Frugal Find Friday: Brush Your Teeth


Third tooth-brushing session of the day at 1:15

When I started my current job I had a major struggle the first week. I wanted desperately to brush my teeth during the day, but felt worried I would weird people out in the bathroom. It isn’t too common to see a co-worker scrubbing her pearly whites midway through the day (or at the end of the day or after a random cup of coffee). Eventually, I couldn’t stand the feeling of gritty teeth anymore and grabbed my travel toothbrush and paste and bolted to the bathroom.

Over a year later, and my oral hygiene has become a bit of an office joke. People poke fun at me for being “OCD” while also saying, “I should brush my teeth more often.”

Should everyone brush their teeth four or five times a day like I do? No, it’s excessive and I know that.* But you should at least be brushing (and using non-alcoholic mouthwash) morning and night. Oh, and throw in flossing.

Not only does having good oral hygiene make you more enjoyable to speak to face-to-face (and to kiss), but it can keep hard-earned dollars in your pocket. Particularly because dental insurance seems to be one of the first options removed from plans and the dentist’s office appears an often skipped visit. If you’re proactive about keeping your teeth in shape — just like keeping your body health — it will save you from costly dental procedures and plenty of pain. Except for wisdom teeth. No amount of brushing and flossing can save you from that torture.

I’m fortunate to have dental included in my insurance plan and love going to the dentist and get that A+ for my brushing tactics. I also like to still get gold stars and to pick a toy out of the “no cavity” treasure chest.

Fun Fact: I still have two baby teeth (molars) which is why I’m so careful about taking care of my teeth. When those teeth decide to give out it’s going to cost me more than the tooth fairy would be willing to pay for my 24-year-old baby chompers.

 Do you see taking care of yourself as a way to save money? 

*I’ve spoken with my dentist about “over-brushing” and he says my teeth are great, my enamel is fine and I should keep doing what I’m doing so calm yourself.

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37 comments on “Frugal Find Friday: Brush Your Teeth
  1. I used to brush my teeth all the time at one of my internships because a lot of other people did it as well. I have not done the same for my full-time job. Starting in January though, I am getting braces so I will probably need to brush my teeth at work and ignore all the weird stares.
    Bobby @ Making Money Fast and Slow recently posted…Why Is The Stock Market Up Today?My Profile

  2. This reminds me – I need to go to the dentist before the end of the year! Thanks for the reminder!
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…The Weekly Quick Hits RoundupMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I’ve already got my end of the year visit scheduled! I like my dentist in NC so I try to squeeze the visit in when I’m home to see my family.

  3. I used to always brush my teeth in the bathroom at work. Who cares what people think? We don’t have dental insurance so I make sure that everyone takes very good care of their mouth =)
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Are You Spending More Just to Get a Discount?My Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I do have dental insurance, but if I didn’t I’d probably be even crazier about protecting my teeth. Such a simple way to save money!

  4. Yes, I firmly believe that personal care (i.e. health, dental care etc.) is a way to save money and even an investment. Repercussions of not properly taking care your body can be huge in the long run, costing more than regular upkeep and maintenance. I too am lucky in that my work benefits cover my dental care; I have a regular biannual cleaning coming up in a couple of weeks!
    Emily @ Urban Departures recently posted…The Beginner’s Guide to the RRSPMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      It’s especially important to take care of the rest of your body with proper nutrition and exercise. It’s unbelievable how much it can cost if you don’t.

  5. Amanda says:

    I have a toothbrush in my desk, but I’ve been too scared to brush my teeth in the public washrooms. I work at a college, so it’s not just my coworkers that might “catch me”. Although, I just realized that I’ve been “caught” putting my makeup on in the morning in the bathroom – that’s not really much different!
    Amanda recently posted…Goal 83. Buy 5 things off EtsyMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Absolutely no different! I’ve also learned that because I brush my teeth so casually, people may tease a bit but it doesn’t embarrass me and they just find it normal now.

  6. Several co-workers do this and I’ve never really thought anything about it. If anything, sometimes it makes me self-conscious that I should be brushing my teeth more. But I’m happy with my two-a-day habit. I’ve never heard anyone get teased for it.
    Leslie Beslie recently posted…Netflix Instant Comedy: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Clue, Trading PlacesMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Two-day is perfectly fine. It’s the once a day (or skipping a day) that’s not good. I just have an issue with the actual feeling of gritty teeth which is why I brush so frequently. It’s particularly bad to me if I’ve had coffee or tea, both of which I drink at work pretty regularly. I think people tease me too because they know I won’t take it the wrong way.

  7. I do see taking care of yourself now as a way to save money. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking care of your teeth is a huge part of the equation.
    Budget & the Beach recently posted…Re-Commit to Your Financial GoalsMy Profile

  8. I’ve gotten into the habit of chewing sugar free gum almost constantly.

    I don’t know if it’s good for my teeth, or not, but it def. makes my teeth feel clean and it gives me good breath.

    Though I have noticed that if I’m stressed I chew so vigorously that my jaw hurts at the end of the day.

    We all have our vices…

    • Broke Millennial says:

      It’s probably just not good for your jaw. I have TMJ, so chewing gum too much really hurts me. But I didn’t used to chew it a lot before, especially in school when I felt I couldn’t brush my teeth all the time!

  9. I was terrible about taking care of my teeth growing up and I have paid for it big time. Recently in the form of a $1200 dental implant. I’ve been great about taking care of the rest of my body though- proper nutrition and exercise, so hope that will save me quite a bit in the long term.
    thebrokeandbeautifullife recently posted…Finance Confessions: My Money MistakesMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I’m sure it will save you a lot in the long run. I need to be as diligent about the exercise as I am with my teeth.

  10. Lillian says:

    YES! I also brush my teeth in the office! Always the only person… BUT I work in public health so it’s cool. ALSO talked to my dentist about this and he said if you have good brushing and flossing habits you really don’t have to spend the extra $$ for a fancy electronic tooth brush!

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I kind of want an electric toothbrush just because I’m sure it feels amazing! Perhaps a Christmas present…

  11. Bridget says:

    “*I’ve spoken with my dentist about “over-brushing” and he says my teeth are great, my enamel is fine and I should keep doing what I’m doing so calm yourself.”

    haha I’m glad you added this because I was like, uh…

    Thought it would be hard on your gums, but if it works, it works!
    Bridget recently posted…Get GreedyMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I do use soft-bristled toothbrushes at work, so that probably is what helps keep them from being over-brushed.

  12. Thanks for mentioning my guest post at FrugalRules. I haven’t been to the dentist in some time. Right now I’m electing to pour money into dental bills for my four kids. Braces soon to come I’m afraid. 🙁
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted…There’s a Robber Stripping You of WealthMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      No problem, it was a great post!

      I was one of the lucky few who got away without having braces. I’m sure the cost of having to get fake teeth with my two baby molars give in will be the same cost as what having braces would’ve been.

  13. Syed says:

    Great reminder. My dentist is really adamant about me flossing regularly so I’m trying to incorporate that into my routine. I once read that our health should be thought of as any other account we have. Going to the doc, brushing and flossing and taking care of ourselves in general can be seen as deposits and eating horribly and being sloth-like can be like withdrawals.
    Syed recently posted…Diamonds in the rough roundup 11/22/13My Profile

  14. I’m totally addicted to FLOSSING! I do so around 3x a day and can’t go for one day without flossing. Brushing is 2x a day on average.

    I can’t stand bad oral hygiene. Bleh!
    Financial Samurai recently posted…Confession: Active Income Is Much More Enjoyable Than Passive IncomeMy Profile

  15. Micro says:

    I don’t brush my teeth at work but I am a fan of the flexible dental picks instead of flossing after lunch. They are heavenly because flossing around crowns is a gigantic pain in the rear.

    Also have some baby teeth still hanging around as well. Although one of mine is an incisor so I have a tooth up front that’s visibly smaller than the others. A little embarassing but I’m not willing to pay money for them to unimpact the adult tooth from my upper jaw just for cosmetic reasons.
    Micro recently posted…Saving Money on Software Part 1: Open Source SoftwareMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Have you considered getting a cap put on the baby tooth? It’s much cheaper and less painful that getting it pulled and having an implant.

  16. Good for you! I TOTALLY agree that taking care of your teeth, body, mental health, etc will save you money and overall increase your quality of life in the long run!!
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted…7 ways to (happily!) contain your standard of livingMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Oh, mental health is a big – and often not spoken about – factor in staying healthy. But I guess some people do exercise to keep stress at bay. Bit of a win-win there.

  17. Brent says:

    My memory has now been jogged that I need to get to the dentist before the end of the year. Thanks for the reminder! Keep on brushing to your heart’s content 😀
    Brent recently posted…Are You Reading All The Wrong Books?My Profile

  18. it’s sad that dental insurance is considered “cosmetic” considering that heart disease has been linked to poor oral hygiene. glad you’re brushing away at work, it’s a life and money saver!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted…Some ways to make extra cash for the holiday shoppingMy Profile

  19. Gina says:

    I couldn’t agree with this more; I just spent $300 on a deep cleaning and two fillings, and that was WITH dental insurance! 😛
    Gina recently posted…Five on Friday v15My Profile

  20. These is a great refresher for people who have been ignoring oral health for quite sometime now. Problems in our mouth can affect our overall health in ways we may not have thought, and neglecting it could end up costing even more money later as well as painful.

  21. Brian says:

    Brushing your teeth during the day is definitely a good way to keep them white and your breath fresh! Who cares about the stigma, when you will have white teeth! Thanks for sharing!

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