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Dental Floss by nourishment by nature

Dental Floss, A Thin Thread That Changed The Trajectory Of My Life

When I first started flossing, I felt very awkward. The front teeth are easier to floss, and some teeth are closely connected. It takes very little effort to put the floss in. Just move it up and down, left and right, and wipe all parts of the sides of the teeth. When you floss regularly, the plaque formed is removed, leaving it no place to live. Moreover, it is very important to remove as much plaque as possible in the shallow crevices on the upper part of the gums and on the neck of the teeth. It is often necessary to pull the dental floss forward and backward into a U-shape to achieve the best effect. 

If the gums are already inflamed, the local pain will be more intense and the bleeding will increase. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water while washing, rinse the gaps between the teeth and gums to prevent the aggravation of inflammation and promote the healing and recovery of soft tissues. 

Many people are afraid when they see that flossing will aggravate the pain and bleeding, and stop using dental floss, mistakenly thinking that it is getting worse. In fact, you should stick to it, remove the food plaque and food on the surface, and the gum tissue will heal healthily. By regular flossing, the problem is solved, and future troubles are eliminated.

It can be difficult to floss the teeth at the back of the mouth. Flossing your teeth from left to right is always not easy, especially the space between the last two big teeth. Several people try changing the position of their hand to floss their teeth at the back and sometimes end up putting too much hand into the mouth which almost induces vomiting. To counteract this problem, there are dental flosses with plastic handles that are more convenient and reasonable in design, flexible and changeable, with different designs. You can try which style is more suitable for you, and find yourself a floss that is more convenient than the previous single long thread.

After I started using dental floss, the inflammation in my gums improved significantly, and then I had the courage (before I didn’t understand the importance of cleaning my teeth, but I was also afraid of going to the dentist because the painful experience of seeing the dentist when I was a child made me have serious psychological symptoms) to clean teeth and the result is easier than imagined. We Chinese are seriously behind the Western developed countries in teeth cleaning. 

In Canada and the United States where I have lived for the past few decades, children start brushing their teeth when they are about one year old. There are toothed rubber sleeves specially used for infants and young children. Adults can wear these on their index fingers to gently brush their teeth every day. 

As the infant gets older, they brush their teeth by themselves and start going to a dentist’s office for teeth cleaning every six months. The teeth cleaning process can be done by the dentist himself, or by a professionally trained and certified dental technician. 

The dental health care system in America is very good and many dental hygienists who are not necessarily highly educated can be trained to ensure that all people, old and young, have the opportunity to obtain better oral health care services.

I have a strong personal connection to this topic. I moved abroad when I was 31 and never had my teeth cleaned in China. It later came to my attention that the majority of Chinese individuals, upon traveling abroad, experience their first dental cleaning. Foreign health insurance typically covers dental care, especially for those working or studying in universities and large corporations, along with their families who can afford basic self-sufficiency. Additional costs for dental insurance are minimal.

Upon visiting a dentist in a foreign country, the initial procedure is often teeth cleaning. It was surprising for healthcare professionals to learn that many foreigners have been receiving regular teeth cleaning since childhood. This revelation left them puzzled as to why it took decades for others to have their teeth cleaned. I consider myself fortunate, thanks to my habit of using dental floss. However, countless individuals are required to undergo deep teeth cleaning because a single session doesn’t suffice due to the buildup of numerous dental plaques. It’s a common misconception that daily brushing is adequate for maintaining oral health, but in reality, it falls short.

As a child, I ceased to be afraid of the elderly lady’s missing teeth and sunken mouth. Why, you may wonder? It’s because I noticed that the majority of elderly foreigners in their seventies and eighties still maintain healthy teeth. Missing teeth or an entire set of dentures are quite rare among them. This discovery completely altered my perception of dental health. It emphasized the critical importance of dental care, as it turns out that we can enjoy beautiful, fully functional teeth in our later years.

Once I grasped this concept, I became committed to daily flossing and regular teeth cleaning. Honestly, merely brushing one’s teeth is just a superficial approach. You might wonder, “If you’re already using dental floss to remove food particles and bacterial plaque from between your teeth, why the need for regular teeth cleaning?” That’s a valid question!

Dental plaque is a biofilm that slowly accumulates on the surface of our teeth. It’s made up of food particles, shredded oral epithelial cells, saliva, and bacteria. This plaque is relatively soft and can be removed with careful brushing and flossing. However, certain parts of our teeth remain hidden, especially the inner surfaces, and in cases where brushing and flossing are not thorough or consistent (so when I floss, I make sure to use a mirror, check carefully, and go through each one). Over time, dental plaque can gradually thicken, and changes in saliva pH can lead to the deposition of calcium ions, resulting in the formation of hard, thick dental calculus, also known as tartar.

Tartar firmly adheres to the teeth and gum line, making it difficult to remove with regular brushing and dental floss. Its presence can contribute to the accumulation of more plaque, which may lead to gum inflammation and tooth decay. To maintain optimal oral health, it’s advisable to visit a dentist for professional cleaning and early detection of any signs of tooth decay.

Shallow tooth decay typically doesn’t manifest any noticeable symptoms. To prevent its further expansion and deepening, dental fillings can be applied. However, if tooth decay goes undetected or untreated, it can penetrate deep into the pulp, leading to nerve inflammation and damage, resulting in severe pain. In cases of prolonged nerve necrosis, the pain may subside, but the tooth becomes hollow and brittle, eventually breaking apart, and becoming almost nonexistent. At this stage, a dentist will recommend a root canal treatment to clean out the necrotic nerve tissue, fill the hollow tooth with specialized materials, and finally, install a crown to prevent it from breaking further.

In instances where the decay is too deep and extensive to save the tooth, it may need to be extracted. At this point, you have three options:

  1. Leave the gap empty, resulting in a missing tooth. However, this can lead to problems with neighboring healthy or semi-healthy teeth, such as shifting and looseness.
  1. Use dentures to occupy the space. Dentures provide a good appearance and can also support the surrounding normal teeth. However, they require daily removal and cleaning and are not as sturdy as natural teeth, limiting your ability to chew some hard foods.
  1. Opt for a more modern solution, dental implants. Dental implants involve the artificial placement of a tooth root made from special materials into the vacant alveolar bone, followed by the attachment of an artificial crown. 

The advantages of dental implants include a close resemblance to natural teeth in both appearance and chewing function. They are fixed in the alveolar bone and do not require daily removal. However, they come with a higher cost, and not everyone is a suitable candidate, particularly elderly individuals with poor alveolar bone conditions, osteoporosis, and other related issues. Factors like the materials used in the dental implant and the implantation procedure carry potential surgical risks, and in rare cases, dental implants can lead to damage or penetration into the maxillary sinus, causing sinus infections or even intracranial infections.

To maintain good oral health, it’s essential to regularly brush and floss your teeth. Additionally, try to limit your consumption of fruit candies, especially those sticky fudge varieties, and reduce your intake of sugary drinks. I have a friend who used to have excellent dental health. However, due to incorrect brushing techniques involving excessive horizontal pressure, he ended up damaging the enamel on the surfaces of several consecutive teeth. When he reached the age of 40, a significant number of his teeth developed severe decay one after the other, especially after consuming high-sugar content fruits, such as grapes, or indulging in red wine before bedtime. The outcome was foreseeable.

Most of my classmates and friends are now in their 50s and 60s. While we grew up during a time when oral hygiene practices were gaining popularity, our dental health is notably better compared to our grandparents. Many of them began losing their teeth in middle age and eventually experienced significant tooth loss in their later years. Nowadays, people in urban areas can often opt for full or partial dentures or even artificial implants. People pay more attention to their overall appearance, and it’s now quite rare to come across individuals with missing teeth, as was common in the past. This undoubtedly reflects the improvements in China’s social development and economic conditions in recent years, as well as the increasing awareness of the importance of maintaining good health.

I consider myself fortunate as my dental health has remained relatively good. Apart from two minor cavities 19 years ago, I’ve experienced no major dental issues. However, there was a period when I was around 30 or 40 years old when I became quite worried. During that time, my two lower front teeth and the two lower left molars (the small molars next to the canine teeth) became slightly loose, which greatly alarmed me. Thankfully, my teeth have since strengthened. This is why, six years ago, I began to focus on dental health after studying functional medicine. I discovered that maintaining a well-balanced nutritional intake and ensuring proper supplementation of vitamins and minerals can play a significant role in protecting both teeth and gums. It’s essential to remember that teeth and gums are integral parts of the body’s bone tissue. Any measures taken to prevent and improve osteoporosis can have a positive impact on the protection of teeth and the alveolar bone that supports them. Gums, being a type of soft tissue, also benefit from enhanced nutrient supply and improved metabolic repair capacity, which ultimately promotes the overall health of our teeth and periodontal tissue.

I often hear classmates and friends complaining about their dental issues. One person has had multiple root canal treatments, while another has artificial teeth. It often seems like a competition to see who has suffered the most. I used to feel a sense of dread when I heard these stories, but fortunately, I managed to avoid such problems. Perhaps it was because I had a fear of toothaches from a young age, so I paid extra attention to my dental health. Over 20 years ago, I sought the guidance of a highly skilled and professional dentist, which undoubtedly saved me from many potential troubles and pains. Sometimes, it’s the smallest details, an unexpected question-and-answer session, that can alter the course of our lives.

In the upcoming article, I will delve further into dental health matters, with a particular focus on the interconnection between dental diseases and overall systemic health. We will also explore the intricate relationship between dental health and dietary habits, as well as the importance of a well-structured diet. I will shed light on the pivotal role of nutritional status in maintaining good dental health and share insights on the effective prevention of various dental conditions.

Additionally, we’ll delve into the work of the renowned Dr. Weston A. Price, originally from Canada but who later practiced dentistry in the United States. We will discuss his groundbreaking X Factor or Activator X theory and its significance, along with the connection between this theory and vitamin K2.

H Zeng

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