I just finished getting my teeth cleaned by my father’s superb dental staff and it got me thinking about how important yet overlooked dental health is. Yes we all think about brushing our teeth twice a day and flossing occasionally, but have you ever really thought about the health of your gums or what makes your teeth strong, white and plaque-free? Let’s delve into the world of natural dental health, and how it could be the one thing you are missing from your dental routine.
The truth is your health is as only as good as the health of your teeth, mouth and gums because an infection in the mouth is the one infection your body cannot overcome on its own. And unfortunately for us, we have come a long way from maintaining a diet that keeps our mouth healthy. Every tooth lies on a organ/gland meridian and therefore directly effects every aspect of the body and vice versa. Therefore, we must not only consider dental health for the teeth and gums sake, but also for the health of our organ/glands, blood and lymph.
So how did we go wrong?
The intricate structure of our mouth, teeth and gums was originally designed for a species that ate solely raw, uncooked, fibrous foods. This is important because it was these very types of foods that kept our mouth healthy. Fibrous foods are not only enzyme-rich, helping to stimulate digestion, but they also act as a mechanical brush on our teeth and gums. How brilliant is that? And here we thought we were so genius coming up with the tooth brush and we were just really mimicking the natural process of eating raw foods. Therefore, the trouble comes with the fact that the majority of us tend to eat small amounts, if any, of raw foods (vegetables and fruits) and have replaced those items with soft, processed foods.
Soft, processed foods actually cause great harm to our dental health, and can even cause periodontal disease and other gum related problems. This is because when you eat these foods, they get lodged up into our gums, become sticky and then calcified. These calcifications begin to act as splinters in our gums leading to damage overtime and predisposing us to infection. While brushing can help, most people do not brush in the right way to dislodge the food and most of the calcifications need to be treated with deeper cleaning like that done at a dental office.
So what are we to do?
By implementing a natural dental health routine, we can help restore the strength natural to our teeth and gums. It is very similar to what you are already doing, but is free of harmful chemicals and additives, and implements ancient and effective tools for keeping your mouth healthy and happy. So let’s see what it involves!
1. Brushing & Flossing
It is important to brush with a soft toothbrush after every meal. The idea is to get any residual food particles out of the gum as soon as possible so that they do not begin to calcify. The second thing is that we must brush correctly. This means SWEEPING the teeth along the natural direction of the gums. Simply place the toothbrush to the top of the gums with the bristles facing up. Then rotate and sweep the bristles down the gum, toward the bottom of the tooth’s edge. This way your are gently pushing any junk out of the gum and into the mouth to be eliminated.
Flossing- you must floss every day, but be gentle. Do not stick or rub the floss too harshly against the gums because this can actually be damaging. Treat them with care if you want them to stick around 🙂 I like to use floss that is made with the natural anti-infective tea tree oil, like Dessert Essence.
Plaque is a biofilm that is formed by colonizing bacteria trying to attach themselves to the smooth surface of a tooth. It has been also speculated that plaque forms as part of the defense systems of the body by helping to prevent colonization by microorganisms which may be pathogenic i.e bacteria, virus, fungus. And why might you ask that your body has pathogens in the mouth? Well, other than the fact that the very food we eat can carry pathogenic material in it, there is also the factor of digestion, or lack there of.
When you are not properly digesting your food, the food beings to rot and becomes a feeding pool for pathogenic organisms. And yes, they can travel right back into your mouth leading to an overgrowth of plaque. Typically the body has a defense mechanism against this, hydrochloric acid (HCL), but unfortunately due to our chosen Standard American Diet (SAD) and the natural process of aging, our body does not supply adequate HCL to do the job right.
So how can we increase HCL to reduce plaque?
Hydrochloric acid is a digestive acid formed in the stomach to digest food (especially proteins) and eliminate pathogens. In order to be made by the body we need adequate REAL unheated sea salt, to supply the chloride fraction in hydrochloric acid, and we need to change our diet to reduce the burden on HCL production. What this means is that we need to use about 1 tsp of unheated sea salt daily (contains all of the needed minerals by the body) and we need to switch to a plant-based diet, free of unprocessed foods. In addition, it is very important to significantly reduce, if not eliminate animal proteins because those are the most taxing on the body’s HCL production.
Finally, there is the fact of age. Once your past your mid-twenties, natural HCL production begins to decline. Therefore, by the time you reach your later years you have half if not a fourth of the HCL production you had in your teens. In these cases, it is best to look to supplementation with a natural beet-derived HCL. HCL supplementation is almost always advised in the elderly.
*Note: If you suffer from ulcers or acid reflux, it is best to begin with a supplement to improve stomach integrity. I recommend a product such as gastroven. This will strengthen the stomach and prepare for HCL supplementation.
3. Tongue Scraping and Oil Pulling
Did you know that the color of your tongue can tell a lot about your health? The coating of the tongue is actually also the buildup of toxic material similar to plaque. Therefore we will want to follow the steps for reducing plaque in the mouth but we also will want to implement tongue scraping and oil pulling. These two methods are based in ancient Ayurvedic healing philosophy of India and are used to reduce bacteria and toxins in the mouth while preventing their reabsorption into the body. These two techniques are very easy to introduce into your daily routine and have shown to have benefits ranging from improvement in the sinuses, throat infection, chronic bad breath, and digestion. Adding tongue scraping and oil pulling into the routine are two of the best natural dental health techniques.
How to use a tongue scraper
Purchase a metal U Shape scraper and follow the directions:
- Hold each end with your hands and reach the arch to the back of your tongue as far as possible.
- Scrape forward several times, rinsing the white film off of the scraper between each scraping. It’s important to get the back of the tongue which may create a gag reflex, but this will lessen with practice. Be gentle but firm as you scrape.
- Rinse your mouth with water.
- Clean and dry your scraper with water – you may want to occasionally use toothpaste or baking soda to disinfect.
To learn how to do Oil Pulling go here.
4. Non-Toxic Toothpaste
I support using non-toxic toothpaste that are free of chemicals, colors or fluoride. Surprisingly, most toothpaste companies are still putting in harmful colors, dyes and chemicals. These additives are harmful to the body and have shown to contribute to ADD, ADHD and other complications related to toxicity. As for fluoride, while the Dental Association still supports its use, there are many studies out there that indicate that it may cause thyroid suppression. For those reasons, I choose not to use toothpaste with fluoride.
So what do I use? I use natural toothpaste. There are many brands out there, but I personally love Auromere. It is a blend of powerful herbs that have natural anti-infective, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It also still contains the ingredients needed to reduce plaque, prevent dental diseases and it keeps your teeth white and breath fresh. It is always best to go back to nature since it provides us with everything we need to maintain outrageous health. Besides, who said Barbie was the expert on toothpaste? I think our kids could live without the bubblegum artificial flavoring.