Remember when you were a kid and learning about the importance of brushing your teeth? The dentist used to tell you to spend 2 minutes brushing, twice per day. Your parents would make you sing your way through the alphabet song and you couldn't stop brushing until you reached Z?
|9 Oct 2007 - Indian school children attempt to break the world record for the largest co-ordinated tooth brushing, currently held by the Philippines, at 41,038. Courtesy of BBC News|
Indians have the brushing thing down to a science. Never in my life have I seen people spend the amount of time they spend brushing their teeth. Every morning, you'll see men zooming by on motorcycles with a toothbrush hanging out of their mouth or kids walking to the kirana shop to get the morning packet of milk, brushing all the way there and all the way back home. My personal favourite (please sense sarcasm) generally happens between the hours of 8-10am, and is the sound of any number of neighbours brushing so vigorously that they gag themselves, repeatedly. Brushing right out there in the open; for a super extended period of time. Shoving that toothbrush so far down their throat, they make heaving noises and not just once, but like 10 times before they're satisfied. It's like a gagging quota or something.
Everyone does it. It's not an isolated thing. I've not been anywhere in India where I haven't observed this. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great. Many Indians have really sparkling beautiful teeth regardless of the fact that they might have never visited a dentist in their life.
There are two dental products I have not been able to locate however. The first is dental floss. Both of my brother in laws are dentists so I thought they could hook me up. When I asked one why I couldn't find it in the stores he says, "People don't know how to use it, so it's not sold. They do themselves more harm than good with it." When I asked him whether he could get me some, he said "No, you'll do more harm than good with it." Point taken, and perhaps he's right as I did have my US dentist tell me once I was flossing too hard and had cut marks on the roof of my mouth and gum line. Moving on...
The second product I can't find is home tooth whitening kits. Again, deemed too dangerous for the average consumer, you can only avail this service at your local dentist office. Of course you have the normal array of whitening toothpaste but we all know how effective that stuff is. So I did what the internet savvy consumer would do and I turned to Pinterest. There I found an amazing recipe that worked better than any store product I've purchased (and I've pretty much tried them all). You just have to mix 1/4 cup baking soda with juice from half a lemon and apply it to your teeth for 60 seconds then rinse with water and brush as normal. I'll spare you the before and after pics of my own mouth, but trust me, this concoction works! Just be careful not to get it on your gums because the mixture will tear 'em up. I found it worked well to use a Q-Tip (you won't believe how long it took me to find those in India) to apply.
So... happy brushing, and happy whitening if you decide to try the recipe. If so, let me know what you think! And if you're visiting India any time soon, could you bring me some floss?