Few experiences are more painful than toothaches and mouth-related problems, so a healthy, happy mouth is probably high on everyone’s list of best hygiene goals. And why not? Think about it: digestion begins in the mouth, so what better area to focus on to keep illness at bay!
According to the World Health Organization, “60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities that often lead to pain and discomfort.” Good oral hygiene helps to prevent the plaque and tartar that cause gum disease and tooth decay, and it can help to ward off bad breath.
Let’s look at some of the tools we can use to ensure a healthy, happy mouth:
Nontoxic toothpaste and dental probiotics
We’ve been told for years that we need to use fluoride toothpaste, but more and more evidence is surfacing that fluoride is a toxin that creates more bad than good in the body. There are several non-fluoride toothpastes, such as Kiss My Face’s fluoride free gel and Dr. Bronner’s All-One, both of which I use. Dental probiotics and periobiotics claim to prevent bacteria-related oral health problems like gingivitis, bad breath, and periodontitis.
Oil of oregano
Oregano oil has antimicrobial properties that destroy the germs that can create periodontal disease. Apply a small amount of the oil to your finger and rub it gently onto the surface of your gums or teeth to kill germs and combat destructive bacteria. Hey, remember to rinse your finger well afterwards!
Some researchers are concerned that long-term use of oral hygiene products that contain alcohol may increase the risk of oral cancer. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) claims that it’s okay to use alcohol rinses. Here are several natural choices to replace alcohol rinses.
- Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque, which cause gingivitis and gum disease. Brands like Tom’s of Maine tout natural, alcohol-free mouthwashes.
- Health aficionados create their own herbal mouthwashes from herbs like rosemary and peppermint along with cinnamon and clove essential oils. I can’t speak to the tastiness of such concoctions, however. 🙂
- Colloidal silver is known for its ability to destroy bacteria and fungi. As such, it’s an ideal natural product for a healthy, happy mouth (and teeth and gums!) because it can prevent plaque and reduce cavities and gum disease. You hold the liquid under the tongue for 30 seconds and then swallow it. Caveat: colloidal silver is not for long-term use. At most, it should be used for 14 days at a time, after which you take a break.
- A small amount of hydrogen peroxide (H202) diluted in water has been proven to be an effective mouthwash. The key here is “a small amount” used after brushing and flossing. Expect H202 to foam as it kills germs, bacteria, and viruses in your mouth.
In the beginning, I doubted the benefits of tongue scraping, but now I’m a believer! A good tongue scraper removes any coating on the tongue that can cause bad breath, and it can work as efficiently as the best mouthwash. It enhances our taste buds so that we truly savor our food, and it helps to remove undigested food particles from the tongue. You simply position the scraper as far back on your tongue as is comfortable and then gently scrape it forward. Do this 3 or 4 times and then rinse.
Brushing and flossing
I’ve always been curious about different types of toothbrushes, so I tend to have at least two in use: manual and electric. Especially after oil pulling, a manual toothbrush that fits the mouth with ease will clean your teeth efficiently. An electric toothbrush, however, is often more effective in helping to reduce plaque, especially in hard-to-reach back teeth.
Daily flossing is a goal that pays huge dividends in clearing out food from crevices that brushing might miss. A good, waxed floss is an important ally in fighting tooth decay and bad breath.
Tell me about your arsenal of tools to maintain a healthy, happy mouth! What are your top three tools?