Recently I was reading one of those annoying pop-up articles from my Facebook newsfeed about how celebrities seem to have it all but there has to be something wrong with them. It was then that I was reminded of this lovely scandal from a few years back:
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I really am not a fan of Jessica Simpson.
Never have been. [Sorry, Tosha, and anyone else I may offend!]
Maybe it's how she's acted on two Cincinnati trips that I know of.
Maybe it's the fake baby voice she uses combined with the dumb blonde act.
Maybe it's the creepy father-daughter relationship she and her dad have.
Maybe I'm just confused as to how she got Nick to marry her.
Or why she sold her marriage to gain fame from a TV show.
Regardless of all of that, as a hygienist, I actually have a reason to dislike her.
Jessica Simpson doesn't brush her teeth daily.
    Wait, what was that excuse?! "My teeth are too white! .. too slippery!" ?! There is one thing to not be ashamed of: she flosses daily [usually the issue is the other way around with patients]. BUT there's a reason we recommend brushing twice daily as well as flossing every day. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "If you don't floss your teeth you're missing 1/3 of your tooth's surface" - if that's true [trust me, it is] she's missing 2/3 by not brushing. Maybe you're not good at math, but that is over a majority of the tooth that doesn't get clean.
    Some people would argue:
  • "But she is removing debris with a shirt or washcloth" - other than the fact that this is gross.. there's a reason we have toothbrushes! The bristles on toothbrushes are formed to go slightly under the gumline to clear debris from the cheek and tongue sides of your teeth [if you're brushing correctly]. A t-shirt, sweater, or washcloth isn't going to provide this same level of clean around the most important part of your teeth: the gumline. Plus, where has that t-shirt been?! This may be enough to keep the visible teeth and gums clean, but is not likely sufficient around the larger back teeth.
  • "But she rinses with Listerine.. that kills all the bacteria" - Yes, Listerine does kill all of the bacteria. By all, it means all, even the good bacteria. Any mouthwash containing alcohol should not be used more than 3-4 times a week or you'll end up killing most of the good bacteria that you need. That being said, maybe she uses Listerine Zero? Either way, here's what she's essentially doing: imagine you have a baking dish with baked on food, you spray it with Lysol then rinse under water while lightly rubbing your fingers over it for 30 seconds. Would you think it's ready to use again for the next meal? No. Sure, you may have killed the germs sitting on top of the baked on food, but there's still old food on the surface! You have to use detergent [toothpaste] and a sponge [toothbrush] to truly clean off the debris or it will continue to pile on.
  • "Her teeth are white, they must be healthy" - the color of your teeth doesn't always reflect the health, it's the color of the gums that really matters! It's sad how often I've had patients who haven't been to the dentist in years and come in requesting whitening. Some practices will do the whitening despite underlying problems as long as there isn't too much build up on the teeth, and most all will at least remove the visible "gunk" before applying the whitening, ergo, a person could have perfectly white teeth without having healthy teeth. Someone could also have perfect oral hygiene yet have slightly darker teeth due to habits such as drinking a lot of coffee, tea, or red wine. In reality, Jessica's teeth are probably as white as they are due to the fact that she can afford to get them whitened frequently - this has nothing to do with the health of her teeth or the "slippery feeling" she refers to.  Since she flosses, it is unlikely she has a gum color that would be considered "unhealthy" in areas that are immediately visible when she smiles, but I would be interested to see the gumline around her back molars. This is an area that even patients who do brush daily have difficulty keeping clean so it could present a big problem in someone who only brushes maybe 3 times out the the recommended 14 times a week.

    What I would recommend: I don't know anyone who doesn't like that squeaky clean feeling on their teeth. As Jessica's dentist told People after hearing her revelation, "People pay us a lot of money for that slippery feeling. It’s kind of the best part." Obviously I want everyone to brush and floss daily. If, like Jessica, you feel your teeth are already "too slippery" so you've chosen not to brush, I'd recommend dry brushing [brushing without water/toothpaste]. If you try that and it's still too much, dry brush at least at the gumline. This combined with flossing ensures that the gums stay healthy enough to do their job of keeping your teeth in place without making the teeth completely smooth like toothpaste will do. Ensure you are flossing daily, drink plenty of water and do "tongue sweeps" throughout the day [especially before and after meals] to help keep debris from sticking.
    When it comes to your teeth, don't be a Jessica Simpson! Her teeth may be white, but it's not likely her gums are a healthy color!
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Dieting Tips for Healthy Teeth

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"You know it's going to be a good day when your morning berries are shaped like teeth" - Said a famous hygienist to her
husband over breakfast."
    In an effort to not wait until the last few months to get all of my Continuing Education courses finished.. I've made a resolution to complete at least one hour every month, enter in: Tooth Tips! My favorite part of my job as a Hygienist is educating patients on important info.

    Did you know one of the first people who can tell you've made a diet change is your Dental Professional? Both negative diet changes and positive, healthy diet changes have an effect on your mouth. With New Year's resolutions in play, here are some things to watch out for with new diets:
  • Fruit Consumption
  • Fruit Infused Water
  • Sports Drinks [to fuel new work outs]
  • High-Frequency/Low Intake Diets
   
    What you need to know: Teeth are more susceptible to breakdown [cavity formation] when the pH level in your mouth dips below 5.5. pH what? Back to middle school science class. The pH scale has values from 1-14 and shows the difference between acids and bases; acids are lowest on the scale, bases are the higher numbers, and 7 is neutral. Naturally, your saliva keeps your mouth within the 6.5-7.5 range, it's what you put in your mouth that changes the pH.

    Fruit: There are so many benefits to fruit for the body, but fruits tend to have more acidity. Try drinking a glass of regular water before and after eating foods that have a high acid content to help aid your saliva in bringing the pH back to normal as quick as possible. The less time your teeth sit in an acid bath, the lass time cavities have to form. Protein and dairy products also help to coat the teeth to protect them from the low pH, so a fruit and cheese plate is a perfect -and delicious - snack option.

    Fruit-infused water: I've seen a lot of this going around on Pinterest and Instagram especially with lemons. First, bravo for diluting the acidity of the lemons, but you've still made the neutral water acidic. Drink with a straw to bypass the teeth, and be sure to start off and finish with a glass of water.

    Sports drinks: Do I even have to go here? Short version: sugar helps cause cavities, sports drinks are full of sugar. Water is really your best option for hydration, but if you need a boost from a sports drink, try to at least rinse with water after!

    High-Frequency/Low Intake Diets: These have become very popular in the past 5 years. The goal is to eat less more frequently to keep your hunger satisfied without ever overeating at a meal. This doesn't seem like a problem, especially if you're trying to lose weight. What it doesn't take in to account is what I just taught you about pH. The goal is to keep your mouth's pH around 7 so that the bad bacteria can't work it's magic on your teeth. After each drink, meal, snack, etc. it takes your saliva around 20-30 minutes to return back to normal. Eating makes your pH low, and with minimal recovery time before the next "meal" - your pH stays low which provides more opportunity for the bad bacteria to form cavities. If you've chosen to take this step to help lose weight, be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your meals to help your mouth regulate quicker!

    Very Important Note: You may have noticed I never once said, "brush your teeth," at any point. This is not because I don't want you to brush your teeth, I just don't want you to when your acid level is high. Although it may seem like a brilliant idea to brush your teeth to help return your pH level to normal quicker [since toothpaste is basic], it's not! Your teeth, like your skin, are porous and acid opens those pores up by eroding the enamel. If there is any acid still in the mouth coating the teeth, then brushing your teeth would be just like forcing the acid further in to those pores. Rinsing with water helps the saliva return the mouth to the normal pH level but it still may take a few minutes. It's best to drink or rinse with water, wait at least 15 minutes, rinse with water again, then brush.

    Most Important Takeaway: Water is your best friend. Especially fluoridated water. Fluoride helps to remineralize spots on the teeth that acids from food and drinks may have eroded.

    More Tips from dentalcare.com:
  1. To reduce cariogenicity of the diet, for adults suggest limiting eating events to three times a day with no more than two between meal snacks and eliminating highly retentive foods such as crackers, chips, and soft candies.
  2. For children who need the energy provided by between meal snacks, they should be healthy food choices low in cariogenic potential such as cheese, raw vegetables, meat roll-ups, and fresh fruit.
  3. When oral hygiene does not follow a meal, suggest ending a meal with cheese or milk, chewing gum with xylitol, or rinsing with water.
  4. To stimulate salivary flow, include cool, sour, or tart nutrient dense foods (sugar free), increase water intake, and suck on sugar free mints.
  5. Incorporate low-fat, calcium rich foods in the diet, spaced throughout the day for the best absorption rate.

    Special thanks to dentalcare.com for always providing free, relevant continuing education courses!


Ps. In Case You Were Wondering..

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    Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tied for my vote in best dressed at the Grammy's this Sunday. Taylor's dress is so just so stunning and classy, while Katy's was so unique as well as perfect for the occasion! Speaking of dresses, have you entered to WIN FREE dresses for a year? More details here!

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