I used to fear going to the dentist. Not because I was nervous about pain or procedures, but because I knew my 6-month cleanings would end in follow-up appointments and expensive bills for fillings, crowns and root canals. Honestly, it was always something! And this was with the diligence of “healthy habits”: brushing, flossing, rinsing, you name it…
Until about five years ago! That’s when I changed the way I eat and began walking out of the dental office with ONLY my 6-month cleaning appointment reminder card. True story!
I’m not a mouth health specialist, but I can share my experience and add to the personal stories of how food has made a dramatic difference on the status of my teeth. While I didn’t set out for improved dental hygiene when I swapped the foods on my plate, it was a welcome change. No more sensitivities to hot and cold, no more bleeding gums with flossing (even if I go weeks without flossing), no more cavities, root canals or signs of receding gum lines.
I took the grains, legumes and processed foods off my plate. Therefore, I’ve …
– dramatically decreased the sugar
– increased healthful fats (especially saturated fats) and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K)
– decreased the physic acid (found in grains, legumes, seeds and nuts): here’s a great article from Wellness Mama if you want to read more on physic acid…
– increased my quantity and variety of vegetables, and variety of nuts and seeds to up my mineral consumption
– increased my consumption of homemade bone broth.
I also brought my dental care products back to the basics. Using natural clays and oils to keep my pearly whites healthy rather than using harsh chemicals. I just haven’t found the chemicals to be necessary.
Here is a list of some of my favorites:
– Earthpaste: No foaming agents, no coloring, no glycerin, and no fluoride.
– Primal Life Organics – Dirty Mouth Toothpowder: Clays, baking soda and essential oils.
– Ora Wellness – HealTHY Mouth Blend: This essential oil blend is fantastic for brushing, mixing with water for a natural mouthwash, and for freshening your breath.
– Eco-dent GentleFloss: Honestly, I love that the packaging isn’t plastic. Our landfills (and environment in general) are full of unnecessary plastics.
– Coconut oil: for oil-pulling of course! ;-)
“What the heck is oil-pulling?” you might be thinking. You can read this article from Authority Nutrition for more insight, but basically, it’s an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut, sesame, or sunflower) in your mouth for 20 minutes. The theory is that it draws out toxins in your body, improves oral health, and general wellbeing.
While oil pulling consistency is important, it’s my personal downfall. I try to do it first thing in the morning while I’m taking a shower or getting ready for the day, but it doesn’t always happen. It’s important to oil pull before eating or brushing your teeth and it is helpful to start with a teaspoon for 5 minutes and build up to a tablespoon for 20 minutes. In addition, make sure not to swallow the bacteria laden slosh (you want to get that stuff out of your body), and spit into the garbage to avoid clogging your sink. Benefits include whiter teeth, fresher breath, gingivitis fighting power and plaque prevention.
It it seems too weird to rinse your mouth with coconut oil, or brush your teeth with tooth powder, remember that simply changing your diet can make a world of difference as well.
One of the best parts of my dental health and diet change is that my teeth are never wearing FUZZY SWEATERS by the end of the day anymore! Yippee.
For another great read on diet and dental health check out “Dentistry in Harmony with Nature.”