Thursday, November 7, 2013

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Life

You might be surprised, but did you know that your mouth is one of the key factors for good health? 

Your mouth affects your health in many different ways, including: 
*What you put in your mouth - what you eat and drink. 
I've written several posts on this topic, so I won't repeat that information here. 

*What comes out of your mouth - what you say.
This is far more important than most of us realize. I'll talk more about it in next week's post.  

*The daily care of your mouth - yes, including brushing, flossing, etc. 

Today let's focus specifically on teeth/mouth care. 

The sad reality is that most teeth/mouth care products sold today actually contain toxic ingredients. It's important to be aware of this. It's hard to find 100% non-toxic products, but let's at least take the time to choose less toxic options, since these are products we use on a daily basis. 

1) Toothbrushes - 
If you're using a toothbrush made in China it undoubtedly has aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, and/or various other toxins in higher than normal levels. (In case you aren't aware, products made in China are highly toxic--avoid them as much as possible.) 

Many health food stores now sell natural fiber toothbrushes. A cheaper alternative is to just make sure the toothbrush you buy is made in the USA or another "safe" country. So far I've found toothbrushes made in Switzerland or other European countries to be ok for me. I always wash them in baking soda then let them air before using for the first time.

If you're using a plastic toothbrush, then be sure to get a new one every 1-3 months. Three months is really the outer limit. And if you're detoxing a lot, then every 4-6 weeks is better, because the toothbrush gradually fills up with toxins from your mouth. 

Also, do not put your toothbrush in the dishwasher or boil and then continue using. Putting the plastic in scalding hot water may cause it to leach chemicals that you definitely don't want in your mouth. Just throw it away and buy a new one. Your health is worth it! =)

2) Toothpaste -
Ordinary toothpaste contains several toxic ingredients like flouride, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners and more (this article has more specifics). Using a toxic product like this daily means you're getting a continual exposure to harmful chemicals.

There are natural toothpastes available, however even some of those can still have potentially problematic ingredients. I used a baking soda-based toothpaste for several years until my dentist told me it was stripping the enamel off my teeth. 

Thankfully, the dental hygenist informed me that toothpaste isn't actually necessary for healthy teeth. Brushing and flossing is what is important. Since she told me that, I haven't used any toothpaste. I do usually put the tiniest sprinkle of baking soda on my toothbrush, enough so my mouth feels clean but not enough to harm the enamel.

You can also find toothpaste recipes made with all natural ingredients online.

3) Mouthwash, whiteners, etc. - 
Mouthwash is also toxic, and if it contains alcohol (or ethanol) poses a significant risk for cancer! (Here's the information about that.) 

If you feel the need to rinse your mouth with something, then try a mild saltwater or mild baking soda solution. (Recommended amount is usually 1/2 tsp in 8 oz of water.)

I've also been asked about oil pulling. From my research, I think it has more potential for problems than for healing. (You can be allergic to the oil, you may not be ready for that kind of detox, etc. I also don't think it's good to swish anything in your mouth for 20 minutes, as I think you may reabsorb toxins in that time.) If you want to detox effectively, I recommend starting with lymphatic massage and detox baths, then gradually adding in other detox methods such a rebounding, juicing, etc. (See my post on Detoxing 101.) 

As far as chemical teeth whiteners, definitely say no! Especially since there are some natural alternatives. One I read about online is to rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth. I asked my herbalogist about it, and she said it would be fine for me to do it. So I rubbed the banana peel on my teeth and left it for 20 minutes. Then rinsed and brushed. It actually did improve the appearance of my teeth! Plus it was completely natural. (However, my herbalogist did say that not everyone would tolerate this well, depending on their particular health condition. So you might want to check with a health advisor before trying it.) Remember a healthy body is infinitely more important than white teeth. 

4)  Floss - 
Some floss is actually coated with flouride, which is toxic to the body and unnecessary for healthy teeth. However, I'm not sure how to tell which brands are. Personally, I just make sure the floss is not made in China, and I use the plain, unflavored kind. You can also find natural dental floss online. 

It's important to floss every day. Flossing keeps your teeth and mouth healthy and also (according to some studies) can protect your heart health (since it helps avoid plaque build up that can eventually wind up in the arteries).

This could be a whole post in itself, but just as a side note - dental fillings that contain mercury can cause serious health problems. With mercury in the teeth, it's like a continual dripping faucet of this toxin into your body. For many people having it removed changes their whole lives! Two of my loved ones had dramatic health recoveries after their mercury fillings were removed. However, if you do this, be sure to research and find a mercury removal professional. If the dentist doesn't know what they're doing, they can cause many problems in the process of removing the mercury fillings. 

Well, those are some suggestions of how to keep a healthy mouth. I hope they are helpful. Is there anything you would like to add? 

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