between my teeth where my retainer piece is (which you can’t floss normally with).
3. Coconut Oil Pulling
This is by far the most interesting part of this article, since the rest is common sense. Oil pulling is where you take 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil, melt it in your mouth and swish it around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes, or longer if you can. The idea is to suck and push the oil through your teeth (and NOT to swallow it!). Since coconut oil is antibacterial, it’ll help with gum disease and plaque buildup when used alongside brushing your teeth. I found a few research articles that back up this claim, which I’ll link below in case you’re curious how effective it is. It definitely was a good read for me, as a nursing student, since everything in my practice is based off of studies like these ones.
Study One: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911944
Study Two: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19336860
Report Three: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382606/
I have to go back to the dentist in 4 months and I will let you all know if these things actually make a huge different or not. Also, I’ll take pictures of my teeth before and after oil pulling for the majority of 4 months because supposedly it has whitening properties to it, as well.
Remember, when they told you to floss, they really meant it. Don’t be a silly bean like me and think that brushing your teeth twice a day is enough.