Ezine Articles

Copyright Matt Canham.

The Tartar connundrum.

I'm not a dentist and I don't usually wear white. Well, I have some white shirts, but I would never wear them with a white jacket and one of those blue yacht captain hats with the plastic badge. Actually I always seem to be wearing a white shirt when I am eating pasta and I always seem to have the dexterity of coma patient when that happens. Come to think of it, I really knew very little about not spilling food on my shirt OR my looking after teeth before I embarked on this project.

Lets face some facts. I like strawberry milk products. I like eating processed cheese. I don't like going to the dentist or having my teeth cleaned. I think the term invasive procedure is a little off - teeth cleaning is just plain offensive. I don't know if it is just me, but the last time I went it felt like he was trying to shove the mirror under my gums. It HURT and that's not just my wallet. I walked out $140 lighter than when I went in and it was a toss up between the actual pain and the loss of personality from my pocket as to which hurt most.

It was after that painful visit, I started doing some research on preventing tartar buildup. I am a prevention kind of guy, so this seemed like the thing to do. For the 12 months previous to this cleaning, I had used one of the more well known (well maybe Colgate Total isn't well known to some people) tartar control toothpaste products and a Sonicare toothbrush. If the vibration didn't shake it off, I was sure the tartar control paste would do the trick. It was meant to stop the buildup, or so I thought. In hindsight, I think it made it actually worse. Actually, I have no way at all of knowing that, I just felt the need to exaggerate.

So I hit the net to do some research. Most of the results from my searching related to pet teeth, not humans, which I thought was funny. Do we really care more about pets than our own teeth? Any discerning dog owner couldn't possibly want to walk Fido in central park with all that buildup. How passe! I found one or two pages offering the following advice - use dental floss and a tartar control toothpaste. So, effectively I learnt nothing other than it is not possible to prevent buildup and that there is something really disturbing about ham flavored toothpaste for dogs.

Then I had an epiphany - native African people have excellent teeth, what do they do? So I did some research into that. Sure enough, the tribes uses certain sticks and cleaning their teeth and tongue is a part of their daily ritual. Maybe there was a stick or some other plant related thing I could use. Toothpaste from sticks, wait toothpaste from plants, getting warmer... bing! herbal toothpaste.

I was on to something here. Maybe there was a herbal toothpaste that contained some sort of enzyme that would eat the food mixed with saliva off the teeth. Kind of like nanotechnology, but for the bits of green lettuce that get stuck between your teeth. I could see the conversations in my mind already ..."Hows is going, Matt?" Not bad Bill, got a bit of saliva mixed with food particles in my mouth, but I've got it covered. Herbal toothpaste don't you know. Anyway, how's your ant farm?"

Sticks, plants, saliva and food particles - I had narrowed my search. At about the same time, I became re-acquainted with a friend I had not seen for some time. I mentioned my research. She said go on. I went on. She said she knew of a herbal toothpaste. I said you're kidding. She said yes, then she said no, so I said make up your mind, then I said does this car get good gas mileage? Anyway, you get the idea. So, sure as the day is long, as a cowboy eats from a can, as another really cool thing does something else really cool, I had found a herbal toothpaste. I gave it a try. I eventually got used to the taste - no sugar in this one, and I kept using it. My teeth felt clean, and the tartar was/is staying away. The train had arrived at clean teeth central and there were no panhandlers in sight.

The herbal toothpaste ended up being highly concentrated, so the 11 oz tube lasted 5 months. It cost around $14, but when I compared that to the cost of using 6 tubes of regular paste in the same time frame, not to mention the cost of cleaning at the dentist, visits to the poisons center, etc, I was on to something. Just like when you find a newspaper with a pre-marked horse racing guide. But unlike Monarch Prince, on which I lost my $5, this was a winner. I felt giddy with excitement.

Score one for the good guys.

My next project was teeth whitening. I had seen my Mother use Sensodyne toothpaste and not each many icy strawberry milk products at all growing up, so the last thing I wanted was to use her toothbrush. I always had this concern that the harsh whitening by laser, etc, would make my teeth have the same reaction to ice cream that Alec Baldwin has to photographers. I did try some of the whitening goo from Walgreens, but it tasted awful and my teeth were sensitive for about a day after using it. Gutter ball. I was also a little concerned about looking like Tony Robbins. Being able to light up a room with my mouth open wasn't on my top 10 list of lifetime achievements. Neither was being a walking caricature.

The friend that had recommended the herbal toothpaste I guess knew me all too well. She knew I would become excited at the prospect of avoiding the dentist, that she withheld the information about the herbal whitening paste. Better to give the kid one cookie at a time, I guess. I needed to calm down before I was ready for the whitening info.

So now I am trying that as well and she recently informed me I have some drops instead of mouthwash and herbal breath mints to try out next. And with no more Dentist or laser or goo, I am really excited by that. And I'm not just talking about run of the mill excitement. This is opening the presents under the tree when you're 8 type stuff.

Health products.

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