Caboter: A relaxing, agreeable thing to do along the coastline in France
La Flemme! Why everyone's so lethargic, paresseux, and feignant this time of year--and what France has done to remedy it!

Alarming news at the Dentist's + Jackie applies for Fashion school in Marseille

Impasse gagliardo rochas blanc
Thursday we went to Marseille for a few appointments. Jean-Marc took the opportunity to drive us through our old neighborhood, in Le Roucas Blanc (our first home was there on the left, behind the house with the blue shutters--at the end of the Impasse Gagliardo. On the hilltop, you are seeing the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde). We also passed the church in which we were married...see it at the end of this post.

Today's words: "sans dents"

    -- without teeth

French Slang: Do you speak the real French? Essentials of French Slang book, order here.

Example sentence and sound file: 

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L'homme naît sans dents, sans cheveux et sans illusions, et il meurt de même, sans cheveux, sans dents et sans illusions. --Alexandre Dumas

Man is born without teeth, without hair, without any illusions, and he dies the same way: without hair, without teeth, without any illusions.


by Kristi Espinasse

I am sitting next to a pile of clothes on my bed, trying to wrestle my foot into a high-heeled espadrille, the third pair of chaussures I've tried this morning. "You are only going to the dentist," Jean-Marc points out.

"Yes, but...she's so chic!" My behavior perplexes me as much as my husband, but I can only shrug my shoulders: I am a chameleon, most comfortable disappearing into the background. The neighborhood where Sylvie, la chirurgien-dentiste, is located is in a fashionable quartier in Marseille, and all my efforts to fit in will be en vain. In vain--such is vanity! I end up pulling on a pair of cowboy boots as old as my firstborn. I know the women in Marseille will be wearing ballerinas or sandals, but the women back home in Arizona...well what do I know about Arizonans anymore?--I've lived in France half my life!

And it is showing. At 50, I soon learn my teeth are in grave danger of le déchaussement: loosening and eventually falling out!

"You have beautiful-looking teeth," Dentist Sylvie (who I met at Flavia's) assures me, but beneath it all la maladie parodontale is underway. Sylvie shows us (I've dragged Jean-Marc along for a consultation, too) our radios. "Do you see those tâches noires? Evidence your bone mass is diminishing!"

Having worked on the American military in Italy, Sylvie's assistant, une hygiéniste dentaire (also named "Sylvie"); chats with me about my countrymen until I am relaxed. She lowers the examination chair to get a good look at my pearly-whites (or pearly-wrecks?). A few flicks with a sharp metal probe and she runs right into inflamed gencives. "Not good!" As she alerts the other Sylvie, I am remembering past warnings, from my own belle-mère (Lynne, in Seattle, who lectures internationally on dental health), and another favorite dentist, Robert, back in Les Arcs-sur-Argens, who warned that if I did not begin wearing a mouthguard, for bruxism, I'd be in trouble down the line.

Here we are 20 years down the line and it seems this inflammation is, in part, related to tooth grinding (which may be related to anxiety). Stress has indeed been linked to periodontal disease! And gum disease is linked to everything from heart disease to erectile dysfunction (i.e. not flossing your teeth could lead to trouble below the belt). If that, dear reader, isn't motivation to floss your teeth and brush twice daily what is? 

I leave Sylvie's office with an estimate for something called surfaçage radiculair (tooth planing and scaling) and something called "les Inlays-Onlays" (ceramic tooth fillings) which are designed to repair all those holes in my teeth, from nightly grinding. Overwhelmed, or dépassée, from all the information (and the cost estimate...) I wish I could just go home and gargle with salt water--like my wise Uncle Tucker! Wouldn't that, eventually, clear out all that bacteria living up underneath my gums? Or is something more radical (scraping around the roots...the "tooth planing") needed? One thing is sure, this dentist appointment chez Sylvie has been a wake-up call and I am grateful for that: I promise, from here on out, to brush my teeth twice a day, floss, rinse my mouth after every meal and to once and for all quit being such a worrywart! Stress seems to be at the root of every illness, doesn't it? More than gargling with salt water, I'd do well to take a chill pill!

Jackie vintage gucci belt
Our daughter who turns 21 in September.

From the dentist's office we headed to Le Cercle des Nageurs--the oldest swim club in Marseille--and where Jean-Marc and I had our wedding reception back in 1994. We were here to meet our daughter for lunch, and then take her to her meeting at IICC (Institut International de Création Et de Coupe). What a coincidence! 23 years earlier, pregnant with my son, I tagged along with my friend Suzanne who, like Jackie, had an appointment at this very same fashion school.
Kristi and suzanne at bagatelle mariage
That's Suzanne, to my right. This was our Town Hall marriage. The church wedding was a few months later (church picture below)

I vaguely remember walking up La Canebière, searching for the building which was located beside a cathedral. And I can almost see Madame Ortega, with her shiny auburn hair who is presently greeting us...but not before chewing out her assistant (who up until now had done a smashing job showing us around) for leaving the door wide open.

"What do you want--all of our computers to be swiped? GO CLOSE THOSE DOORS!" Having put her cohort in his place, Madame took her seat. My eyes took in every inch of this colorful personnage, all the way down to her red-lacquered toes. Jackie was as intimidated as the rest of us, and vowed after the meeting never to be in the crosshairs with Madame.

For the second time that day (after the dentist's) we were given a rundown of fees.... and my mind reeled with it all. I looked over at my daughter (who was still agonizing over the school workload she was about to commit to) and I said, "What if we just chuck it all and go live on a horse ranch in Montana?"

What with these cowboy boots, one of us would fit right in!


Notes: Chirurgien-Dentiste Sylvie Bensoussan offered me a bilan, or dental check-up, in her state of the art office at 7 Parc Jean-Mermoz. More info at her website.

I am now using and loving this toothpaste and have bought soft-bristle toothbrushes for JM and me. It's a start! On my goals list: to get an oral irrigator. Would love your thoughts. Do you use one?

Update: Thanks to your recommendations I have ordered the Electric Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush 


les dents = teeth
les chaussures = shoes
le chirurgien-dentiste = dental surgeon
le déchaussement = receding of gums, loosening of the teeth
la maladie parodontale = periodontal disease
la radio = X-ray
la tâche noire = black spot
la gencive = gum
hygiéniste dentaire = dental hygienist
la belle-mère = mother-in-law, stepmother
surfaçage radiculaire = root planing
dépassé(e) = overwhelmed
personnage = character
le bilan = assessment, appraisal, check up

Jean-Marc and Jackie in the office at IICC marseille
Jean-Marc and Jackie, at her rdv at IICC Fashion School. I wonder if my friend Suzanne is reading, today, and if she remembers her own interview in this historic room!

Saint Antoine de Padoue church eglise marseille
Saint Antoine de Padoue, the church in Marseille where Jean-Marc and I were married in 1994.

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Alice Halliday

Hi Kristi
sometimes these dentists like to scare you into having work done or saying things are not so good, so that you have to pay big bills. That happened to me once in France when the dentist I had seen said I needed all my back teeth capped. I rang my UK dentist, who I had seen a few months previously, said I certainly did not need such drastic treatment!
Anyway, nowadays I use an electric toothbrush which is fantastic and although I have had a lot of treatment over the years, I think my dentist has got the message that I want my teeth to be treated 'conservatively'! I go every six months or so to the hygienist and on my recent visits to my dentist he says the plaque is well under control and gum inflammation is not apparent.
I swear by the electric toothbrush and have given them to our children!
Hope this helps! Alice

Caroline Stuart-Jervis

Believe me, I credit a huge amount of my dental health to my daily oral irrigation. I use a splash of listerine in the water container.

I remember Marseille very fondly too. Thanks so much for the posts! Caroline


My orthodontist advised AGAINST any sort of electric swells the gums and is NOT a good idea. He has a huge high-tech practice and is always attending seminars on the latest in dental science.
An electric toothbrush however, IS a good idea. Flossing every day, YES....AND a mouthguard, definitely if you grind your teeth. I have get used to it and can discreetly insert it and take it out..... ;)
Paradontosis is sorry you have been afflicted.
We just use a bio-organic toothpaste that has NO fluoride and NO micro-pearls....Good luck with your treatment, Kristi! xxx

Sue Lennox

I use an electric toothbrush twice a day. The vibrations seem to help clean the gums. (Still need to floss more though!

Geneviève Saffren

I too was warned by my dentist that I would have problems because of teeth grinding, so I reluctantly started wearing my night guard. (I had been fitted for it years before.)
It took some getting used to but I wear it religiously every night. And there’s one unexpected but wonderful benefit: I sleep soundly and don’t snore!
My dentist and husband are both very happy.


My orthodontist advised AGAINST any sort of electric swells the gums and is NOT a good idea. He has a huge high-tech practice and is always attending seminars on the latest in dental science.
An electric toothbrush however, IS a good idea. Flossing every day, YES....AND a mouthguard, definitely if you grind your teeth. I have get used to it and can discreetly insert it and take it out..... ;)
Paradontosis is sorry you have been afflicted.
We just use a bio-organic toothpaste that has NO fluoride and NO micro-pearls....Good luck with your treatment, Kristi! xxx


I use a sonic toothbrush that I absolutely love. I also have the cordless/rechargeable Water pik water flosser as I don't have an electrical outlet in my bathroom (walled over from a long ago renovation). I also love the water flosser, even though I have to make myself do it :) I have made my dentist and myself very happy with reversing oncoming gum disease.

John Senetto

I suggest seeing a periodontist, if your gums are bleeding, you may have periodontitis. Laser treatment is far better than root planning, also healing time reduced tremendously. Use an electric toothbrush, floss twice a day. Best Wishes Kristin.


`I am surprised the dentist didn't tell you to have a mouth guard made ASAP! They take the mold there in the office and send it out to be made...I love mine! I can be tense or relaxed while sleeping and don't worry about the grinding!
Yes, the electric toothbrush is really important too!``

Roseann Milano

Get an auto toothbrush. I use the Sonicare healthwhite and every time I brush my teeth I feel like I just had a tooth cleaning at the Dentist office. They hold a charge for about 2 weeks of brushing 2X per day. You get a pack of several brush heads with color rings to distinguish everyones brush head. Well worth the price.

I have also used a water irrigator but it's not as efficient as the Sonicare.

My gums are in great shape and I'm quite a bit older than you are.

Roseann Milano

That is Sonicare HealthyWhite.


Mary is absolutely right. Relaxed or calm, you will still grind from my personal experience. The newest mouth guards are fitted for the upper teeth and they are made of a harder material to discourage more grinding. You can't speak right and you may look a bit weird, but it will save your teeth! Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can control your sleeping brain. Get the mouth guard.


I'm puzzled about your 'belle-mere' lecturing in dental health in Seattle. I thought your mother-in-law lived in France and passed away recently? Is there some confusion here? (Well, there is on my part!)

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Kristi, all the best as you step up your oral-care routine. Me too -- for three weeks, have been using a Water-Pik water flosser before each brushing. I was also reminded to brush with a very soft toothbrush. It took a few tries to get the heck of water flossing, but it's so much easier and faster than using thread-style floss that I enjoy it now. One can also see the bits it washes out into the sink: impressive. And it feels great on the gums, too; good effects happening,
I believe. Great photos of old haunts and of Jackie today!


Best of luck to Jackie ....and to U Kristi!
My mother lost her beautiful and “close together” teeth to periodontal that time dental floss did not exist or dentist never talked about. I have teeth very similar to hers ...I am a grinder as well. Luckily I found dental floss in early adulthood and have used it since & would never stop...when teeth are so close together it is difficult for brush to get everything. Many cavities as a child but seldom in adulthood.. in addition, I cannot tolerate food between my teeth. Pretty teeth are nice but more difficult to clean without floss.
Unfortunately old fillings from childhood begin to break/ loosen as I get older...gums begin to recede some as we age!

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Mary, I forgot to add that the dentist did ask me about my mouth guard, which I wear faithfully these days.


Stress is definitely a factor. I have always maintained meticulous dental hygiene and had regular checkups. However, after a year going through a divorce and menopause at 48, I had a slew of problems requiring a lot of expensive repair. Then, 7 years later when I made a move to a new city where I knew few people, the dental problems came again even though I brush/floss/gargle without fail. Hoping the next year is less stressful for you and your family!


So next year will be your 25th wedding anniversary? Félicitations et Bon anniversaire! 25 years is quite a feat.


Oh my goodness. So many opinions. I have suffered from periodontal disease for many years. We have moved a lot. From Wis. to NYC, to VA, to San Juan, to Va, to Mexico City, to LA and now finally to Scottsdale. Every dentist has a different opinion. I do use the electric toothbrush and a Waterpik irrigator here in Scottsdale. However, the periodontist I had in LA did not want me to use the irrigator ever! Whoa is me! Who do you trust? I have changed periodontists 4 times in 14 years here in Scottsdale. Changed general dentists 3 times. OMG! Have tons of crowns. Periodontal surgery.
Think you just have to trust the dentist/periodontist you go to. If you don't trust her (or him) try a new one. Buen Suerte!

Linda Wanless

Electric toothbrushes (used twice daily) help keep tartar from building up - it's the ultrasonic action. My dentist has a sign in his office that says: "You don't have to floss your teeth everyday, just the ones you want to keep." Rinsing probably doesn't hurt anything and keeps your mouth fresh. A second opinion for very expensive treatment is a good idea.


My dentist "des stars" is not far from yours on blvd Prado where i did the procedure you are to do. I hope i saved my teeth!


Having been through the issue of periodontal disorders I can highly recommend the water-pik oral irrigator. Current studies show that it is successful as has the result with my husband. In my husband's case, he went from having many large, deep pockets and the associated issues to no pockets and oral health. In my case, my bone loss to my front teeth resulted in 2 years of braces to apply pressure to increase bone which worked and I still have my teeth. (We both had planing). All of the above could have been avoided, and can be greatly helped if not completely addressed by a few things... brushing after meals and mouth rinse, flossing and water pick daily and using an electric toothbrush, focusing on gum edges where they join the teeth, not the teeth. Sounds like a bit but its not hard work and a lot better than looking your teeth and having dentures or implants. Good luck, it will work!


For trying to undo or stop gum disease, my US dentist recommended the oral irrigator along with the use of Crest Pro (which has stannous fluoride as opposed to the other kind. At first I didn't like the Crest Pro. (It's kind of grainy, and I was used to using Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste) But having gotten used to it, now I love it.

Another thing... It used to be that they recommended a lower speed/strength on the water pik. But now they are saying use the highest strength you can stand, because it really toughens up your gums. I've actually stopped progression of my gum deterioration and haven't had to have the planning or other periodontist work.

They told me to gradually up the strength of the water pik to build up my gums. Good luck! I hate going to the dentist but it's so necessary. And I finally fund a wonderful guy who is very caring.


Be careful, Kristi. Some dentists charge a lot of money for work that may not be necessary, and the area where they do that is gum work. Your dentist has a swanky office and wardrobe funded by patients. I would get a second opinion. I know you may feel awkward, since she's an acquaintance or maybe even a friend. But if she finds out about it, just tell her that in America, one ALWAYS gets a second opinion for any kind of extensive (ahem, expensive) treatment; you mean they don't do that in France? How strange.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

I think each of us has a story to tell about our teeth and the older I get the longer my story gets!

Best of luck to Jackie. I hope she finds her passion in life. All too often many of us find it too late!

Who is the lovely lady standing behind you and Suzanne in the group photo? I have a guess...


Waterski makes a children’s pick that can be used in Europe. We have one at our home I italy. It’s great for leaning teeth and gum stimulation. We like it so much, we tossed our older “adult” version in Seattle and replaced it with a child’s version, as well. Good luck. Getting older ain’t easy darlin’. Just relax and enjoy every moment you have.


Oops...Waterpik. Don’t like autocorrect!

Kristin Espinasse

Chris, That is actually Suzanne behind me, and my friend Pascale to the right, in the front. :-)

John Ross

I am 71 and have all my teeth and only a few small cavities, but 10 or 15 years ago I developed gum disease and had to have surgery to remove the infection, about $4,000 then. The dentist used a laser which cost more but allowed it to heal a lot quicker. I have had no more problem since then. My front teeth started splitting due to grinding at night and I started wearing a mouth guard. Unfortunately it was in my backpack that was stolen in the Madrid airport last year and the replacement does not fit correctly. To prevent further gum disease I use a Sonnicare, floss (rub it back and forth on each side of each tooth to get them clean) and a Waterpic with Listerine and water. I can't seem to find a Waterpic to use when I am in Spain and the portable one I had burned out because I think it did not work on 220 volt current. If you end up having teeth pulled and implants put in it will cost a lot more than the gum surgery does.


Our dear Kristi,
What a shame that in our youth so many of us (putting myself at the top of the list here) take our teeth for granted,assuming(like other health issues) that our bodies will always be strong and can get by with minimal effort.
My hygienist told me that,whatever you do,keep on fighting the good fight--and it sounds like you are doing exactly that!
Please give Jackie a big hug for us and even bigger congratulations!
We share your pride--and also wishes for your continued happiness(always!) as 25 rapidly draws closer!
Natalia XO


Coconut oil for the nighttime brush. Natural anti bac. Heals gums and deals with stains

Chris Allin

She has a beautiful smile!

Gordon Lyman

My dentist is my son. His advice and care to me are free and work for me.
Brushing twice daily.
String flossing every day and oftener.
Scheduled in-office cleanings by him or his hygienist.
Water-Pik irrigation twice a day, I use the highest pressure. I had to work up to that.
I keep two Water-piks. One is for use in Europe and uses the electricity there.
I also use as needed an anti inflammation Oral Rinse Chlorhexidine 0.12%.
This probably sounds like a lot but I need all this and it is worth it for me. I have done these things for many years and am doing well dental wise. I am 81.
If they ever send a colonizing expedition to Mars or anywhere else I hope it will take along good dentists and hygeniests.
I have lived in countries with poor dental care and I was sad for the suffering people.

Jill Switzenberg

Electric toothbrushes are a godsend! My parents swore by their "waterpik". Flossing is a must. Yes, it's all a pain in the arse but as someone else said, cheaper than eventual implants! Good luck!


Dear Kristi - Always love your stories and appreciate your honesty!! When my daughter was starting college - more than 6 years ago, my dentist and a periodontist were recommending surgery and then told me to start using an electric toothbrush "just to see" if I could avoid the expensive surgery...after 6 weeks using the electric toothbrush, twice a day, I was able to skip the surgery!! Understand completely how life catches up with us in one way or another - xxxxx

Denise Spooner

I have had extensive dental work, Kristi, and encourage you to take seriously the warnings and advice of the dentists. Many people suffer from periodontal disease and lose their teeth as a consequence. Brushing, flossing, and using a product like Periodex or Perioguard, a Colgate product sold through the pharmacy here in the States, is a good start. I use a Sonicare toothbrush, which has a setting for "gum care". The toothbrush is made my Phillips, the German company. In addition to using it twice a day, I floss every night without missing a single night, unless I've had surgery or an accident. I've done this for probably fifteen years. I have horrible natural teeth and so have had whole mouth reconstruction. All of my teeth are implants, crowns, or bridges. You don't want to go down the path I have travelled. I have the equivalent of a Rolls-Royce in my mouth. Luckily for me, my brother-in-law is my dentist, so I've always received a nice discount. But, I've invested many $$ in dentistry and happily done so. Nothing human-made is as good as what God gave you. So do as they suggest, the root planing and everything, to restore what you have, to save what you have. Wishing you all the best!


Denise Spooner

Chlorhexadrine is the generic name for Perioguard or Periodex.

Denise Spooner

I also use a Waterpik every other day, but the Sonicare toothbrush twice a day. Even when I'm traveling.

Elaine Wilson

Well, I guess you have ALL of the recommendations that you need to restore your teeth and gums. YES to Sonicare Tooth Brush and Waterpik and Guard for your grinding impulse. I also go every 3 months for regular cleaning (I develop tartar at an alarming rate.) Even with ALL of this I needed to replace a tooth with an implant!!!

Lorna Peterson


Lorna Peterson

Hi Kristi
Have you heard of OIL PULLING?
Take about a teaspoon of organic coconut oil and swish around your mouth and
gums for about 20 minutes,

Very healing for the gum tissues.
Good luck

Leslie in Oregon

I remember my mother doing daily oral irrigation as part of her treatment for periodontal disease. Having what appeared to be beautiful teeth, my mother was shocked at age 45 by being referred to a periodontist by her dentist, and then by that periodontist's diagnosis of, and the ongoing treatment regime he recommended for her, gum disease. Nevertheless, she followed to the letter the advice of that periodontist, whom she saw every six months thereafter. When she died twenty years later, in 1985 (from a cause unrelated to gum disease), she had all of her teeth (and they were firmly in place). From her experience with gum disease and from my own dental history (which does not include gum disease), I'd strongly second your plan to follow faithfully the recommendations of Sylvie and/or whatever other dental professional you use to treat your gum disease. (You may find it helpful to first consult a periodontist to see if s/he agrees with, or has anything to add to, Sylvie's diagnosis and recommendations.)

P.S. regarding Caroline's mention of Listerine: I have had very good dental health that has defied the dire warnings of my dental professionals after I sustained in a 1972 auto accident, and underwent repairs of, extensive dental and other oral injuries. Based partly on the fact that those warnings predicted, among else, eventual bacterial infections in and around my gums, I have rinsed my mouth with Listerine every day since those repairs allowed. I'm not saying that that use of Listerine prevented such infections, but it may well have been part of what did.

Kathleen from Connecticut

I also grind my teeth and wear a mouth guard to bed. If I don’t have it in I know that something is missing. Have the dentist make one for you - they fit better than the over the counter ones. Also an electric tooth brush and change the heads every three months. If I use a regular tooth brush I don’t feel like my teeth get cleaned. And of course flossing is important. My mother had full dentures by age 75 or 80. You don’t want that.
Good luck, we want you to keep your wonderful smile,Kristi.

Mary Jan

Hi Kristi,
I agree 100% with Kathleen’s comments. I fractured two molars by grinding (not fun) before I began religiously wearing my mouth guard to sleep. Also I have had three dental professionals tell me to not use an oral irrigator. They apparently can cause more problems. If you do get an electric toothbrush, I like the Sonicare. I’ve had a few different ones, and it seems to clean better. Also don’t “scrub” your teeth when you brush with it - that can cause additional gum troubles. If you do have the dentist make a mouth guard, you can clean it by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide rather than the chemically tablets they give you. A shallow dish of hydrogen peroxide also works great to dip your floss into before flossing (I brush or rinse immediately after). Sending much love from Arizona and wishing you speedy gum healing!
💙 Mary Jan


Surprised you saw a hygienist in the practice, they are illegal in France.


A warm hug Kristi for having such a bad time, teeth are so fundamental and you are a brave and conscientious person about your health. I appreciate your honesty in sharing all this. It does make some of us think! and act. And I'll add yet another note of caution. My younger daughter went to Colombia South America for a year's teaching. She had perfect teeth. I can't remember why she went to the dentist there but she ended up with a mouthful of painful and expensive fillings only to be told on her return to the UK that not a single one was necessary. The UK dentist would have had a wait and see policy as times were changing in the dental world. So it wasn't exactly a scam but it was somewhat life changing as there was no going back. So yes to caution Kristi, maybe a second opinion, and pondering the lots of good advice here from those here who care about you. One thing that puzzles me - any ideas anyone? One gets the impression that many USA folk have super teeth, hence their lovely smiles. Here in the UK it's not like that. Even the royal family (apart from Kate and Megan) have wonky not very white teeth. So why is that the USA ones are so good - I know money is one factor but even so .....


Agree with the Sonicare ultrasonic teeth-brushing crowd. Ever since I started using one years ago, my teeth only need once-a-year cleaning. Also,no one mentioned this important tool- the metal probe with the pointed, rubber tip at the end. You probe under the gum at tooh's edge, especially the back chewing teeth (molars). It is amazing how much accumulates under the gums. My 67 yr old gums & teeth are in excellent shape since I use these items & floss, of course. My American DDSs, trained at Univ. of California SF, have been terrific over the years. Now that I am 2 states away, I must locate a dentist closer to my New Mexico home, which I fear! By the way, I had many years of grinding, mouth guards which I hated, but now that I snore , it has cured by grinding!! Good luck, and & I recommend a 2nd opinion too. Good luck!



Take it from a cavity prone lover of sugar, flossing is important. I do it daily now and last check up was great. I use a Waterpik when I think about it. I do have quite a few crowns. The dentist said just think, when you are older your face won’t cave in as much. Nice man, huh? Thanks for the idea of one of the articles to post for the guys on health here at work. Your teeth can wreck havoc on health.

Take care

Mary luz

Yes get a Water Pik for sure ... and also buy an electric toothbrush. It's pretty well documented that electric toothbrushes are far more effective at removing plaque than your regular old brush. You can read the research .

I'm speaking as one who could have purchased a small Mercedes Benz if I only had the money back that I had to sink into my teeth. My husband likes to call it "the million dollar mouth".
Get a nightguard. I destroyed my teeth with clenching and grinding.
Nevertheless how fortunate you are that your teeth look so beautiful!
Mary Liz

Rob T.

I use a waterpik, and I like the feel on my teeth. The biggest problem to using it regularly is having a good place to keep it where it is convenient to use and not an eyesore. As a side note, the waterpik also makes a great cleanning device. You can use the pulsating water to clean combs or small crevices in other things. It works great.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,
I have been very happy with my electric toothbrush. It has improved my gums and of course flossing once or twice a day. I was told by my dentist that I was brushing too hard with a regular toothbrush and that can also cause receding gums.
Have a great week!

Jeanne Shannon

Hi Kristi,

And don't overlook the Ayurvedic dental treatment called "Daily Swish." Available on amazon and made locally (here in New Mexico) by Banyan Botanicals.


Sue Kissel

I am sure you have posted the picture of your civil ceremony before but this was the first time I noticed your dress. So chic, simple and perfect for the occasion! Did you ever write about it? Where you bought it or who made it?

Barbara L

I had the dental planing done. It wasn't fun. But since then I have brushed carefully, with a manual soft brush and flossed. No problems any more. good luck.

Anne Umphrey

Careful flossing first, water-pik on gentle to flush out bits between the teeth and around the gums. then brush with an electric toothbrush. Brush each tooth separately. No gum disease. I use something called Periodont, prescription item with fluoride. I have very dry mouth from taking a medicine, and using a Cpap. My teeth are cleaned every six months. At 77 I am pleased to have all my teeth and in fairly good condition. I love the water-pik because my teeth feel so clean. good luck and best wishes.

Robbie Lane Jackson

You simply MUST get a good quality, electric toothbrush. After going thru several, (many), horrible yrs of scraping and planing and abject terror and pain, I started using Gly-0xide the mon I saw any redness or inflammation or even a wisp of pink water, i.e. Blood. A periodontist taught me that. Then I began in earnest using a gum brush, specifically to attack and stop he "disease" your dantal asst/dentist referred to. I started using baking soda until the new Crest toothpaste came out, doing cleanins occas, and ate far less sugar. After four yrs, I had no cavities, and I went to a local dental school, "torture!!," to get each "pocket" for each tooth's portion of gum, checked. I didn't qualify for thr gum periodontal disease project because my ums had improved so much. I agree with the latest studies: a found brush, that's a small, elec toothbrush, is much better at getting plaque and food stuck in your teeth. So, you CAN do it w/out planing and scraping. I will never do that again!! I also believe drinking copious amou ts of iced and hot tra, hS teally contributed to my gum/teeth health, due to the tannic acid. That's just about all I drink and the iced tea does, of course, have some real suger. I will be most happy if ypu'd let me send you some of these products. Might save you money & pain. And brush three times/day, and do gargle salt water when you can or use salt water in a water pik. Water piks get stuff nothing else but a dr's pik can. Good luck, and never stop the ritual!!!

Robbie Lane Jackson

Please forgive the typos. Site wouldn't let me edit.


...Carry on this street 300 metters and a bit on the right
and going down few stairs you arrive to my house !

Denise L

I was so glad to hear that you are getting a SoniCare toothbrush. It truly did wonders for my and my husband's dental health. And like the story you told about teaching your son, Max, about how to handle the broom lightly to do the work of sweeping, the SoniCare works best with a light and slow touch to let the sonic bubbling do its magic. Take care!

John Baumeister

20 years ago, at 56, I was told by my dentist that my teeth would be gone in 10 years. Since then I have used a WATERPIK faithfully every night followed by 3oz of THERASOL concentrate diluted 8 to 1 with distilled water, eau demineralise in france. I still have all my teeth. 64oz of concentrate is not cheap but lasts a long time when mixed 8 to 1 with water.

John Baumeister

P.S. the 3oz of Therasol mix is used thru the WATERPIK also. The eau demineralise can be found in the camping section of E Leclerc and other Walmart type stores.


Dear Kristi..glad you caught this on time but it can be monitored. The toothbrush that I recommend (very highly) was designed by a gum surgeon and it really is a nimbus brush (very soft bristles to stimulate the gum). You should also get a mouth guard to prevent bruxism...and just about any toothpaste with fluoride should work...just not baking soda because it scratches the enamel...can you tell I have a lot of experience? xx

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Mary, I forgot to say, she did ask me about my mouth guard, which I wear faithfully these days.

Janet Neckyfarow

At age 68, I have used a Waterpik for over 50 years, when I had braces. Even had one of my bridesmaids hold my veil as I used it on my wedding day, 47 years ago. I NEVER go to bed without using it. After flossing, brushing twice with a timed toothbrush, I still get chunks of food out from between my teeth. Shocking!

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