I’m sure by this point in stay-at-home life, many of us have our skincare routines down to a science. I would also bet that many of you have a healthy eating and supplement plan. While all of that is certainly important, there’s one equally important aspect of our health that many of us fail to address. It also happens to be one of the root causes of skin issues, gut health, and illness. I’m talking about your oral health care.
Just like our gut, there can be both good and bad bacteria in our mouth. The oral microbiome is equally, if not more important, than the gut microbiome, because the health of your mouth can influence not only your oral health but also impact the rest of your health, too.
The oral microbiome is full of bacteria that can contribute to a plethora of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even depression.
Taylor Dukes, a functional medicine nurse practitioner and private elite health consultant at Restore + Revive, notes that oral health care is one of the most important things that she considers with her patients. Dukes takes a holistic approach to her patient’s health care, not just diagnosing a problem, but diving into patient history to uncover the root of the problem and growing their overall health consciousness. For example, if a patient presents with recurrent gut issues like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), it is important to make sure that their oral health is not the underlying contributor. When my sister was diagnosed with Lyme and autoimmune disease, her doctors even found that the metal in her oral retainer and the sockets of her wisdom teeth might be contributing to her illness.
The good news is that oral health care is one of the easier things to address. Read on for Taylor’s tips and tricks to take your oral health care to the next level.
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practice that “pulls” bacteria from the mouth. It can also help with bad breath, gum inflammation, and cavity prevention. Here’s how you do it: Measure one tablespoon of organic oil (Dukes recommends sesame seed oil or coconut oil) and swish it in your mouth, running it through your teeth. If you can swish it around for 10-15 minutes, two to three days a week, you will see amazing benefits. Make sure not to swallow it and spit it in the trash can (not the sink/toilet!), as it can later clog your pipes.
USE NON-TOXIC TOOTHPASTE AND MOUTHWASH
Fluoride is linked to numerous health issues, and alcoholic mouthwashes can strip away good bacteria. Make the swap to non-toxic oral health care products to protect the microbiome. Our favorite brand is RiseWell, as Dukes notes that their products use hydroxyapatite instead of fluoride.
I am definitely guilty of not flossing enough. I do it when I think about it or when I have something stuck in my teeth, but it is really important in preventing tooth decay and gum disease and even protecting against heart disease. Floss daily, and use Dr. Tungs, Dukes’s go-to floss that is natural and proven to be more effective than regular floss because of its soft, stretchy design.
Tongue scraping is the most effective tool in improving your oral health care, behind brushing your teeth and flossing. It scrapes off built-up bacteria and dead cells, improving your taste buds, boosting your immunity, getting rid of bad breath, and supporting digestive health.
ADJUST YOUR DIET
There are several dietary changes that can positively affect your oral health. This may seem self-explanatory since everything you eat goes through your mouth first, but some of the changes might surprise you.
- Remove processed foods that are full of artificial ingredients and preservatives: Bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugar and starchy particles left in your mouth after eating processed foods.
- Ditch refined sugars: Refined sugar is directly linked to tooth decay, heart disease, and bad oral bacteria.
- Chew your food and practice mindful eating: Digestion begins in the mouth.
- Eat a variety of vegetables: Many veggies can clean plaque, freshen breath, and are full of antioxidant vitamins that protect against bacteria.
- Ditch sugary juices: The sugar not only energizes bacteria, but the acid can lead to cavities and/or erosion.
Additional Product Recommendations:
Improving your oral health care is something that you can start today with just a few changes or product additions to your morning and nighttime routine. If you are looking to take things a step further, look for a biological dentist that is IAOMT (International Academy of Oral Medicine and Technology) certified. Biological dentists approach oral health care in a holistic way using natural therapies.
What are your best oral health care practices?