DEODORANT (at the dentist part 2)

It’s easy to imagine a connection between deodorant and time in a dentist’s chair, but if you’re wondering whose deodorant failed, you’re on the wrong track.

The dental office I visit only has partial walls between chairs, resulting in easily overheard conversations.  In the summer of 2015, I was waiting for the dentist to take a look at my just polished teeth so I could go home.  He was talking with the gentleman in the next room about a needed filling.  The patient had some questions about what type of filling would be used and expressed concern about the mercury in “silver fillings”.  Our doctor’s adamant response was that the metallic mercury found in the dental amalgam that has been used for 200 years is safe.  He explained that studies do not show the blood of people with the fillings to contain more mercury that those without them.  He also pointed out the durability and lower cost of metal fillings when compared to tooth-colored composite fillings.  The conversation continued.  I wonder if the guy was genuinely concerned or was putting off getting his tooth filled.  My dentist was persistent and eventually convinced him to get the silver filling.

After doing the work, the dentist sent the man on his way, then came in to check on me.  He was still a bit worked up about the challenge to the safety of dental amalgam and asked if I had heard them talking.  I admitted that I had, which triggered an unexpected conversation about deodorant.  He expressed frustration that the practice of using metal fillings has been attacked while other proven health dangers are ignored, then proceeded to tell me that the aluminum in deodorant causes breast cancer.  I had no response, which is OK because he was checking my teeth, making it impossible for me to speak.

I left the office with a new toothbrush, a tiny box of dental floss, and a piece of information related to my breast health to chew on.  I had heard of both potential metal-related health risks, and now  a medical professional was implying that I should not use deodorant. Googling turned up some rather convincing articles, as well as alternatives for aluminum-laden deodorant. I started poofing baby powder in my armpits and decided to ask my breast specialist about the risk.  During my routine visit a few weeks later, she asked if I had any questions, opening the door for deodorant discussion.  She took the time to explain that if there was a correlation between deodorant and breast cancer, many more people would have it since we all apply deodorant.  She assured me that I could continue using it without fear.  However, she revealed that they are seeing women develop breast cancer from carrying their cell phones in their bras.

While at the North Dakota State Fair in 2016, I spotted this entry in the Bedazzle Your Bra contest that seemed to lend credence to her warning.

Here’s how I’ve handled each of these three potential risks:

  1. I’ll be happy if the few metal dental fillings that I have stay in my teeth for the rest of my life, and I’m doing my best to avoid needing more (see part 1 of this series: YELLED AT).
  2. Since I had already given up my old aluminum-laden deodorant, I decided to try to keep fresh in a more natural way. After trying a couple of natural stick deodorants that were not quite enough, I’ve begun using a product that I LOVE!  This is a pump (not aerosol) that has no odor and no residue to get on my clothes.  It works all day and all night!  I bought two so I could put one in my travel bag.

3.  A cell phone in MY bra?! Laughable. But breast cancer is no laughing matter, so if you’ve been tucking yours in, I hope that you’ll make your bra a NO PHONE ZONE.




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