A patient emailed me a great question the other day regarding between-brushing oral hygiene.
Is there any product you can recommend that will clean my mouth after I’ve eaten something, without having to brush my teeth? I don’t mean I want to stop brushing my teeth, but I don’t want to brush them after everything I eat. I find that after I eat lunch, and if I have some dark chocolate, by the end of the day my gums are a little sensitive when I floss.
Rather than taking a stab at an answer myself, I told him we would go straight to the horse’s mouth (or dentist’s mouth, in this case) for the best answer…. I shot his question over to Dr. Mark Burhenne of Ask the Dentist, a brilliant functional medicine dentist and friend. (In fact, he’s my guest for April’s podcast!) I thought Mark’s answer was so doable and brilliant, I wanted to share it with you.
Dry brushing is best of course, and it’s what I do (no toothpaste). However, chewing gum is extremely effective, as long as the artificial sweetener is natural and safe. If there is any sign of myofacial pain/TMD [temporomandibular joint disorders], then chewing gum may not be a good thing. One need chew only for 5 minutes. The saliva wash/production that occurs after gum chewing is way more effective than rinsing with mouthwash or water. Drinking alkaline liquids after a meal also helps. Pellegrino has a pH of 7.9, but Perrier 5.9. So you have to know your liquids! Tap water usually is on the acidic side of the pH scale.
Dr. Burhenne is author of The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox: How We Are Sleeping Our Way to Fatigue, Disease and Unhappiness, available here.