Thrifty Tooth Therapy

Money-saving tips to smile about.

  from Penny Pincher's Almanac

Every dentist will tell you that preventive care is the most important part of ensuring healthy teeth, and the most economical approach to a great smile.

The cost of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss is minuscule compared to the cost of fixing or replacing rotting teeth.

Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush up and down, front and back and reach under the gums and behind the back molars. Most important is brushing along the gum line; the biting surfaces of your teeth are basically self-cleaning. It’s also a good idea to brush your tongue; the debris that builds up there is the source of most bad breath. Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if it becomes frayed.

Floss your teeth thoroughly at least once a day. Experts recommend that you do it before brushing. Flossing is even more crucial than brushing in the fight against plaque buildup — and the tooth decay and gum disease that results from it. If you have bridgework that makes it difficult to floss, use a small interdental brush to clean between those teeth.

Discount Dentistry
Again, a professional school or teaching hospital can save you big bucks. Look for an institution with a school of dentistry and call to find out when they have clinics. You can get wonderful dental care for a fraction of the normal cost. And again, the work of these apprentice dentists is closely supervised by fully trained dentists.

Caring for Dentures
A solution of 1 tablespoon household bleach and 1 teaspoon water softener in 1 cup of water makes an excellent cleaner for removable full dentures with no metal parts. Remember to brush the dentures after soaking to remove plaque. When you’re away from home, try using a small piece of nylon net for a quick scrub without removing the dentures.

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