The CDC reports that nearly 24% of American adults aged 20-64 have untreated dental cavities. With the body working as one interconnected system, it can only work effectively when all individual parts are working optimally and well cared for. As we focus on our health, it is important that we don’t disregard our teeth and mouths!
A healthy mouth contains more than 500 species of bacteria, including both beneficial and harmful varieties. These ‘good’ bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics, help to promote digestion and synthesize vitamins for the body, all while protecting the body from the presence of these ‘bad’ bacteria. These ‘bad’ bacteria are responsible for many mouth-related health problems including cavities, gingivitis, bad breath, periodontitis and plaque build-up.
These bacteria don’t just have a negative impact on our dental health when ignored, but can ultimately impact the entire body! Since every system in the body is connected, infections and bacterial overgrowth that start in the mouth can move throughout the body causing several serious health problems including bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, and heart disease.
One study, entitled “Poor Oral Hygiene as a Risk Factor for Infective Endocarditis-Related Bacteremia” linked poor dental health and endocarditis. When germs and bacteria spread throughout the body in the bloodstream, they can attach themselves to damaged areas of the heart causing this infection of its inner lining. Other studies and research have gone on to connect poor oral health with the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and even discussed the connection between oral health and cancer.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
With these clear connections between poor oral health and the risk of additional health problems, it is time that we try to be more aware and focused on ensuring that we maintain good dental care. Be sure to brush regularly, using an organic toothbrush, and replace your toothbrush every few months, as well as immediately following anytime that you find yourself sick. Additionally, use an all-natural/fluoride-free toothpaste, floss regularly, eat organic plant-based foods and be sure to visit your dentist!
In addition to caring for your oral health, here are 9 ways to naturally detox your mouth.
- Tongue Scraping
Scraping the tongue removes the build up that may otherwise be contributing to bad breath and imbalance of good versus bad bacteria within the mouth, including bacterial build-up, fungi, dead cells and food debris. This will also help to stimulate the metabolism.
- Oral Probiotic
Oral probiotics will work to balance out the good bacteria within the mouth, especially if you find that cavities are becoming a more regular occurrence. The higher the number of good bacteria in the mouth, the better defense that you have against the bad bacteria, reducing the risk of infection and inflammation.
- Camu Camu
Camu Camu contains 250mg of Vitamin C per teaspoon, which is more than any known botanical source. This boost of vitamin C will not only boost your immune system but also promote healthy gums, reducing the incidence of gingivitis, bleeding gums, and periodontitis. It has also been found to aid in maintaining strong cartilage, bones, and teeth.
- Oil Pulling
The practice of oil pulling has been gaining in popularity as people continue to learn the way in which it can pull toxins from the oral cavity, which you, in turn, spit out clear of the body. It has the ability to reduce plaque-induced gingivitis, as well as the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which is the bacterium that has been known to cause cavities.
- Non-Toxic Toothpaste
If you are committed to removing toxins from the foods that you are consuming, it also makes sense to reduce the presence of toxins in products like your toothpaste. Many brands include several chemicals including fluoride, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, sodium hydroxide, and triclosan. Choose, instead, a toothpaste that uses all natural breath fresheners and antibacterial agents such as licorice, neem, peppermint, clove, and eucalyptus.
- Green Tea
Experts have found that regular green tea consumption has been linked to healthy teeth and gums, and the reduction of periodontal disease. It is believed that this is a result of the high levels of the antioxidant catechin, which has been found to reduce the levels of bad bacteria, as well as inflammation within the body.
- Neem Oil
Neem Oil has been used throughout history as a remedy to clear up infections within the mouth. It may not have the most pleasant taste; however, it carries a list of benefits including lowering levels of plaque and tartar, reducing inflammation, bleeding gums, and dental infections, and acting as an antibacterial. Apply a few drops of the oil to the gum line, massage it in and then allow it to sit overnight.
- Ionic Toothbrush
An Ionic toothbrush works by temporarily reversing the polarity of the teeth, drawing plaque towards the toothbrush head. This allows you to clear more plaque, promoting better oral health. They have also been found to reduce hypersensitivity, plaque, and bleeding gums.
- Tea Tree Oil Floss
As previously discussed, it is important to ensure that we are regularly flossing our teal. Adding tea tree oil is an additional bonus, reducing bad oral bacteria. Studies have found that tea tree oil can significantly reduce gum bleeding and gingivitis.