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“Do you floss?”

If I care about you at all, I’ll probably ask you this at some point. Some people ask if you buckle up in the car. Some people don’t ask anything.

Oral hygiene is huge. Thankfully, most of the important people in my life all agree. I know, because I’ve asked them.

Tonight, while brushing my teeth, I thought, “hm, why don’t I write about this?”

It was either this or the topic of love.

I don’t want to write about love. I don’t even want to read or watch it, either. I know. Pride and Prejudice is taking a backseat. Sorry, Mr. Darcy. I love you to the moon and back, but I just can’t see you right now. Besides, your heart belongs to Lizzie, and I’ve never dealt with unrequited love very well.

Teeth!

Aside from noticing height, I notice a smile first. I check that thing out. Let’s not kid ourselves, I have tiny little teeth and if you look closely, they’re not straight. In fact, if you catch my profile sometime, and really look, I have summer teeth.

Some are this way, some are that way.

Not funny? I laughed when I heard it yesterday. Hard.

So, I’m not on a high horse when I type about hygiene. I’m right there with everyone else (I hope). I’d like fresh breath, a clean mouth, and if I’m lucky, a nice smile.

Since I was little, I was extra careful about my teeth. I brushed morning and night (I skipped some nights, let’s not joke—probably more than a year’s worth if we’re being collective).

In my mouth care arsenal, I have a few weapons that I’m going to share with you.

Toothbrush: for the past six or seven years, I’ve been using the same brand of toothbrush (I’m a one toothbrush kind of lady). It’s the Oral-B Pro-Health All-In-One toothbrush in soft (I used to get medium, but my dentist said to go with soft). Target sells them in a five pack, and I changed my toothbrush every two-three months. I’ll admit, I’ve always been a vicious brusher. I’m the person that has a mangled looking toothbrush after a week’s worth of brushing. So, if you’ve been in my room and seen a toothbrush that looked like someone scrubbed a tunnel with it, it’s mine. Apparently, you aren’t supposed to brush hard, but I can’t not brush hard, you know? If I don’t, I feel like I’m not really doing my job and the germs are still hanging around. Some habits are hard to break.

I’ve stood by this toothbrush for years. I love this toothbrush, and if I had to, I’d go back to it in a heartbeat (I’ll always love you, Oral-B. You were my first love, for sure).

Yes, that’s right. I’ve dumped it for a new brand recently. I know, I thought we’d live happily ever after, too, but such is life, right?

Steven is going to school for dental hygiene, and last semester, he received a Phillips Sonicare brush, and he gave it to me. It’s been sitting in its box in my room for months now. I never wanted to use it, because I was stuck on my old one (isn’t that always the way). Just because the new one had bells and whistles didn’t mean it was for me. My Oral-B had stood by me for years. Why ruin a good thing?

Well, I ran out of my Oral-B’s a few days ago and I haven’t bought a new pack, so I decided to try this thing. I expected it to be awful. I expected it to run out of juice within a minute. I expected terrible things.

You know what they say about expectations…

This is the best toothbrush, ever.

I think this is what people are like when they meet their soul mates. You think you found them before. Maybe one of them got away. I don’t know what your personal deal is, but then one day, you open the box and you find just what you didn’t even know you were looking for after all these years.

(hopeless romantic, party of one. Check please)

This particular brush has three settings: clean, whiten, gum care. Then it has three intensities. It also has a specific brushing system while you brush. If you read the book thoroughly (I scanned, buh!), it breaks your mouth into quadrants and the brush quietly beeps and pauses for a nanosecond when it’s finished brushing one quadrant.

I’ve never really looked forward to brushing my teeth, but now I love it. I brush, whiten, and gum care it up twice a day. I’d do it more often, but I worry that’s freak-level.

Once I’m done, I rinse the brush, and place it in a UV chamber.

WUT?

A UV chamber that disinfects your brush. How spiffy is that?! It cleans it for 10 minutes, and then you can keep it in there or just put the lid on the top.

If I had to recommend a brush for you, it’d be this one. It’s the Phillips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum. I highly recommend you get it if brushing isn’t your favorite thing yet. BEST EVER.

Floss: Plackers – Gentle Fine. I have pretty tight teeth, so these slide right in and get the job done. There isn’t any nasty touching of the string, either. At the end of the floss, there’s also a toothpick, so these are great to carry with you. The reasons for flossing are many, but I have two that are the most important to me.

1. It’s disgusting if you don’t. Sure, if you use mouthwash, you’re killing the bacteria, but there’s buildup. If you’re like me and enjoy sushi, occasional sweets, and any other food, you’re going to have some funk. If you look closely, you’ll SEE the buildup. It’s nasty. A dirty mouth is a dirty mouth is a dirty mouth. You have bad breath, a breeding ground for germs, and c’mon just do it. Seriously, take a look at your teeth, and if your teeth look (or feel) fuzzy, darker, or I actually don’t even know, but I’ve seen some funk on a couple people. Please do yourself a favor and clean those bad boys. You will have a much nicer smile. 🙂
2. Disease! You can get heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and periodontal disease. We’re all at risk for some disease. If you can cut down your chances of getting it, why wouldn’t you? Floss cost is minimal, and it only takes about two minutes to do (unless you’re anal, but even then, we’re looking at five minutes). So, do me a favor and do it.

Mouthwash: Crest 3D Glamorous White.
Okay, I’m a baby with mouthwash. I don’t even do it every day, but I’m getting into it. There are germs in your mouth. There just are. Your mouth is hot and wet, so there will always be germs. You should, however, take some precautions. I like the 3D white, because it’s two birds with one stone. First, it claims to whiten and second, it kills the bacteria (plus has about seven other benefits on the bottle).

Try to mouthwash.

Whitestrips.
I don’t remember this first time I used whitestrips, but I have used them about four or five times in my life. The first time I used whitestrips, I used Listerine whitening strips.

Don’t waste your time with them. I must have been nineteen or so. They were a pain to put on, they moved out of place, and they didn’t do very much.

After a year or so, I used Crest Whitestrips. I didn’t use the professional effects until much later, but these were iffy. The thing that bothered me is that my gums were sore within two days, my teeth were sensitive, and they didn’t whiten the entire tooth. So, my teeth were mostly white, but if you looked closely (like I did), you could see that it missed tiny spots. Irritating, to say the least.

I did, eventually, switch to professional effects (and whatever is before and after that, too). Sure, my teeth were whiter, but it wasn’t an immaculate white that I could really notice. Also, there is some drool-age involved, and it was also pretty painful. I did it every six to seven months, and each time I told myself, “I will never do this again.”

Last week, I picked up 3D White Supreme Flexfit by Crest. I didn’t have high hopes as I put the strip on my teeth. Apparently, you can stretch these strips to cover all of your teeth (back teeth, too), and they won’t move. You keep them on for one hour, and then you can see results in about three days.

Likely story, Crest.

Except that they are wonderful. For starters, there is no drool. You put these babies on, you can drink water, and you can talk without a lisp (or drool). You can hardly tell that they’re on. They did hurt my gums briefly, but that’s because I was brushing like a yeti (because yeti’s brush), and my gums bled. Once I switched to my new brush, I felt no pain. I will admit that my teeth are sensitive, but that’s to be expected. Yes, iced drinks are out of the question, but this girl loves room temperature water and tea through a straw. I have no qualms.

The results? After my first application, I looked in the mirror and they were whiter. Not just the sort of white you get after 14 days of other applicators. No, they were white. Today, I was outside and my mom said, “your teeth are so white right now. Are you using those strips?”

My mom’s like me. There is no fluff. If my teeth were gangly, she’d tell me. So, if you can afford the 50$ strips and would like whiter teeth, I would definitely recommend them.

One final thing to note: the tongue!
I have the world’s worst gag reflex in the world.

I still brush my tongue every day.

Please, please, please brush your tongue. Your tongue has buildup of gunk, too and no one’s going to want to kiss you or speak closely to you if your breath is kickin’. I say this with love. If I can brush my tongue (and nearly puke ten times as I’m doing it), because it’s for the greater good, you can, too. It’s super important. You’re super important.

I hope you take care of your mouths.

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