Monday, October 24, 2011

Another homemade failure

Last week, I had my first-ever cavity filled.

I've always had good teeth, and in 40+ years had never had a cavity. In fact, other than having my widsom teeth pulled, I had never needed any dental care beyond routine checkups and cleanings. My husband is the same.

I know there's a lot of controversy about flouride, about its possible toxicity. I've even heard some say that flouride in our water supply and toothpastes is causing more dental problems than it solves.

I think there might be merit to the first charge (toxicity). I'm skeptical about the second. My parents had all kinds of dental problems, and I remember my mother observing that her children's better dental health was due to two things she lacked as a child: good dental care, and flouride toothpaste. I also remember reading an article in my early 20s that reported that half of American children have no cavities, a big improvement over previous generations that the article credited to flouride toothpaste and flouridated water.

In the past few years, I have tried several homemade personal care products. The products I've created for skin and hair care have worked beautifully. But two others were less successful. I gave up the first, homemade deodorant made of coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda and essential oils, because it made my underarms break out in an itchy rash.

I didn't have any immediate problems with the second, homemade toothpaste made of glycerin, baking soda, and peppermint oil. I stopped using it after a few months, however, because my teeth never felt as clean, nor my breath as fresh, as when I use conventional commercial toothpastes. I've tried a few natural toothpastes, and had the same, "they don't feel quite as clean" feeling.

In June, my family and I all had dental checkups. My daughter and my husband both had clean mouths, but I had my first cavity. I know I take better care of my teeth than either of them; my daughter is still trying to get the hang of flossing and my husband doesn't floss at all, but I floss daily. So why was I the only one to have the cavity? The only thing I can point to is the four months I went without using flouride toothpaste.