Dr. Nammy Patel, the Toothhugger
Green dentistry pioneer, Dr. Nammy Patel is the first dentist to make a serious commitment to green sustainable business practices in San Francisco. She takes a unique approach to combine dentistry and conserve the environment, using non toxic products, reducing waste and being minimally invasive.
Dr. Nammy conducts research and development to set standards in Green Dentistry and serves as a Enviro-mentor for the San Francisco Environment Agency to help small business become green.
Here is a recent interview we had:
1) Why the name Tooth Hugger? You can't really hug a tooth unless you have really small arms!
It’s metaphoric, you see tree huggers save the trees, and toothhuggers save natural teeth! That’s why we use small tools rather than arms to "hug" the teeth.
2) I'll bet you get this question all the time. Do I really have to floss?
Absolutely yes! Flossing is more important than brushing because it gets the bacteria in the gums and in between the teeth, so it cleans areas a toothbrush cannot reach.
3) By being green, do I have to use hemp floss that tastes like patchouli?
NO! When it comes to flossing, you have the find the one that feels most comfortable for you. Some times people like thicker floss because they have larger spaces, some like it thin because their contacts are tight. My personal favorite is Glide.
4) Can I use regular toothpaste, or do I have to use Tom's of Maine?
You can use any toothpaste that is SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) free. SLS causes sores in the mouth.
5) What natural things are good for my teeth, is there a secret blend of 13 original herbs and spices?
It’s great to eat foods that wash away easily. For example a apple is great becusec it does not get stuck to your teeth and saliva washes it away quickly. Almonds are a great source calcium and protein, which helps maintain calcium in the teeth.
6) Can I still eat chocolate? Coffee? Marbles?
You can eat whatever food you like as long as you brush and floss! Avoid the marbles they will crack your teeth!
7) What about mouthwash? Most mouthwash that I've used in my life is already the color green...
You technically don't need mouthwash! The bacteria is removed by mechanical act of brushing and flossing. Mouthwash makes your breath fresh. It is best to avoid mouthwash that has alcohol because it dries the mouth out.
8) I started using a tongue scraper recently, I'm not scraping my taste buds off am I?
No, using a tongue scraper is like exfoliating your skin. Your body makes taste buds have a natural exfoliation process. Just don't scrape too hard. My rule of thumb is scrape ten times.
9) If only do one thing to help my teeth last longer, what would it be?
FLOSS, use an electric toothbrush, and see your dentist