Billie Burke: Don’t neglect your teeth (1912)

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Actress Billie Burke says do not neglect your teeth

by Billie Burke

The first word

Good health and good looks are dependent upon good teeth.

I hope no girl is neglecting her teeth these days of splendid dentistry, as they are not only a very necessary requisite to beauty, but I have never known anyone with poor teeth who had good health.

People who have kept their teeth clean from childhood have little use for a dentist. It is perfectly astonishing to me that mothers will neglect their children’s teeth and, expect them to show a mouthful of pearls when they grow older.

My dentist tells me that mothers should carefully wash their children’s teeth at least once a day with a saturate solution of boracic acid, and at night wash out their mouths with a little milk of magnesia and water.

Early, form the habit of brushing your teeth the last thin before slipping into bed at night, and if your stomach is the least inclined to be acid chew a small piece of magnesia, allowing the saliva to go into every part of the mouth.

The boracic acid wash is also good, for you to use, and occasion ally use half peroxide of hydrogen and half water in equal parts as a cleanser. This is good if for any reason your gums have become inflamed.

There are a number of fine lotions and tooth powder on the market, but if you wish to make your own, use 20 parts of French chalk to one of castile soap and a pinch of bicarbonate of soda.

Be careful how you brush your teeth. Use the brush up and down as well as across, and see that your toothbrush is kept in a closed case when not in use. It is a toothbrush, you know, not a germ collector. Do not use a brush that is too stiff and buy one at least every four weeks.

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Of greater use and necessity than even a good, clean toothbrush is a spool of dental silk, which should be used every night when you give your teeth their final brushing. Use the silk between all your teeth, rinse them with either bicarbonate of soda, peroxide of hydrogen or boracic acid solution as you think you need, chew your magnesia and go to bed to sleep, the sleep of the just, for your teeth will not need brushing again until after you have breakfasted the next morning, and this brushing should be given with tepid water only.

There is a dentist in Philadelphia who contracts to keep his patients’ teeth free from decay if they wilfcome to him every six weeks so that he can keep them perfectly clean.

If you find you must have some teeth filled, be sure and have it done with the kind of filling that is just like the enamel of your teeth. There is nothing uglier than a mouth full of gold, unless it be decayed teeth.

Very white teeth are usually rather soft and need more care than those of yellowish cast. A girl with teeth of this kind should use at least once a week a wash of lime water.

Remember, I can give only general rules of good grooming. You must decide which will suit your case.

Just one last word

Only one rule can apply to all — and that is the rule of perfect cleanliness.

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