The last time I went to the dentist, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. What would they say about my teeth? You see, for the past year, I'd been using only home-made dental products and this was going to be the test of whether or not they worked.
The results of my dental visit? Amazing! The hygienist didn't need to use any tools to clean my teeth because I didn't have any plaque, my gums were healthier and I had no stains on my teeth. After a bit of gentle water pressure cleaning and a polish, I was out the door. It's been almost a year since that visit and my teeth feel as clean as they did the day I left their office.
Today, I make several lines of natural toothpastes for nutritionists and naturopaths who want healthy products to sell to their clients and the feedback from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive- cleaner mouth, whiter teeth, healthier gums, fresher breath, amazing dental visits.
In this post, I'll share my dental routine and a few recipes for you to try.
- First thing in the morning, I scrape my tongue. What the heck is this? Tongue scraping is an Ayurvedic practice that removes bacteria from the tongue using a thin strip of stainless steel or copper in a "U" shape. You can buy them at most health food stores. Did you know over half of the bacteria that live in your mouth are found on your tongue? These bacteria can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum infections. Tongue scraping removes bacteria more effectively than brushing your tongue does.
- After scraping my tongue, I floss and brush my teeth with homemade floss oil and toothpaste (recipes below). Brushing and flossing first thing in the morning removes bacteria from your mouth that your body has been working hard all night to remove from your body.
- After drinking dark teas or acidic beverages, (that includes lemon water), I rinse my mouth with water to prevent stains and to protect the enamel on my teeth from exposure to acids. After meals, I brush to remove leftover bits of food (if I can't brush, I rinse really well with water).
- Before bed, I floss (yes, twice a day!) and brush my teeth with floss oil.
- Once a week, I oil pull. Another Ayurvedic practice that uses oil to emulsify around bacteria, toxins and debris in the mouth, effectively removing them. I've found that oil pulling is able to remove plaque build-up from places I find it difficult to reach with my toothbrush and it has made a huge difference in reducing my tooth sensitivity. I recommend coconut oil for this as it has been found to kill the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Use 1 Tbsp of oil and gently swish it around your mouth for 15-20 minutes, then spit it back out. Super simple and yet highly effective. It is a little gross though, so I'd recommend doing it while your doing something else to distract you! I'd also suggest spitting it into the toilet or garbage to prevent clogging your drain!
Floss Oil Recipe
- Carrier oil (grapeseed, olive or sesame oil)
- Antibacterial essential oils (teatree and clove)
- Peppermint or cinnamon essential oil
- Use a glass container, preferably dark coloured, and fill to 1/2 with carrier oil. I use grapeseed.
- Fill 1/3 of the container with teatree essential oil. This type of oil has been found to be most effective against the widest variety of dental bacteria.
- Fill remainder of container with peppermint or cinnamon oil, using whichever taste you prefer.
- Add a few drops of clove essential oil. Clove oil has a long history of use in dental care and relieves toothaches and sore gums. It is quite potent though, so use only a few drops.
I use floss oil a number of different ways- I coat my floss with it, I put a few drops on my toothbrush and clean my teeth with it, I add a few drops to water and use it as a mouthwash and if I have any swelling or pain, (ever bite your cheek?), I apply it directly with a cotton swab to reduce pain, prevent infection and help it to heal faster.
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp calcium carbonate (you can buy the powder at health food stores)
- 1 Tbsp xylitol (grind this in a blender or spice grinder)
- Peppermint, sweet orange or cinnamon essential oil for taste
- Optional additions: Food-grade bentonite clay, activated charcoal (great for whitening teeth), powdered herbs, such as neem, sage or thyme (have herbs ground at herbal shop to make sure their fine enough)
- Mix your powders together, then add coconut oil and mash together with a fork or spoon. Don't melt the coconut oil or all the powders will just settle to the bottom.
- Add essential oils.
- To apply, use a little spoon to put on your dry brush. If it's hot in your home and it melts, stir before use to distribute powders or place in fridge to keep hard.
Coconut oil kills bacteria. Baking soda acts as a gentle abrasive to clean and whiten teeth. Xylitol, an alcohol derived from wood, has been shown to reduce dental cavities and adds a sweet taste.
Hope you give these recipes a try and see how natural products and simple Ayurvedic practices can benefit our oral health.