For most of my adult life, I didn’t really pay much attention to my teeth. I brushed daily but mostly didn’t floss, went to the dentist yearly, got fillings in my cavities and that was that. Okay, it is true that I avoided fluoride (mostly easy due to living in Europe where our tap water wasn’t fluoridated) and at some point I learned about the dangers of mercury fillings so I started getting non-amalgam fillings when I needed them. In the past few years, I read some of Weston Price and also switched to a non-glycerin based toothpaste (ToothSoap). Towards the end of my pregnancy with Amethyst, I started having some mouth trouble. Not a whole lot, but there was a tooth that I was aware of a lot. About a month after I gave birth, one day all hell broke loose and it HURT. Like curled up in fetal position while my newborn cried her eyes out in the cot because I was in too much pain to even take care of her pain. So bad. I had a drug-free birth, but this was so bad i would have taken anything!! In desperation I called my yoga teacher who happened to have pain pills from when her husband had surgery. That allowed me to sleep and figure it out. I didn’t really know what to do, but ended up at a holistic dentistry practice. It was amazing, and so different to any other dental experience I had ever had. The dentist spoke with me about my lifestyle and my diet and then did a thorough work up of my mouth, explaining to me the exact state of my teeth, which teeth had mercury fillings and which of those were cracked and/or leaching, which teeth had cavities and where, etc. and then prioritized them for me in order of importance. I still have a lot of it left to do, but I feel more empowered and responsible for the health of my mouth. Here are a few of the practices and products that I find to be especially beneficial:
1. Oil pulling. This ancient Ayurvedic technique involves simply swishing an oil, traditionally sesame or coconut, in the mouth and “pulling” it back and forth through the teeth for about 10 minutes. It is said to actually leach toxins from the body, rid the mouth of bacteria, reduce plaque and generally rejuvenate the mouth and body. I use olive oil because I don’t mind the taste and notice that when I do it regularly that my teeth are whiter and cleaner looking.
2. Use a non-glycerin based toothpaste. This is hard if you look for a “natural” toothpaste because all of the major brands contain glycerin. The reason why it is best to avoid is because glycerin coats the teeth, making it impossible for them to re-mineralize when we eat certain nutrient dense foods. Do you drink green juice? Well, it isn’t helping your teeth any if they can’t absorb it! I use this toothpaste now:
. This one has gets bonus points for having xylitol, which is known to strengthen teeth and gums and for having all food based ingredients.
3. Floss. Seriously, do it. Every day. I find that if I go more than two days without flossing, my gums begin to bleed and recede. No bueno.
4. Do not use an alcohol based mouthwash. The alcohol is too harsh for the flora of your mouth and while yes, it decimates the bacteria, that means the good bacteria too, which actually prevent tooth decay. In turn, the bad bacteria flourish unchecked and it becomes a vicious cycle. A lot of the more natural alternatives use glycerin. Not good, as per above. If you want fresh breath, gargle with an herbal tea or chew on some mint or parsley leaves. It works!
5. Learn to brush! Go with the grain of your teeth, and gently does it. Make sure you get in the pocket between your teeth and your gums, right under where the gum line is.
Living Libations has some incredible tooth care products, and while totally worth it, are too spendy for my budget right now.
Are there any practices or products that you can’t live without?