Chew On This: Natural Toothcare
Between Halloween sweets, decadent Thanksgiving meals, and savory Christmas treats, this is the time of year when our mouths are literally bombarded with delicious, cavity-inducing foods! Tis the season of sugars and starches…so while you’re scarfing down those cold weather snacks, keep the well-being of your teeth in mind with these natural, non-toxic toothcare tips.
The Importance of Healthy Teeth
Dental health isn’t merely an independent, tertiary bodily system for you to ignore. While it may seem like your tooth and gums have a general disconnection from the rest of your body, lack of oral hygiene has increasingly been tied to many health issues — and they’re not just confined to the inside of your mouth.
Everyone knows that poor oral upkeep leads to gingivitis and cavities, but decaying teeth and poorly groomed gums have shown strong association with other diseases, usually beginning as gum inflammation. According to Medical News Today, compiled research finds that patients with dismal dental hygiene tend to be more prone to heath issues such as:
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Pancreatic Cancer
The decay of teeth and gums has equal potential of being a cause, symptom, or contributor of many diseases and health issues. Although most of the bacteria lingering in your mouth is benign, a variety of harmful bacteria can form if hygiene goes unchecked. This problematic bacteria can enter the body through a few different routes: in the case of pancreatic cancer, for instance, the bacteria is ingested via the digestive tract; for Alzheimer’s, the bacteria is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Osteoporosis, stroke, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS also have suggested correlations with tooth loss and tooth decay.
Say No to Fluoride
While global progress in health and sanitation has gained significant traction in the past century, fluoride and water fluoridation has proven to be a dubious practice, particularly in the United States (where it is heralded most). Fluoridation, or the addition of hazardous chemicals to one’s tap water, is a controversial topic among researchers.
Over 70% of U.S. drinking water is fluoridated, backed by claims from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) assuring that fluoride is beneficial to oral health and prevents cavities. But several studies not only show evidence to the contrary, but reveal correlations between fluoridation and neurological disorders as well.
Considering the substantial amount of scientific study showing fluoride’s adverse effects on the human body, the fact that tubes of fluoridated toothpaste are enthusiastically sold to people of any age becomes a disturbing reality.
DIY Natural Toothpaste Recipe
Looking for a homemade option for your toothcare? This easy breezy (and all natural!) toothpaste recipe comes to us from Wellness Mama:
2-3 tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 small packets of Stevia sweetener
15-20 droplets of organic peppermint essential oil
- Melt or slightly soften coconut oil.
- Mix in other ingredients and stir well. If using semi-hard coconut oil, use a fork; if not, use a spoon. If you are using completely melted coconut oil, you will need to stir several times while the mixture cools to keep the baking soda incorporated.
- Put mixture into small glass jar. Let it cool completely.
- To use: dip toothbrush in and scrape small amount onto bristles. You could also use a small spoon to put it on the toothbrush.
For you DIY champions, try her remineralizing toothpaste recipe as well! For those of you who can’t go the homemade route, many organic, natural, and fluoride-free brands exist for your oral health needs. A few trusted companies that sell fluoride-free products include Tom’s of Maine, Dr. Ken’s, and Desert Essence
- Eat a healthy, plant-based, whole foods diet! Reducing the absorption of acidic and sugary foods is Step #1 in improving overall health.
- Brush at least once a day, twice recommended.
- Floss daily.
- Buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash.
- Change out your brush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles fray.