Let's Talk Dirty

the steripod blog with Miss Vicki

Yule Drool

When it comes to our precious bodily fluids, as the 12-year old daughter of a friend of mine says, “Gross me out the side door.”

But the truth is that at least one of these fluids—saliva—is in fact essential for our health. Call it spit, slobber or drool-- a normal human mouth produces about 100 teaspoons (500 ml) of it every day. And without this natural flushing action, our mouths and teeth would be in big trouble.

Why? Bacteria. If anyone’s ever accused you of having a “dirty mouth”, they weren’t kidding. Even if you’d never dream of dropping an F-bomb in polite company, the human mouth is filled with bacteria (up to 600 varieties).

Saliva contains proteins which combat microbes, but ultimately the bacteria and fungi will win. This is why literally “licking your wounds” is never a good idea.

The best intervention: clipping a STERIPOD on every toothbrush you and your family use. The antibacterial tablet inside that cute, brightly colored “helmet” neutralizes bacteria which your brush picks up from your mouth. Not to mention E-coli which swirl up out of the bathroom bowl each time you flush, and other unappetizing proliferations.

When your mouth and all other associated giblets (sorry, Miss Vicki’s in the mood to baste a bird) are operating perfectly, the bacteria in your mouth stay under control. But all of this changes when you’re dehydrated, the worst-case scenario being a condition called “xerostomia”. A dry mouth reduces your defense against oral bugs, which can lead to:
• Bad breath
• Tooth decay
• Gum irritation

Dehydration happens on a minor level when we sleep. This is why you may wake up with doggie-breath in the morning. Without abundant saliva production, those bacteria are basically partying all over your gums and teeth for several hours every night.

And gee, here’s a big surprise: with age, our saliva-production declines. Past generations took massive tooth-loss for granted, because this decline contributes significantly to enamel decay and gum disease. But unlike many other aspects of aging, losing your smile to dentures is not inevitable.

During the holiday season, other factors may also contribute. Air-travel is dehydrating, especially if you drink alcohol and coffee on-board. Forced-air heat may leave you feeling parched. Antihistamines that you take for a cold or flu may dry out your mouth as well as your sniffles. And, of course, stress often leads to cottonmouth, year-round.

So, celebrate your saliva. Pour yourself a nice big glass of water, drink up, and treat your toothbrush to a bit of holiday cheer: STERIPOD. A STERIPOD clipped on your toothbrush now will neutralize bacteria until March, 2012!

-Victoria Thomas

Victoria Thomas is a health, beauty and fashion writer who lives and works in Los Angeles.