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I tried the Crest Whitestrips a second, on the top teeth, about 2 weeks ago.  That time I got the same pings as the first time (read the first time report), but didn’t feel the strong tightness in shoulders/neck or nausea of the first time.

However, since then I have been sick with a tenacious cold.  So even though the cold is most likely unrelated to the Whitestrips, I have a bad feeling about them.

I stay as healthy as possible by maximizing the health-promoting things I put in my body–organic food, mostly veggies–and minimizing the not good things.  And with my dental care, I’ve been as non/low-toxic as possible.  Unfortunately, these Whitestrips deviate from that.  They don’t feel compatible with my commitment to sustainable health.

So I’m shelving the Whitestrips.  Vanity loses at this point.

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Attention! Attention!

All braces newbies! Go to your local Walgreen’s (if you have one) and invest in a Magic Bullet! They are only $49.99 after you mail in a $10 rebate. And you don’t have to wait to get it shipped from somewhere else.

Before I get too carried away, What is the Magic Bullet? you ask?

It’s the braces wearer’s best friend. Friendly mushy food quick and easy, with lower maintenance cleaning than using a blender. Read my earlier post where I expounded the virtues of this infomercial product.

Oh, I plan to give my Magic Bullet to my friend, who is planning on getting braces soon. So, if you get one, be sure to pass on the joy. (Putting in my plug for living as sustainably as possible.)

I haven’t pushed my sustainability muscle into the toothbrush arena yet. I just make sure that I get some “reuse” out of my old toothbrushes, by using them to scrub a tough nook & cranny when I’m cleaning the kitchen or bathroom. It helps me feel less guilty about just throwing out all that plastic.

Thank goodness Idealbite has researched this, and posted info on more sustainable toothbrush alternatives:

You can avoid both by choosing a recycled or replaceable-head toothbrush instead of a conventional tooth-scrubber, and brush up on the best options to promote good dental and eco-hygiene.

According to Idealbite, benefits are: reducing trash (in the US, 50 mil lb of toothbrushes end up in landfills each year); saving money with replaceable-head versions; and the eco-brushes work as well as the ones from your dentist.

Products they recommend:

  • Preserve Toothbrush – made from recycled yogurt cups and comes with a postage-paid envelope for recycling; three bristle options. Available at Whole Foods ($4), Amazon.
  • Radius Source Toothbrush – has a cool corn and wood fiber handle with replaceable heads ($8). Available at Whole Foods, Amazon.
  • Fuchs Ekotec Toothbrush – simple replaceable-head brush that includes three spare heads ($4).

Now that I have some good leads, I think I’ll go check if my local green/sustainable store has one of these.

OK, this has nothing to do with braces, but I’m so happy about this, I can forget about my braces annoyances.  Plus I’m all about sustainability and he’s the man to bring this to wider attention.

Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize!!!

I’ve been investigating Healthy Options for oral care products, and came across this helpful article from Body + Soul magazine, that talks about the same.

Specifically, it covers:

Healthy Options series continues

Background: I’m out of town for a few days, and didn’t want to check my luggage just for the sake of carrying my big bottle of The Natural Dentist Fluoride Rinse Berry Blast, so after I landed, I walked over to a Walgreen’s to see what I could find.

Healthy Option goal: As always, my goal was to find as healthy an option as possible. In this case, a product with the required fluoride, and minimal additional artificial ingredients. And if possible, in a small size.

Review: Tom’s of Maine Natural Anticavity Fluoride Mouthwash (Spearmint)

I had high hopes for this product because a) Tom’s of Maine makes good products that I’ve liked and is a good company, committed to health and sustainability and b) because it’s an easily accessible option–it’s on sale at Walgreen’s in Chicago, after all!

Alas, I have enough discomfort with the braces, I don’t need more. This rinse STINGS like crazy. I read on a review that it’s because of the witch hazel that’s used instead of alcohol. Oy! I guess it’s a good option for people who think the stinging means it’s working (like mouthwash), but I’m nostalgic for my gentle if sweet-tasting Natural Dentist rinse.

There is a Lemon-Lime flavor for dry mouth, which might be better; maybe I’ll try it when I’m ready for a new bottle. For now, I’m going to return to my Natural Dentist rinse, as soon as I get home.

  • Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluroride 0.0442% (Anticavity). Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Witch Hazel Water (Hamamelis virginiana), Aloe Vera Leaf Juice (Aloe barbadensis), Xylitol, Poloxamer 407, Monosodium Phosphate, Spearmint Leaf Oil (Mentha viridis), Green Tea Glycerite, Chamomile Glycerite, Benzoic Acid, Menthol
  • Flavors: spearmint (reviewed), peppermint and lemon-lime for dry mouth
  • Size: 1 pint. Also available in 2.06 oz, which you can carry onto planes.
  • Cost: $5.99 (at Walgreen’s); also available online

Healthy Options series continues

Background: Fluoride rinse is one of the special requirements for dental care while wearing braces. You’re supposed to use it every day. There are a bunch on the market; many with flavors to appeal to kids. The sample I got at the orthodontist was from ACT, bubble gum flavor. Yuck. (Active Ingredient: Sodium Fluoride (0.05%)(Fluoride Ion 0.0226%). Inactive Ingredients: Cetylpyridinium Chloride, D&C Red No. 33, Dibasic Sodium Phosphate, Edetate Calcium Disodium, Flavors, Monobasic Sodium Phosphate, Poloxamer 407, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbitol and Water.)

Healthy Option goal: To find an option that has the required fluoride, and minimal additional artificial ingredients.

natural dentist fluoride rinseMy pick (for now): The Natural Dentist Fluoride Rinse Berry Blast

I thought the bubble gum was bad. The flavor of this one is almost worse because of the concentrated fruit flavor. However, it claims not to have alcohol, artificial sweeteners, dyes, or harsh chemicals, so I’m sticking with it.

  • Contains xylitol, a naturally occurring substance derived from birch tree pulp that has been clinically proven to help fight cavities. Xylitol’s antimicrobial properties also protect teeth from the bacteria that cause the buildup of dental plaque.
  • No alcohol, artificial color or synthetic perfumes
  • Full list of ingredients here
  • flavor: Berry Blast (only flavor available)
  • 16 oz.
  • Cost: $13.39 (Whole Foods special ordered it for me); also available online

This is my first installment of reviews of healthy option products for this braces adventure. I’m listing these on the Healthy Options page as well.

Background: I’ve been using Crest Glide or some similar “tape”-style floss, because it’s easier to use and doesn’t shred between my tightly-aligned teeth.

Healthy Option goal: To find a reasonably-priced option that is more healthy and sustainable, and works as well as what I’ve been using so far. The two important health/sustainability elements are:

  1. The filament. Looks like the options are primarily plastic (PTFE or teflon, or polyethethelene), nylon (Tom’s of Maine’s floss) and natural fibers. The only natural fiber I’ve been able to find in my brief research is silk, from Radius. I’m still looking for info on relative health safety. The toxicity of teflon on cooking pans has been tested, but hopefully your mouth won’t get that hot for that long.
  2. The wax coating. Some brands have natural waxes like jojoba, beeswax or carnuba. (Crest Glide uses natural bee’s wax.)

My pick (for now): Desert Essence Dental Tape

It’s not as smooth and silky as the Crest Glide, but it definitely works for my tight (and sore) teeth. It’s an acceptable alternative.

According to the packaging (which looks like a regular plastic floss package):

  • The floss/tape is waxed and saturated with Tea Tree Oil, which is inherently antiseptic
  • No animal ingredients or testing
  • No alcohol, artificial color or synthetic perfumes
  • 30 Yds, Waxed
  • Cost: $3.40 (Rainbow Grocery in SF); also available online

I’m researching the filament and wax on this product.

My friend gave me a fun present the other day.  Peace of Mind gum from Origins. (Nice to see they have large refill portions; in line with my sustainability-conscious living.)

I just saw the little canister on the shelf and popped two refreshing gumballs into my mouth.  And am chewing with my still-braces-free teeth.

To the little things that can bring a smile!