A Guide to Oral Health And Hygiene
Oral health has an impact on the health of the entire body and good oral hygiene practices can significantly improve overall health and well-being. Not only can poor oral health be an indication of other health problems, but oral infections and diseases can lead to problems in other parts of the body, heart problems as well as premature births.
Just like the gut, our mouth is full of good and bad bacteria. Poor oral hygiene practices can cause the balance of good and bad bacteria in our mouths to shift and we may begin to develop health problems along with bad breath, cavities, or gingivitis. Our saliva works to remove bacteria, neutralize acids, and begins to break down carbohydrates in the mouth, all of which help to maintain healthy and strong bone, gums and teeth. Habits started at a young age tend to stick with us; good oral hygiene practices, introduced now, will support lifelong oral health and will prevent potential health complications that could arise in adulthood.
Conventional toothpastes and mouthwashes are full of toxic chemicals, which are inadvertently absorbed into the body through the mouth and into the bloodstream. These include fluoride, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol and many more.
There are many natural and fluoride free toothpastes to be found at your local health food store.
However, it can be quite simple and cost effective to make your own toothpaste at home.
· Coconut oil
· Baking soda
· Essential oils of choice – peppermint, clove, and cinnamon work nicely
· Stevia (optional for sweetness)
Proportions of coconut oil to baking soda can vary depending on the texture of toothpaste that you desire as well as the climate you are in. For a thicker toothpaste, use less coconut oil. Store your toothpaste in a small glass container, out of heat.
Again, you can find some excellent products at your local health food store or try your hand at making your own.
· Water (1-2 cups)
· Peppermint oil (3-5 drops)
· Tea tree oil (3-5 drops)
· Baking soda (1-2 tsp)
Natural Teeth Whiteners
· Baking soda
· Coconut oil
· Activated charcoal
Strategies for a Healthy Mouth
Salt water rinse – great for inflammation, soothing gums, and alkalizing to the mouth.
Try mixing a tsp of sea salt into warm water, swish and spit.
Tongue scraping – helps to remove bacteria from the tongue which can lead to bad breath and tooth decay. It also stimulates blood flow in the tongue and taste buds.
Oil Pulling – oil pulling helps to remove plaque and kill bacteria.
Try swishing 1 tbsp. of coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes daily. Make sure you spit out the oil afterwards and do not swallow.
Lifestyle Tips and Suggestions
· Brush and floss your teeth daily
· Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fibrous vegetables such as kale, swiss chard, and broccoli which help to scrub the teeth as you chew
· Reduce or eliminate intake of refined sugars (soda!)
· Visit a holistic dentist for regular checkups & cleanings
High fiber fruits and vegetables - act as natural scrubbing agents as we chew
Try apples, celery, carrots, kale
Cashews – a great source of vitamins and minerals that assist in the development of bones, teeth, nails, and gums.
Try eating a handful as a healthy snack
Chia seeds - help to scrub the teeth and are a good source of minerals
Try adding them to your smoothies
Organic Dairy – good source of calcium and supports and strengthens tooth enamel
Try an organic Kefir – a fermented dairy product
Wild Caught Salmon – great source of anti-inflammatory Omega 3 and vitamin D
Try adding salmon to your weekly menu plan
Vitamin C – important antioxidant, great for oral health, particularly the gums (if you suffer from bleeding gums)
Try supplementing 1000-2000mg daily
Mineral supplement – a broad spectrum mineral supplement containing calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc may be beneficial in supporting oral health and strengthening of the teeth
Try supplementing as per recommended dosage on product
Oral probiotics – support good bacteria of the mouth, promote good oral health and reduce bad breath
Try chewing an oral probiotic once daily.
Omega 3 – lowers inflammation and can help reduce gum disease
Try supplementing 1-2 tsp of liquid omega-3 oils from either sustainable marine sources or vegetarian sources.
CoQ10 – important in the body’s energy processes, also shown to aid in the prevention of gum disease
Try supplementing 200-400mg daily.
Tea Tree Oil – can help reduce and prevent gingivitis and gum disease due to its antibacterial properties
Try: rubbing a small drop directly into gums at night.
Cloves – cloves and clove oil have natural analgesic properties. Cloves have long been used as a cure for toothaches and gum problems.
Try using clove oil directly on the site of pain or gently chewing on a whole clove for pain relief.
Green Tea – can help to reduce plaque, prevent cavities, and reduce bad breath.
Try adding a warming cup of green tea to your daily routine (morning is best).
Turmeric – is a potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial root that may also help to prevent cavities.
Try adding fresh turmeric to your favorite dishes or enjoy a warm cup of golden milk.
Rosemary Oil – known for its antiseptic properties.
Try adding rosemary to your dishes for an extra boost to your oral health.