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February marks National Dental Health month and the dental hygiene nerd in me gets so excited to give you tips to improve your oral health naturally. For those of you who don’t know, I am a registered dental hygienist who still practices when RNL gives me a bit of time.
Did you know that problems in your mouth can be linked with problems in other parts of your body?
The health of your mouth can be a sign of your body’s health. Mouth problems are not just cavities, toothaches, and crooked or stained teeth. Many diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, HIV, cancer, and some eating disorders are linked with oral health problems (source).
Chronic inflammation in your mouth can allow bacteria and plaque to enter the bloodstream, which can lead to more inflammation in other parts of your body, such as the heart.
Tips to Improve Oral Health Naturally
1. Get regular dental checkups (it may be more often than you think!)
Many people avoid the dentist unless they have tooth pain. You must go in for regular check ups if you want to maintain great overall health. I recommend twice per year for children and most adults. If you have poor hygiene, bleeding or receding gums, a high tendency for cavities or plaque buildup, poor immunity, smoke or are diabetic, you need to visit your holistic dentist 3-4 times yearly. Click here to find a holistic dentist.
Can I only go to the dentist once a year? Yes, if you brush with an electric brush three times per day, use real floss (not picks, etc.) twice per day, scrape your tongue three times a day, oil pull or use the gum protocol below at least 5 days per week and have none of the problems listed above.
2.Chew your food well
Poorly chewed food equals poorly absorbed nutrients, which affect your oral and overall health. Eating fast and swallowing air while not chewing food well can also cause acid reflux along with other digestive disorders. Acid reflux-induced erosion, a condition that occurs when stomach contents reflux into the mouth, causes permanent and severe loss of tooth structure, according to a study that appeared in the March/April 2009 issue of General Dentistry.
Note: If you have reflux, rinse with water and avoid brushing for 60 minutes.
3. Scrape, do not brush your tongue
Brushing your tongue just moves the bacteria and plaque around, while scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper effectively removes it. Tongue scraping is an effective detox mechanism as well. If the liver or the digestive system is congested (especially if you have Candida), you’ll have a white coating on your tongue that you’ll want to remove a few times each day.
The tongue is part of the first line of defense in your immune system. Scraping your tongue prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into your body and boosts overall immune function.
In Ayurveda, proper digestion is considered to be the foundation of health. Digestion begins in the mouth so it’s important to remove any bacteria that may obstruct optimal functioning. Scraping also activates saliva production and promotes agni (the body’s digestive fire) to help with digestion throughout the day.
4. Use this simple solution for healthy gums and bad breath
In the evening, brush your teeth normally. Next, apply a small amount of baking soda to your hand. Wet your toothbrush, pick up some powder and gently massage it into your teeth. You’re not brushing, but applying the powder to the gum line and gently massaging some underneath the gum line.
Next, floss, this will ensure the baking soda gets down into the gums.
Also, clean your tongue with the loaded brush. This will stop 99% of cases of bad breath and prevent many throat infections.
Now the hard part, wait about 5 minutes. I usually wash my face, etc. to kill the time. You can spit any excess powder out.
Finally, rinse well and scrape your tongue.
Ease into this routine slowly, taking special caution not to swallow any of the mixture, as it is likely loaded with bacteria and die off.
5. Ditch the toxic products
Floss may contain toxic chemicals so switch to a clean one, like this.
A colleague at Moms Clean Air Force, Molly Rauch, who called Oral B about Glide was told by a customer rep they use a “Teflon-like compound in some but not all of their flosses — but a lot of this is considered proprietary.” Yikes!
Alcohol and other additives in mouthwash are linked to throat cancer (1.) among other issues. If you have a sore in your mouth, are prone to periodontal disease or just need to freshen your breath, rinse with warm water and a tsp of high quality salt.
Fluoride in toothpaste is linked to kidney disease, cognitive damage, thyroid dysfunction, bone cancer and the list goes on. Switch to an all natural paste, like this or make your own with equal parts coconut oil, salt, bentonite clay (You can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil, xylitol and/or organic stevia for taste.)
Visit this post for more all-natural dental advice.
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1. Dental Journal of Australia (December 2008; 53(4): pages 302-305)
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust. MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, or as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your advising physician before starting any treatment for a medical condition. Real Nutritious Living, LLC shall not be held liable or responsible for any misunderstanding or misuse of the information contained on this site or for any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by any treatment, action, or application of any food or food source discussed on this site.