Radical Joy with Tabitha Brown
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks) when you just wanted to lay in bed, turn off your brain, turn on your favorite TV show, and do absolutely nothing? Besides the occasional run to the bathroom or to get up and replenish your snack rotation, your bed is the only place you want to be for hours on end. You might find yourself mindlessly scrolling between social media and then dozing off for a couple of hours, only to wake up and do it all again — but is there really any shame in that?
Our beds have a way of providing us with a sense of peace, protection, and rest away from the demands of our everyday life, and a new TikTok trend is highlighting the benefits of this counter-culture, yet pleasurable form of rest.
Bed rotting, a TikTok trend that has garnered over 204.1M views, is essentially taking long periods for hyper-focused rest and downtime. It’s the act of doing absolutely nothing at all except for being in your bed for an extended period of time, with limited mobility, productivity, or activity.
This “anti-productivity” take on self-care does have its benefits, as one sleep scientist, Vanessa Hill, claims in a TikTok video that as you “waste away underneath your blanket… nothingness is your best friend.”
In defence of #inbedrotting because it’s perfect 🛌💙 #lifehack #bedrot #bedrotting #bed #bedroomtok #sleepscientist #fyp
Since resting has, for a long time, been associated with “laziness' and the guilt that comes with that, bed rotting now offers the tired and restless a reason to recharge and recoup without feeling guilty for it.
The need for passive activities like bed rotting also points to the perpetual burnout that many millennials and Gen Zers are experiencing from the demands of work, family, school, and sustaining their livelihood despite the stress that it collectively produces. With so much pressure to be productive, even while we’re resting, these moments of self-care can be the reset button you need to feel reinvigorated enough to take on life’s responsibilities.
But just like with every wellness trend, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re bed rotting.
I learned about folks #coping by being #inbedrotting …here are some thoughts #mentalhealth #burnout #sleep #stress
When we’re anxious or stressed out about the pressure of our everyday lives, we can turn to sleep as a means to avoid the problem in hopes that it will go away. Because of this, Jessi Gold, MD, MS, assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, shares in one TikTok that the lines between healthy bed rotting and depression can be blurred. “Are you sleeping because you don’t want to be awake because of stress and anxiety, or the things you have to do, or are you sleeping because you actually need it,” she states in the video.
Because bed rotting and depressive episodes can present themselves in similar ways, like oversleeping and fatigue, it’s advised to monitor your bed rotting to ensure that it doesn’t extend beyond a day or two, as any longer can be a sign of depression, and to seek professional support.
While there is no “perfect” or “right” way to give your body and mind the TLC and self-care that it may need, there are ways to make your bed rotting more restorative beyond media intake and sleep — unless you enjoy that, of course.
For instance, while in bed, take some time to get cozy with a book that doesn’t focus on self-help or “shadow work.” Get lost in the pages of a dramatic romance or even a coloring book where you can use your mind without actually using it. Or maybe even turn on some lo-fi or ambient music to meditate in bed for 45 minutes to an hour, where you’re truly unplugging with breathwork. Or, if you simply want to be on TikTok for a few hours, put a timer on so that you have a stop and start time that allows you to scroll in moderation.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with bed rotting if that’s the kind of rest you’re in need of. As we undo the society’s programming that tells us that rest is a reward for how productive we’ve been, remember that rest isn’t something you have to earn; it’s something you do because your body needs and deserves it.
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Featured image by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images