How to take care of your teeth when you’re unemployed and uninsured

July 07, 2020

How to take care of your teeth when you’re unemployed and uninsured
How to take care of your teeth when you’re unemployed and uninsured

Unemployment is already a tough experience on its own. When you're trying to keep a roof over your head and food in the pantry, the last thing you want to worry about is a cavity or a debilitating toothache. There are ways to save money (buy a bamboo toothbrush, for example), and ways to stave off the evil microscopic plaque army (floss, mouthwash, even something called oil-pulling). When you’re unemployed and uninsured, an ounce of prevention is much better than a pound of cure. With that understanding, consider these seven ways to take care of your teeth that won't cost much.


1. Look for free or reduced services.

There are plenty of non-profit organizations that host health expos and health fairs. At these events, they'll offer free services such as dental cleanings. Do your research to find out about the organizations that typically host these events. Check out the dental schools in the area as well. While it might not be the most enjoyable process, some dental students require a certain number of practice hours. If you're willing to allow a dental student to practice on your mouth, you can sometimes get your services for free or at a deeply discounted rate.


2. Change your toothbrush more than you do right now.

Any time you're sick, whether you're getting over the flu or a bad case of the stomach virus, you'll want to get rid of the toothbrush you used afterward. You don't want that bacteria to fester on the bristles of your toothbrush. Outside of getting sick, you need to replace your toothbrush every few months. A bamboo charcoal toothbrush is an excellent--and inexpensive--replacement as it's infused with activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is known to whiten teeth, absorb plaque, and get rid of the bacteria that are associated with bad breath.


3. Floss.

Always floss your teeth. When you brush your teeth, it can be pretty easy to get food stuck in those hard-to-reach areas. By using floss to reach those areas, you'll increase your chances of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If you're not great with flossing, you can try to use a water flosser. Water flossers are known for pushing even more bacteria out of the mouth. Plus, it's a simple yet quick way to get the job done. However, if you're on a tight budget, the regular, old-fashioned string floss is inexpensive.


4. There's enough pressure in your life already. Don't apply it to your teeth.

Don't make the mistake of assuming you need to brush really hard to get rid of the dirt on your teeth. Instead, you'll want to focus on gentle yet consistent strokes with the toothbrush. When you use pressure, you'll increase your chances of hurting your teeth and developing sensitive gums.


5. Try non-traditional methods of dental care.

There are different views on whether oil pulling is effective or not. However, there are plenty of people who use this Ayurvedic method to eliminate bacteria. This practice involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes. After all, if you're unemployed, you probably have the spare time. Many have confessed that oil-pulling practices helped to reverse their oral issues, be it gum disease, cavities, or stained teeth.

If you choose to do this, make sure you remember a few critical points. Never swallow the coconut oil once you're finished. Swallowing the oil defeats the purpose by ingesting all of the toxins you're trying to get rid of. Furthermore, when it's time to spit it out, don't spit it down the drain. It's better to spit it into a disposable cup and throw it in the trash. Coconut oil hardens pretty quickly. If you're doing this practice every day, your drains will get coated with coconut oil. Consequently, you'll clog up the drain.

Otherwise, this is a gentle yet effective practice to consider for optimal oral health.


6. Don’t forget the mouthwash.

If you don't like the idea of using coconut oil, that's okay. You can always use mouthwash. Also, if you love the idea of using coconut oil for oil pulling, it's okay to finish off the process by using mouthwash. By gargling mouthwash for 20 seconds, you'll help to kill lingering bacteria you might've missed when you brushed your teeth. It'll also help you maintain fresh breath.


7. Ease up on sugar.

Be mindful of how much sugar you consume. Most people know that too much sugar equates to cavities and more. However, they don't fully understand why. Sugar naturally leads to tooth decay. When you consume lots of sugar and don't immediately brush your teeth, the harmful molecules from sugar tend to stay around. Those molecules can wreak havoc and encourage the growth of bacteria. As a result, this breaks down the enamel of your teeth. When you're dealing with a breakdown of enamel, you're looking at an increased risk of cavities. If you have a sweet tooth and must have something sweet at the end of the day, make sure you brush your teeth right afterward. Overall, decrease your sugar consumption to encourage healthy teeth and decrease incredibly expensive visits to the dentist.

If you stay on top of your oral hygiene, it'll be a lot harder to experience any issues with your teeth. Sure, accidents can happen. However, you don't want them to happen while you're in between jobs. By maintaining these habits, you'll increase your oral hygiene chances as you prevent the onset of damaging oral concerns.

P.S. Here’s an article from Popular Science magazine on how to brush your teeth. You know, in case you need a refresher.


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