• leighmcswan

The Best Practices for Holistic Oral Care

Updated: May 12

Infections and bacterial overgrowth in the mouth can travel throughout the body’s system, leading to cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, and low birth weight – all of which are easy to prevent! Take a look at your current oral hygiene regime and see if you can add some of these practices in for better oral health, naturally.



Use a toothpaste with hydroxyapatite.


Hydroxyapatite is the most stable form of tricalcium phosphate. Hydroxyapatite is a major component of normal teeth and bones. 90% of your tooth enamel and 60% of your bone consist of calcium phosphate. This mineral provides rigidity to your teeth and bone structure, repairs cavities, and regenerates teeth and bones.

Demineralization of the teeth is a common modern day issue, so replenishing this material is a great way to help support healthy teeth. When used in toothpaste, nano-hydroxyapatite fills in gaps in the tooth which may be depleted or softened as a result of demineralization, and strengthens it.


I like one that has additional whitening benefits and is fluoride free. You can click here for a full list of all the natural oral health products I use.


The toothpaste I use also contains baking soda which aids in scrubbing the teeth gently. Just ensure you’re not brushing aggressively- you don’t need to with the right toothpaste.


One final note on hydroxyapatite, is that the best way to use a hydroxyapatite toothpaste to prevent and reverse cavities is to leave it on your teeth after brushing. So basically, don’t rinse your mouth after you finish brushing and definitely don’t drink water or eat for at least 30 minutes.


Eliminate snacking.


Especially when the snack is starchy or sugary. 6 mini meals a day is outdated old school nutrition advice that does more harm than good not only to our blood sugar levels but also to our mouths. We need to give the mouth time to alkalize itself and balance the PH to avoid cavities.


Every time you eat or drink something sugary or something high in starch, the PH level in your mouth drops, becoming more acidic as the bacteria feeds off the sugars and releases acid. If you're a chronic snacker, your teeth aren’t getting the opportunity to increase the PH which will lead to tooth decay.


An overly acidic mouth will result in cavities in the teeth as the acid sits on them and produces little holes.


Ideally, consume 3 large meals a day which fulfill your daily nutrient needs and avoid snacking. This goes for children too- especially children who are more likely to consume snacks that are starchy or sugary (including fruit). If you do require a snack or if you’re feeding your kids snacks, stick to less sugary options, something that is higher in protein and/or fat. Some good options include: nuts and seeds, avocado, olives, grass-fed meat sticks, deviled eggs, quality deli meat, good quality cheese and non-starchy vegetables.


Start oil pulling.


Oil pulling is a cleaning practice that helps rid the mouth of harmful microorganisms. It helps eliminate bad breath and some even report visibly whiter teeth.


Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic practice done with either coconut oil or sesame oil; and is the Ayurvedic equivalent of gargling with mouthwash. Oil pulling results in fresher breath, whiter teeth and helps the mouth (and in turn, the body) eliminate toxins. The practice of oil pulling literally pulls toxins from the oral cavity, which is then spit out and cleared from the body. This helps support the immune system, reduces stress, and can even help reduce internal inflammation (1).


How to do it? It’s really easy, simply take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth, pulling it between your teeth. It’s a very simple practice, but initially it may be difficult. Work your way up 20 minutes by starting with a minimum of 5 minutes before spitting it out. Make sure you’re not swallowing the oil as you will ingest the toxins you are trying to wipe out. Once you’re done swishing, brush with a hydroxyapatite-based toothpaste, free of flouride.

Some tips to help pass the time and fit oil pulling into your daily routine: pair it with another task that doesn’t require talking. I like to do it in the shower, while I’m folding laundry or as I’m walking Bruster in the morning with a podcast on.

A research study indicated that oil pulling reduces plaque-induced gingivitis, and the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which is known to cause cavities.


A little tip when you’re oil pulling: don’t spit your oil down the drain or into the toilet. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, meaning, it solidifies at room temperature so it’s not good for your plumbing, spit into the garbage instead.


For more holistic oral care product, click here for my full list of must haves in natural oral health products.


Use a great toothbrush & floss.


I recently went to a holistic dental hygienist who suggested I switch my toothbrush because I was experiencing mild gum recession. I love an electric toothbrush; however, the one I was using wasn’t living up to what I needed and she informed me that amongst her colleagues, no one had positive things to say about it. I think it’s worth having a conversation with your hygienist or dentist about your specific needs, your oral health at the moment and the toothbrush most suitable for proper oral care. I didn’t realize how much my toothbrush was affecting my gum sensitivity until I stopped using it. She also advised against aggressive brushing, which I was guilty of.


After switching my toothbrush and being more gentle, I have zero sensitivity. We’re monitoring the recession to either eliminate all further recession or slow it right down. There’s no building back the gums but there’s definitely a lot you can do to reduce recession further.


The toothbrush I’m currently using is listed in my free guide.


Of course we all know that daily flossing is important but did you know the type of floss you use also matters?


Conventional floss can contain some questionable ingredients that don’t fit into a holistic lifestyle. The first ingredient to look out for is PFAS or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These ingredients get coated over floss to provide an easy glide in between the teeth while repelling liquids. These chemicals are also present in non-stick cookware (Teflon) and have been shown in recent studies to cause negative health effects such as cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease, fertility issues, and more (2).


You'll also find artificial flavourings used in dental floss, which doesn’t have to be disclosed on the label. For example, there may be added preservatives and parabens. If you haven’t read this blog post on paragons yet, here’s why this is concerning.


Instead use a natural dental floss that is safer for you and the environment. Instead of nylon or plastic, look for floss made from bamboo, silk, or corn, which are all biodegradable, sustainable, and natural. Many of the companies who are making natural floss are also considerate of the packaging too- some come in recyclable or recycled packages.



In vibrant health, xo Leigh



References

  1. https://www.foodmatters.com/article/the-7-health-benefits-of-oil-pulling

2. https://www.thelist.com/830536/why-you-should-consider-using-natural-dental-floss/



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