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How to Improve Oral Health Naturally

How to Improve Oral Health Naturally

How to Improve Oral Health Naturally

Oral health is an impressive aspect of our overall health. Adopting a holistic oral care routine can improve oral health naturally, before dysfunction arises. Luckily, there are many practices we can implement within the walls of our own home to prevent poor oral health and support an overall healthy mind and body!

 

Why Your Oral Health Matters

Did you know oral health serves as a window into the health of your body? Underlying health conditions can have a strong influence on your oral health, and vice versa. One study shared that “the use of recently developed molecular methods has greatly expanded our knowledge of the composition and function of the oral microbiome in health and disease. Interaction and balance of a variety of oral microorganisms help the human body against invasion of the undesirable stimulation outside. However, the imbalance of microbial flora contributes to oral and whole-body systemic diseases. Oral microbiomes play an important role in human microbial community and human health status.”

The more we learn about oral health, the more we recognize the strong connection between the mouth microbiome and the rest of the body. Actually, the mouth is just the beginning of our entire gut, serving as an extremely important part of how our immune system operates. According to Shawn Kane, “It has been estimated that more than 100 systemic diseases and upward of 500 medications have oral manifestations.” More so, the following chronic diseases have been linked to poor oral health:

        • Diabetes
        • Heart disease
        • Alzheimer’s
        • Rheumatoid arthritis
        • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
        • Other autoimmune diseases
        • And more

 

While the oral microbiome is one significant factor of systemic disease, there is now a new understanding: Chronic inflammation leading to poor oral health is likely another primary root cause of chronic disease. In the case of autoimmunity, inflammation is sure to play a large role. 

Given the importance of oral status in overall health and well-being, the key is to understand the signs and symptoms of poor oral health and how to take optimal care of your mouth and teeth naturally.

 

Signs of Poor Oral Health

Oral dysfunction can affect the mouth, tongue, teeth, head, and essentially, the whole body. As a result, common symptoms can impact eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, and other everyday activities. These are the most common signs of poor oral health to watch for:

        • Blisters in mouth
        • Loose or bleeding gums
        • Canker sores
        • Cavities
        • Bad breath
        • Sliminess on teeth or tongue
        • Color changes to the tongue (white or yellow) or teeth (staining)
        • Cracked or brittle teeth 
        • Sensitivity to hot or cold or hard foods
        • Headaches or jaw pain (poor oral posture or bruxism)
        • Recurring ear aches or infections
        • Mouth breathing/snoring/sleep apnea
        • Postnasal drip

 

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Often, these oral symptoms are addressed locally. A localized approach completely ignores the role of the gut, which starts in the mouth. As we know, the gut houses 70% of our immune system. So, it’s in the best interest of our mouth and overall health to pay close attention to the gut microbiome, as well as that of the mouth.

When these signs of poor oral health are present, it’s wise to get the help of a functional dentist and/or doctor. However, there are also steps you can take at home to prevent and address unwanted oral issues.

 

Tips for Improving Oral Health Naturally

Despite common belief, holistic dental care is an effective way to prevent poor oral health and disease, while also supporting a healthy body. These are just a few ways to supplement a natural oral care routine, in addition to regular flossing and brushing:

 

        • Tongue Scraping- Tongue scraping is a holistic practice used to remove residual bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Use a metal tongue scraper to gently scrape the top of your tongue several times, from back to front. Be sure to rinse your mouth afterward. Tongue scraping can improve your sense of taste and reduce bad breath.

 

        • Oil Pulling- Oil pulling is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. It works by helping to remove excess bacteria from the inside of the mouth. Use coconut, sesame, or olive oil to swish around in your mouth. This encourages the bacteria to dissolve in the oil, which you then spit out. Start oil pulling for 5 minutes per day, slowly working your way up to 20 minutes. Be sure to not swallow the oil! Oil pulling can also moisturize the gums, increase saliva production, and reduce bad breath.

 

        • Targeted Supplementation– Supplements can be an integral part of natural oral care. Specifically, I’ve seen positive improvements in oral health by incorporating:
            • Probiotics– The oral microbiome is arguably just as essential as the gut microbiome. For this reason, probiotics are a strong approach to improving oral health. The following strains are the most effective in oral care: Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus paracasei. For the best results, open the probiotic capsule into your mouth, swish around, and allow it to sit in mouth/on tongue and teeth for a minute or more before you swallow during bedtime.
            • Vitamins and Minerals– Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are closely connected to common oral health issues. Work with your health practitioner to identify and address any deficiencies in your body. 

 

        • Fluoride (AVOID)– Fluoride is commonly found in many conventional oral care products, like toothpaste. While fluoride can provide minimal benefits when applied topically to the teeth, it has been shown to have adverse effects on the thyroid gland and brain function. For this reason, I highly suggest opting for fluoride-free products when addressing autoimmunity or other chronic disease. If dental integrity is a concern, focus on improving the oral microbiome.

 

        • Diet– Since the mouth is heavily involved in the breaking down of food, the foods you eat on a regular basis will impact your oral health. Common foods that can negatively impact oral and dental health include: coffee, tea, soda, sugar, acidic foods, and citrus. When consuming these foods (in moderation), use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth and mouth. On the other hand, certain whole foods are known for strengthening your teeth and improving oral health, such as: leafy greens, fatty fish, crunchy veggies, coconut yogurt, and almonds. Foods that naturally whiten your teeth include: strawberries, apples, celery, seeds, and nuts. You can also add a little bit of baking soda to your toothpaste for a whitening boost!

 

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My Favorite Natural Oral Care Products

My medicine cabinet is filled with natural oral care products. These are just a handful of my tried-and-true products that I trust to use in my own home. All of these natural oral care products are non-toxic and support overall health:

 

Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Toothbrushes and Floss
Supplements 
Other

 

As we continue to learn about the importance of our oral health, one thing is certain: we should all take our oral health seriously. By adopting a holistic oral care routine and using natural oral care products, we can set up our mouth, teeth, and entire body for success (AKA health). To learn more about natural oral care and my favorite products, check out my Youtube video!

 

Dr. Natasha F
[email protected]

Dr. Natasha F is a Doctor, Designer, Speaker and Artist. She specializes in healing autoimmunity through integrative chiropractic, functional neurology, functional medicine, nutrition, homeopathy and narrative medicine.

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