Something to Smile About !
Oral health is about so much more than appearance and kissable breath: it’s the gateway to our whole-body health. Yet, when it comes to oral healthcare, we’re taught to outsource. The truth is, unlike your car engine’s complicated machinery, oral health is simple. Just implement a few of these tips, and you’ll feel confident and empowered to care for your mouth!
First and foremost: understand that our teeth are alive. Like any of our organs, they respond to the body’s internal environment. In stress and disease, our teeth become vulnerable to decay. In vibrant health, they grow back.
To improve overall health, polish your grin, and save a few coins at your next dentist visit, it helps to get familiar with everything going on behind your lips. Here are some habits you can adopt right away to revitalize and better understand your mouth!
Your mouth’s fancy epithelial layers absorb and circulate anything that passes through to your entire body. Start strong with a toothpaste (or gel, or powder) made from food-grade ingredients like bentonite clay, calcium carbonate, xylitol, natural salts, and essential oils. Check out your local health food store for these, or play around with a great online recipe.
Pick up a dental mirror (available at most drugstores) to check out the back of your mouth. Be sure to take note of discolored or dark spots so you can keep track of any changes. Also, observe any sensitive spots, plaque build-up, and your breath quality. All these things are alive and responsive to the body’s environment. The great news is, this means small changes lead to improvement.
After you brush to refresh and support a healthy pH balance, use a simple salt-and-oil-based mouth rinse. Essential oils like frankincense, clove, myrrh, cinnamon and peppermint help to block quorum sensing (plaque-causing bacteria’s communication method). To make a rinse, drop 1-2 drops of oil directly into your choice of unrefined salt, then add salt to a large jar of filtered water. Sensitive teeth? Use this rinse after acidic beverages like lemon water, coffee, or alcohol.
Adding these extra minerals helps to feed healthy bacteria and create an inhospitable environment for pathogenic bacteria. It also supercharges saliva to protect teeth throughout the day.
Floss gently between teeth without digging into your poor, sensitive gums (aggressive flossing can cause inflammation). Some areas, like gum pockets and back molars, are hard to reach with just brushes and floss. For these, wipe away build-up with a soft plastic dental probe.
Ayurveda teaches that tongue scraping first thing in the morning stimulates the gastrointestinal tract to wake up. It also gets rid of halitosis-causing bacteria. A copper tongue scraper is naturally antibacterial and provides enzymes that feed probiotics in the mouth! Magical, right?
A healthy mouth feeds a healthy body. Our teeth are especially hungry for fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin E, D3, A, and K2. These are abundant in pasture-raised animal fats, organ meats, and eggs. Quality fish and fish oils are also rich sources of these critical nutrients.
Although teeth can be slower to heal, when you give them the same level of care and respect as the rest of your health, you spark significant change. This holistic approach to oral healthcare will give you something to smile about!
Maddie Elise, RHN’s oral healthcare obsession started when she was in school studying nutrition. The low-standard oral care options available on shelves just didn’t cut it when it came to her smile. After years of study and home experiments, Maddie developed her own toothpaste alternative, Gaia Smiles Tooth Powder (available at GaiaSmiles.com). Maddie believes each person should be in the driver’s seat of their own health experience. Since developing Gaia Smiles, Maddie has been teaching oral healthcare workshops in her hometown, Kelowna, B.C.