Dental visits can be stressful, painful, and expensive. Often times, even good insurance plans fail to cover the more expensive procedures like crowns and root canals, making visits to the dentist even more nerve-wracking. Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain and even improve oral health. In this article, I’ll show you how to “be your own dentist” so to speak. These tips will help to ease the tension of dental visits, and even alleviate the need for them. If you are like me and don’t have insurance, this is good news.
Tooth and gum health is important for many reasons. Having a healthy smile doesn’t just improve self-esteem, but it provides a decent indicator of the status of your health. Chances are, if you aren’t eating right, your teeth are going to reflect this. Foods high in sugar and/or acids will change the pH in your mouth, leading to enamel degradation and plaque build-up. When the strength of the enamel is compromised, the tooth is compromised, leaving it vulnerable to decay and cavities. Eating a poor diet also leads to poor health. When a person is lacking the essential building blocks of health, their teeth are likely to suffer as well. When proper health is maintained, teeth are typically stronger because they aren’t lacking essential vitamins and mineral needed for their structure. Follow the guide below for optimal dental health.
In order to maintain strong teeth and healthy gums, avoid foods high in sugar, including candy, pop, and most fruits. Dried fruit is very high in sugar and should be limited. Some fruit such as bananas, apples and berries are OK in moderation.
Avoid foods that contain high amounts of acid. This includes most fruit, alcoholic beverages, pop, fried foods, most coffee, black tea, conventional red meat, and most processed foods.
Quick and dirty tips for maintaining a healthy diet (and ultimately healthy teeth): Make the bulk of your lunch and dinner be composed of colorful vegetables and leafy greens. Consume healthy fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil and avocados with every meal. Add some protein from grass-fed meat, eggs and wild-caught salmon to your meals.
Avoid taking calcium supplements. The average diet is not lacking in calcium, thus supplementing with calcium is not often necessary, especially for tooth health. Excessive amounts of calcium can lead to kidney stones and even heart issues and is better avoided.
Do incorporate other necessary vitamins and minerals like magnesium, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, Copper, and Selenium to maintain overall health. (These items are particularly important because they are the building blocks of various cellular functions and are generally lacking in peoples’ diets.)
A great way to prepare your mouth for flossing and brushing is to rinse with a saline solution. Simply dissolve 1/2 tsp. of sea salt in 2-3 cups of purified water and swish with it for roughly 30 seconds. (I keep a container in the bathroom with just a few cups of saline solution, eliminating the need to prepare it each time I want to brush.) Swishing with saline solution removes any harmful acids in your mouth, bringing the pH back to a normal level. Flossing and brushing with too acidic an environment in your mouth can compromise your enamel, allowing the bristles and fibers of your cleaning tools to ware it away. This is one of the reasons why many people have grooves and scratches on their teeth, in addition to brushing with a hard-bristle brush. (On a similar note, avoid mouthwashes all together, especially if they contain alcohol. The alcohol kills good oral flora and creates a drying effect, allowing bad bacteria to take over.)
Flossing is a vital part of maintaining proper tooth health. Flossing after every meal may seem redundant, but it is necessary for removing food lodged in between teeth, and for preventing plaque build-up. When using the right kind of floss, you can gently remove plaque without the need for routine cleanings and dental tools.
Avoid waxed floss, as its slippery surface it does nothing for plaque removal.
Dr. Tung’s Smart Floss is the best floss for maintaining tooth and gum health. It is unwaxed and thick, providing a rough surface to gently remove any unwanted particles on teeth and under gums.
Floss thoroughly by bringing it up to the very end of the tooth, up under the gums. Be gentle and stop when there is resistance. This keeps particles from collecting under the gums, ultimately reducing gum disease and tooth decay.
A man named Dr. Charles C. Bass devised a specific brushing method, successfully curing his advanced gum disease. The technique includes holding the toothbrush at an angle where the tooth meets the gums, and gently using short, rapid side to side motions for each tooth. Make sure to brush the front and back sides of each tooth. For best results, focus on a roughly three teeth at a time using this method. Finish by placing the toothbrush at the base of the gums and brushing upwards to encourage the gums to move back up the tooth. This reduces tooth sensitivity and receding gums. I also brush the tooth bed to remove any debris in the tooth crevices. The tooth brush used with this method contained far fewer bristles than the standard tooth brush, and had less variation in bristle length. The OraWellness Starter kit is a great tool for tooth and gum health. Try to avoid brushing immediately after eating. Wait at least 30 minutes, or rinse thoroughly with saline solution in order to return your mouth to a neutral pH level.
Conventional toothpaste isn’t acceptable for healthy teeth because it often contains chemicals and flouride, which are harmful to our bodies. I like to use my own All-Natural Homemade Toothpaste in order to ensure that my teeth are getting the best care, and by body isn’t suffering for it. This toothpaste contains liquid bentonite clay, (which detoxifies the body and acts as a mild abrasive,) coconut oil, (which is antibacterial,) xylitol, (which sweetens the toothpaste and re-mineralizes teeth,) and peppermint oil for a refreshing effect.
I don’t trust conventional whitening products as they seem to make my teeth more sensitive after use. For natural whitening/abrasive techniques that won’t damage your teeth, try Peelu Dental Fibers. Place them on your toothpaste prior to brushing and enjoy a mild abrasive effect. Activated Charcoal on your toothbrush is another great way to naturally whiten teeth while detoxifying.
Because Xylitol is such a powerful tool for tooth health, I like to use it whenever I can. Xylitol mints are an easy solution to tooth decay, and they’re delicious. You can purchase xylitol mints, or make your own by adding 2 parts xylitol to 1 part water (example: 1 C Xyltiol : 1/2 C Water) and simmer until the xylitol has dissolved and the water has evaporated. This will take approx. 10-15 minutes. If you are using a candy thermometer, bring it up to 310 degrees. Remove from heat, add a few drops of peppermint oil, and place on a flat sheet of parchment paper to cool. The mints will look white and solid when ready. Break the mass into pieces and enjoy whenever you feel the need to remineralize your teeth. If you are lazy like me, you can also just suck on a spoonful of pure xylitol. I do this after eating something acidic and before bed.