Let’s face it, times are tough at the moment, and so any small tweaks we can make to our finances in order to save a bit of money here and there will almost certainly help to ease the stress and worry a little. It goes without saying that basic human needs such as eating, drinking, keeping clean etc. are vital to our existence and keeping our teeth clean and healthy should also fall into this bracket.
Which begs the question of how can you keep your teeth clean and healthy on a budget without cutting corners too much and therefore risking causing future damage and expensive dental bills?
Well, we’ve got 5 suggestions for you right here:
1. Budget Toothbrush
Dentists will tell you that for optimum teeth cleaning, an electric toothbrush is better than a manual one. Using an electric toothbrush means you are much more likely to have healthier gums, less tooth decay and therefore more likely to keep your own teeth for longer. Think about it; electric toothbrushes include features ranging from oscillating heads to timers, and so it’s absolutely no wonder they do a better job at removing plaque!
But of course electric toothbrushes come at a cost… or so you might think.
Yes you can pay a ridiculous amount of money for an all singing all dancing wouldn’t look out of place in a dental surgery electric toothbrush, but come on, we’ve all got better things to be spending our money on right? So let’s all jump for joy about the fact you can buy an electric toothbrush for under a tenner. Yes you heard me…. LESS THAN A TENNER!
The Colgate Max White Expert Whitening Sonic Power Toothbrush costs just £6.20 making it a very affordable electric toothbrush option. Powered by one AAA battery, which might I add is also included making it an even bigger bargain, the toothbrush uses spiral bristles that vibrate at 20,000 times a minute and polishing cups to clean teeth in two different ways. Aside from the price, what I also love about this toothbrush is that it doesn’t come with disposable heads. Now I know that might sound a strange thing to say, but toothbrushes should be replaced at least every 3-4 months (more if the bristles start to look worn or frayed) and I know for a fact that I am way more likely to replace a whole toothbrush than the chances of me remembering to make sure I’ve got spares of the right type of toothbrush head in the house.
Looks and costs the same as a normal toothbrush, acts like an electric one. As a manual toothbrush user myself, I am definitely making the switch to this toothbrush from now on.
2. Eat Tooth Friendly Foods
Good dental health starts with a good diet and so really the best thing you can do to avoid a hefty dentist bill is to eat plenty of teeth friendly foods.
- Raw Carrot Sticks – in fact any raw vegetable with bite will help your gnashers, as all that extra chewing helps to strengthen your teeth while also naturally cleansing teeth and gums.
- Cheese – and other dairy products. The calcium found in dairy produce will strengthen the protective enamel that coats our teeth. But not only that, calcium also strengthens the jaw bones which hold our teeth in place.
- Oily Fish – such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, are high in omega 3, which is fantastic for good gum health. Oily fish also contains a good supply of vitamin D, which aids the absorption of calcium. You could say that vitamin D and calcium are the superheroes in the plaque fighting world.
- Chewing Gum – arguably not much of a food considering you don’t swallow it, but none the less sugarless chewing gum is great for teeth as it increases saliva production, which helps wash away more unhealthy bacteria.
It goes without saying that sugar is the bad guy here when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy. It doesn’t mean you have to avoid it entirely, but like everything in life: moderation is key.
3. Have A Rock Solid Cleaning Routine
The way we clean our teeth and how long we clean them for is paramount to good dental health. Dentists recommend you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, but of course if you’re not doing it properly you could be brushing them for 20 minutes for all the good it would do!
As we’ve already mentioned above, an electric toothbrush will do a better job of cleaning your teeth than a manual one, as it does the circular motion for you and at a much higher speed than you would ever be capable of. However, if you prefer to use a manual toothbrush gently brush every tooth in a circular motion making sure you clean your gums as well. This may take longer than two minutes, but it should certainly be no less. If your gums bleed it could be a sign of gum disease, so get this checked out with your dentist, but if you clean your teeth and gums properly then over time the bleeding should stop.
Remember to always spit out any excess toothpaste, because if excess fluoride is left in the mouth for too long it can result in a condition called fluorosis, especially among children whose teeth are still developing. If you’re worried about this you can get it checked out with your dentist.
4. Drink Tooth Friendly Drinks
Just like the food choices we make, the same too can be said of our choice of drink. Some are most definitely better for our teeth than others and the choices we make determines how much dental treatment we’re likely to need in future.
If you want stronger, cleaner, healthier teeth then these are the beverages to limit or avoid:
- Coffee – it won’t particular damage your teeth as such, but the tannins found in coffee will stain the surface of your teeth giving them a discoloured look over time.
- Red Wine – this also contains tannins, so if the risk of discolouring bothers you then it’s best to stick to white wine from now on.
- Carbonated Drinks – any type of acidic food or drinks are bad news for teeth and carbonated drinks are made carbonated through the use of carbonic acid. Acid weakens and eventually erodes enamel, the protective layer on the surface of teeth. And if you’re not drinking sugar free versions, then this is a double whammy of damage you’re exposing your teeth too.
- Juice – also contains high levels of acid, but of course natural fruit juice comes with many other nutritional benefits so you shouldn’t avoid it entirely. To reduce damage, make sure you wait at least 30 minutes after drinking juice before brushing your teeth, as the acid softens the enamel so if you then brush your teeth before it’s had a chance to harden up again you are only making the problem worse.
Water is hands down the best choice, I mean it’s basically good for every aspect of our health right? When we drink water it dislodges any food that may be stuck in our teeth and rinses away any residue left on the surface, plus it’s sugar and acid free and it’s FREE!
5. Do The Floss
No, no, no we don’t mean the dance move, we’re talking flossing between teeth to remove any trapped food and to keep your pearly whites as clean and healthy for as long as we possibly can. You can buy all kinds of different flossing tools these days, but just like toothbrushes, the fancier ones will come at a price and not all of us have those kinds of spends. From interdental brushes right through to electric water flossers they all have their place in the market, but when you’re on a budget all you really need is a cheap pack of dental floss that should keep you going for a good few weeks. Never ever use cocktail sticks as these could cause damage to your gums and lead to an infection.
Many of us floss after brushing our teeth, however it’s actually more beneficial to do it beforehand. Simply take 30cm of floss and gently swipe up and down between each tooth to dislodge food and remove plaque. If you’re new to flossing it is likely your gums will bleed, but this will ease with time.
Preventing problems from occurring in your mouth is the best way to avoid needing dental treatment and consequently saving your precious heard earned cash in the process. These simple, yet effective tips will help get you on track so that you can keep your teeth clean and healthy on a budget.
*This product was gifted by Colgate, but all views are my own