Was at the dentist yesterday in Cambridge. I go for a general cleaning every 3-4 months. Been doing that since the year 2000 when I got a job that actually paid the insurance for it. Novel. Anyway, I’ve gotten to know them pretty well. The hygenist is a small Russian lady, maybe 60 years old and just the sweetest thing. She’s saavy, too. A world traveler, takes public transportation and likes to explore culinary attractions. The noises she makes when I show her pictures of the kids are priceless. The dentist himself is probably in his mid-50s, an empty-nester and an overall good guy. The easy thing to do would be to find a dentist in Concord or Acton, but see, when you get comfortable with people and get to know them and they’re nice, it’s hard to let go. So I drive the half-hour to Cambridge every couple of months. Customer service. I picked up two things from them yesterday:

  • Toothpaste. My dentist believes that toothpaste is a giant marketing scam. He said all you really need to be doing is watering your toothbrush and scrubbing. That’s it. Toothpaste is just a way to make it taste good. He said it’s not detrimental or anything, but it’s not necessary. Have you ever seen the list of ingredients in toothpaste? Good heavens. Anyway, I can’t bring myself to just use water, I must be brainwashed. I use Tom’s of Maine Spearmint toothpaste. I don’t know if they have their hooks in me or not, but it feels more natural than, say, Crest, which compared to Tom’s smells like cotton candy. The other thing he told me was that tartar control toothpastes are very abrasive and he think they can actually cause damage and recession. Never knew that. He said the very worst thing you can do for your gums is brush too aggressively or use “aggressive” toothpastes.
  • The other thing I learned was that nearly all of his patients who have more advanced recession in their gums previously had braces. He says he gets the need for braces, but it almost always caused some kind of damage later in life, because food gets stuck in those things and it’s hard to clean it all out completely. Of course, most gum recession issues are genetic, but if you have both issues (braces and genetic), expect issues later. I, of course, have both issues. I had braces or some kind of ortho crap for nearly five years. That’s why I go get my teeth cleaned now every 3-4 months and I floss every night. Every night….they say I’m one of their best and most stable patients now, so that makes me chuckle to myself, for a few various reasons.

There you have it. Your tooth and gum lesson for the day.