Note from Crystal: I know that this topic might be a bit controversial and I personally would differ with some of the conclusions of the guest poster and do believe that regular dental visits are something that should be prioritized if you can at all make it happen in your budget. However, I decided to share this post here because I thought it might give some great ideas for those of you who are unable to afford regular dental care. It also is a great reminder for all of us to think outside the box and this might be a great option for in between dental visits and/or to reduce the costs of needing extra expensive dental work.
Please do your own research and do what is best for you and your family. If you have other suggestions for ways to save on dental care, I’d love for you to leave them in the comments. As always, sharply critical comments will be deleted but we welcome kind and gracious comments that contribute to the conversation.
Guest post from Liberty:
When was the last time you had your teeth cleaned? How about your kids’?
If you’re like many people, you find it challenging (particularly on the budget) to faithfully book teeth cleanings for each family member every six months.
The average cost of a regular teeth cleaning is $137. Multiply that times a couple of children, plus parents, and you have a regular six-month monstrosity of a dentist’s bill!
It can be difficult enough living on a tight budget without worrying about a huge extra bill, or the worse alternative. an outbreak of cavities (bigger cost alert!)
We all want to provide the care our kids need to enjoy clean, healthy teeth for a lifetime, but sometimes it’s harder than getting your six year old to eat shrimp at your friend’s dinner table!
The good news is you can professionally clean your entire family’s teeth at home for less than the cost of a new crockpot!
My grandmother, a dental assistant for 30 years and only recently retired, taught my family how to clean our teeth ourselves.
I grew up cleaning my teeth at home (and watching my mother clean my teeth when I was younger) and neither I nor any of my siblings have ever had a cavity.
Every once in a while, we’d visit our grandmother and she’d offer us free teeth cleanings at the dentist’s office. But she always ended up saying, “I don’t even know why I do this, your teeth are just so clean!”
The best part about cleaning your teeth at home is that it’s unbelievably easy and extremely cost-effective, in addition to causing other health benefits you may not expect. Teeth cleaning is so easy teenagers can do it — and that’s saying a good deal!
There are four simple steps to clean your teeth:
1. Floss thoroughly.
Run the floss between every tooth twice: once up and down on one side and once up and down on the other side.
2. Scale and scrape.
Gently scrape your teeth with a scaler along the gum line, between your teeth, and over the flat surface of each tooth. Be sure to gently scrape out any grooves you may have in your teeth, and to avoid widening cracks.
You’ll want to use a professional-quality, stainless steel scaler — they’re actually quite affordable. Don’t use one of those cheapie Walmart teeth-scaling kits.
3. Polish and brush.
Put a small amount of pumice polish on your toothbrush and give your teeth a good brushing. Pumice whitens your teeth and removes plaque and tartar at the same time.
Brush with side-to-side, up-and-down, and circular strokes. Make sure you brush along the gum line as well as the surface of the teeth themselves.
4. Replace your toothbrush regularly.
The pumice polish ruins your toothbrush’s regular cleaning capabilities, so buy yourself a new toothbrush each time you clean your teeth at home.
Yes, even replacing toothbrushes every six months doesn’t raise the cost to more than a fraction of the cost of a crockpot!
It can be intimidating to clean your teeth the first time — you may want to begin by cleaning your family’s teeth at home, and still going in for a cleaning occasionally to see how well you’re doing. Get x-rays. Ask the hygienist if there’s much of a buildup on your teeth. Make adjustments to your home-care routine accordingly until you have the process mastered.
You’ll still save money without worrying about sacrificing the health of your teeth in the process.
DIY teeth cleaning is a cost-effective, rewarding experience!
As you run your tongue along your teeth and feel the newly-smooth surface (the rough plaque having vanished along with the pumice), smile big and show your teeth as you think of all the things you can do with the money you saved.
Legal Disclaimer: As you’ve guessed, I am neither a dentist nor claim to be. This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for obtaining professional dental advice. Please use at your own risk.
Liberty is so fascinated with effective DIY teeth cleaning that she wrote an eBook about it: Goodbye Dentist! Professionally Clean Your Family’s Teeth (in Under $20). You can download your free copy (opens in Dropbox) of this step-by-step, pain-free, detailed guide to becoming your own dentist and saving hundreds of dollars.