The Up-Sell Of Adult Fluoride Varnish

Find out of you really need a fluoride treatment every time you get your teeth cleaned.

There are offices, many of which are corporations, which insist on their hygienists applying fluoride varnish after every cleaning, no matter the patient’s age or need. These offices pressure the practice of fluoride varnish as a routine service, conforming the practitioner into a non-discretionary employee, which can be very intimidating to uninformed patients. Many of you have experienced the offering of fluoride varnish and have submitted due to the discomfort level of your questioning it. There are dental offices banking on your allowing them to do a fluoride varnish application, and they remember you as an easy patient who allows them to perform whatever services are suggested.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Fluoride varnish is touted by sales reps and dental consultation companies as a quick and easy add on to increase sales. The typical varnish costs a dental office about .50-.65 cents a dose and only takes the hygienist less than two minutes to apply. Your charge is anywhere from $25-$40 and it comes right out of your pocket because insurance companies don’t cover adult fluoride treatments. Then, if a hygienist is really good at upselling, especially when bonuses are attached to daily production, they may even try to sell you a prescription strength fluoride paste to take home, regardless of the last time you had a cavity.

You are Profit in the Chair, Not a Person in the Chair

My skin is crawling writing this because I have experienced the type of dental office where you are profit in the chair, not a person in the chair. Needless to say, I didn’t last long, however, I gained enough insight to pass information on to you. It is very rare for an adult to need a fluoride application for the purpose of decay prevention. If an adult is experiencing decay, it’s crucial to explore the reasons, and then apply far more reaching solutions than a fluoride varnish. Your daily dental habits at home are far more effective in prevention than anything performed at a dental office. I must repeat: There is nothing more important than what you yourself can manage at home to maintain your oral health.

If an adult is experiencing decay, fluoride is not the answer. Addressing the cause of the decay is the answer whether it be dry mouth or a health issue, all of which have alternatives to fluoride for treatment. Remember, things like fluoride varnish and prescription take-home pastes have high amounts of fluoride which can be absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your entire body without it ever exiting completely as waste.

Besides decay, generalized teeth sensitivity could be an argument for a fluoride varnish treatment, but oh the irony. It would be negligent to not discuss the causes of sensitivity, as sometimes it’s the fluoride toothpaste filled with chemicals which make teeth sensitive, see my blog The Truthpaste of Toothpaste. Generalized sensitivity is usually from the deprivation of healthy mineral absorption of the teeth or if mouth PH is too acidic, which a fluoride varnish treatment will completely breeze right over.

The offices I’ve worked at have been using MI Paste for years as an alternative to take-home fluoride pastes which are used for decay prevention and sensitivity. They do make one, MI Paste Plus with fluoride, but I don’t choose that one as the fluoride is superfluous to the active ingredient of Recaldent which remineralizes tooth enamel as well as prevents decay. The Recaldent is made from milk peptides and bonds to the calcium and phosphate (naturally occurring in saliva) ingredients to bind them to the enamel. The paste also neutralizes acids to restore mouth PH. MI Paste cannot be used for anyone with a milk protein allergy but it’s a great alternative to fluoride, although, it must be purchased through a dental office.

If you are truly diagnosed with new adult decay, forgo the fluoride varnish treatment, and instead, save your money to purchase some MI Paste. However, I am not one hundred percent in love with MI Paste, as it contains chemicals such as the preservative benzoate, which many people can be sensitive to.

You can be completely independent in preventing and remineralizing adult decay by using pastes with the bioidentical minerals of nano-hydroxyapatite, of which many countries such as Japan and Europe are way ahead of us. Nano-hydroxyapatite is a crystalline calcium phosphate derived from bone and is almost identical to the hydroxyapatite of our teeth. It directly replaces lost minerals and restores enamel to its original form without any toxic or harmful side effects as it’s in itself edible. Unlike fluoride, while these pastes strengthen your teeth, they also create a uniform color of translucent white making them healthy looking as well. If you are using a nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste at home, you most certainly can forgo a fluoride varnish treatment at the dental office.

Click image to order remineralizing toothgel by CariFree

Obviously, if at your dental visit you have no decay, they really can’t intimidate you with their sales talk on fluoride varnish; with confidence you can say, “No thanks.” If you’re experiencing new decay, thank them for finding it but forgo the varnish, and let your hygienist know you’d rather spend the money on taking some MI Paste home. Better yet, you can be the one educating your fluoride convinced dental team when you tell them, “I’ll be using my nano-hydroxyapatite paste!” Say that three times.

*This blog contains affiliate links for products Ask My Hygienist carefully recommends based on professional experience or personal use. These suggestions are to assist you in your quest for better oral health, and in turn, you're assisting our blog with the small commission we receive from your purchase.

Ordinary Mouthwash Is Bad For Bad Breath; Good Tips For Good Breath

Your mouthwash can be doing more harm than good and can actually cause bad breath.

The first thing to do about bad breath is know its cause. The last thing you want to do for bad breath is treat it with mouthwash. Most commercial brands have either chemicals or alcohol which primarily target to kill bacteria. Like I discussed in The Truthpaste of Toothpaste, unfortunately these aggressive ingredients not only kill the bad bacteria, they kill the good, and the good bacteria is needed for decay prevention, healthy gums, and….yes, good breath!! Remember, if you have a clean mouth from good habits, good eating, and good dental home-care, you do not need to kill bacteria.

Furthermore, alcohol in mouthwash is extremely drying for the mouth, which in itself will cause bad breath defeating your intent. The lack of saliva  after sleeping is why people experience “Morning breath,” as saliva is needed to maintain a healthy PH and encourage healthy bacteria. Like many commercial toothpastes, commercial mouthwash contains chemicals which give you a burning sensation because the mouthwash is burning your tissue by irritating it. Mouthwash is a true waste of your money and will only mask bad breath odor for a short duration, while never ameliorating the cause.

The odor from your bad breath could be a clue toward discovering the cause. I have had many patients ask me if I think they have bad breath, and this is a really good place for you to start. If you haven’t been in the dental care system for a while, ask a loved one whom you know will be honest with you. Generally, though, you have a pretty good idea on your own if you have a taste in your mouth;  your breath will usually smell the way your mouth tastes.

Know What’s Causing Your Chronic Bad Breath:

Dental neglect or poor oral hygiene is an obvious cause of bad breath which varies depending on the degree of periodontal disease. Food debris can actually cause fermentation in your mouth which would give it a sour taste or rotten egg odor. If someone has gum disease their breath can smell metallic or bloody on top of the rotten egg odor.

Ketoacidosis can come from diabetes when experiencing low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. It can also come from dieting or fasting or eating disorders. I have experienced some patients in Santa Fe who are always on some kind of “Detox,” or fast and I can always tell from their fruity mouth odor. A high protein diet such as Paleo can cause the release of ketones which will temporarily cause a fruity or an acetone odor from “Keto breath.” However, long term high protein diets can cause a volatile sulfur byproduct from anaerobic (oxygen deprived) bacteria which digests proteins. The odor from volatile sulfur is heavier than “Fruity,” which is more of a rotten egg smell and can be very offensive.

Sinusitis or Nasal Problems can cause bad breath due to becoming more acidic and can lead to dry mouth. It’s very important to tongue scrape with nasal issues as your tongue can become coated with the acidic thriving bacteria causing bad breath with a metallic odor.

Xerostomia is a dry mouth condition which can be caused by medications or radiation treatments, aging, chronic dehydration, chronic stress and anxiety, and so many other conditions. Saliva is crucial to a balanced and healthy mouth and without it, taste buds are dulled while experiencing both a metallic taste and odor.

Acid Reflux, once again, will cause your oral cavity to be too acidic, giving off a metallic or sour taste and odor.

Smoking deprives your mouth of oxygen which causes acidic bacteria growth, which causes periodontal disease. Besides your breath smelling like tobacco, smoking causes dry mouth which leaves you with bad breath and exacerbates gum disease.

Gut Bacteria Imbalance can commonly come from overgrown H.Pylori in the small-intestine which causes digestion problems making the oral cavity too acidic where you would have a rotten egg odor.

The above are only samples of conditions which can cause bad breath, so find out if your bad breath is caused by a medical condition with the help of your health-care provider.

Good Tips for Good Breath

Clean your teeth with brushing and flossing or picking. Don’t rush your routine, take your time, the better you remove plaque from your teeth, the better your breath will be.

Scrape your tongue clean. It’s very important you reach the scraper as far back as you can go (without gagging) as the anaerobic bacteria hides out in the back where there’s less oxygen, especially the volatile sulfur producing bacteria.

Click image to order Dr. Tung’s tongue cleaner

Test your mouth with PH strips to see if its acidic. If you’re too acidic you can use baking soda rinses after you eat. All you need is warm water and about a teaspoon of baking soda to rinse and gargle with. I would even sprinkle baking soda on your favorite natural toothpaste to brush with.

Baking soda can help neutralize volatile sulfur and give you better breath while encouraging healthy bacteria.

Hydrate by drinking lots of water and keep your mouth moist. At night discourage mouth breathing, see Mouth Breathing During Cold Winter Nights. During the day natural xylitol candies and gums can help keep your mouth moist because it leaves behind a slippery film on your teeth and oral cavity.

Eat well and don’t skip meals in order to prevent low blood sugar. Healthy whole foods discourage bad bacteria to grow in the mouth while fibrous foods help prevent the volatile sulfur.

If Mouthwash feels good, then, by all means, use it, but be selective by using mouthwash with ingredients you can recognize and are non-invasive. I am impressed with Dr. H & Co. rinses because of their high-quality ingredients and emphasis on whole oral health. I highly recommend Dr. H & Co. Refresh for better breath. They also make a rinse Heal concentrated more on gum health.

I love all the ingrediants in this rinse for gum health, especially the aloe vera which is alkeline and can help neutralize your flora. Click on image to order.

Ideally, barring any medical issues, if you follow the above dental tips, your mouth should feel pretty clean and odor free.


*This blog contains affiliate links for products Ask My Hygienist carefully recommends based on professional experience or personal use. These suggestions are to assist you in your quest for better oral health, and in turn, you're assisting our blog with the small commission we receive from your purchase.



Scoping Out The Best Dental Clinics In Mexico

It is crucial you know the reputation of the dental clinic you choose in Mexico.

In my blog, Dental Tourism In Mexico; I’m All For You Saving Money, I discuss the story that led me to become engaged in dental offices in Mexico. I highly recommend you spend the time needed to research dental offices in Mexico. Schedule your appointment only after you feel one hundred percent comfortable.

Follow These Tips To Find The Best Dental Clinics In Mexico

1.Know the reputation of the dental clinic through word of mouth from at least three patients or use a professional referral service (which do not charge fees) such as Beyond Borders Dental (BBD) or Dental Destinations. I personally can recommend BBD because of my first-hand involvement with them; they’re a family-owned business which spends quality time in the clinics they refer to and give individual attention to clients, yet have limited locations in Mexico. If you’re wanting more choices, Dental Destinations actually uses offices all over the world, including Mexico. I do have some contact with them and I’m under the impression they do site visits to the clinics they refer to but to what extent I don’t know. It’s up to you to pick the patients or the referral agency’s brains!!! Ask tons of questions, of which many are below.

2.Ask about the credentialing of the dentists. Many dentists are attached to universities and teach their trade or are well known in their field. Sometimes dental clinics at the border have several dentists working there and you will be surprised at how young many of them are. You may want to ask for a highly experienced dentist to treat you, more frequently referred to as the senior dentists. Also, know you will not find dental hygienists or assistants in Mexican clinics. Even though they have graduated from university, dentists do all the assisting and cleanings on their own.

3. Ask about the dental materials they use, for example the nobility of the metal in their crowns, or when appropriate,  what brand names they use, for example for implants. There are offices in Mexico that use the exact same Implant materials we use here in the US, such as Nobel Biocare or Straumann. You can ask them if they will be prepared to show you the official label from the company, which they usually adhere to your chart. The Mexican government puts a cap on the mark-up from manufacturers of medical, dental, and pharmaceutical companies to control the costs, but they are the same products used here.

4. You may also want to ask if they use digital x-rays, which they should!!! A modern office should be computerized and have email. You should be able to email them your U.S. treatment plans and digital x-rays, and they should do the same for you per your request.

5. It’s a very good sign when the clinic has an office manager that speaks English. They should be able to guide you through the entire process of crossing the border to their office or if they have a driver to pick you up, and all the necessities to make your visit a success. A reputable office will provide you with a staff member who can answer all of your questions and make you feel comfortable while you’re there. They should be able to explain the treatment plan and procedures with you as well.

6. Cleanliness is huge but you must not mistake it with simplicity. The offices I have experienced are extremely clean with the same autoclaves and sterilization techniques as the U.S.. You will see the same sterilization tubs of wipes you can find in operatories here. I have spent a lot of time in Mexico, and in general, from dental offices to restaurants, the bathrooms are some of the cleanest I have ever seen, anywhere, period. If the clinic is not clean, leave!!!

7. Ask about their warranties. Many offices guarantee their work and materials for 2-4 years.

8. Ask if the dental clinic can help process your dental insurance. It is a great sign if they are willing to help you and are advanced in doing so. Of course, you must first check with your insurance company about dental care coverage in Mexico.

The clinics in or near Mexico’s border towns are there to treat Americans, it is truly their intention. The dentists I have experienced in Mexico are authentic and genuine in their care for you and are much more heart centered than U.S. health care providers. They also tend to be more honest in their diagnosis, and in my experience, Mexican dentists can actually disagree with U.S. treatment plans which can be heavily over diagnosed, hence, turning work away. This saves you even more money!!

You may want to use caution in large border towns, such as Los Algodones, better known as “Molar City,” where the clinics are very competitive for your business. It’s extremely important you adhere to the above suggestions and I highly recommend a referral agency, as you could easily get swindled into an under-rated dental clinic in a place like Molar City. I hope this helps you to be the adventurer you are. Good luck!!