Dental Problems and a Possible Solution

Many people with FM (and plenty who don't have it) have trouble with dental tartar, leading to gum infections and tooth loss. Here is a recipe for dealing with this problem that my periodontist taught me. 

Buy a surgical cleaner called Hibiclens from your local drugstore. Also buy an antibacterial mouthwash (I use green Scope.) Mix 1/2 tsp. of Hibiclens with 16 oz of mouthwash. (For people who don't eat sugar this is unbearably sweet. I actually use 8 oz. Scope and 8 oz. water). Use this as a mouthwash before bed at night. It kills the bacteria in your mouth, which cause plaque to form. You'll notice the difference in your mouth in the morning. Forget 'morning breath.' 

The disadvantage: Hibiclens tends to stain your teeth. This is an aesthetic boo-boo, but has no effect on your teeth. 

The cure: Mentadent toothpaste. It is marvelous. 

If you can do it, get yourself an electric toothbrush such as as Sonicare. Brush for two minutes using Mentadent after breakfast and before bed. (Sonicare times you for two minutes, and is gentle to your gums. It costs about $100 at retail, and replacement toothbrushes -- you need one every six months to a year -- cost about $15.) Some people have good things to say about the much-less-expensive Oral B battery-operated toothbrush, but I've never used it.  Whatever kind of toothbrush you use, time yourself and brush for at least two minutes morning and night.  If you can possibly brush after breakfast, instead of before, do so.  Your teeth will be clean and free of things for bacteria to thrive on for more of the day.

Note to women of childbearing age: As of about 15 years ago, when I started this regimen, Hibiclens was approved for the FDA for this purpose for only six months at a time. It had not been tested for effects on fetuses. I don't know if that has changed. If you're nervous about this, get your dentist to prescribe Peridex. It is Hibiclens diluted to the ratio described above, and is approved for use during pregnancy. It also costs about 5x the price of an equivalent amount of Hibiclens.

Revised October 8, 2001

Copyright ©1997, Miryam Ehrlich Williamson - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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