While you cannot feel, see, or even taste them, your mouth is the permanent residence of a multitude of microorganisms. These microorganisms are teeny, tiny bacteria – and, similar to those that live in your gut, can be both beneficial and harmful to our health. The beneficial bacteria, which are also known as probiotics, aid in the digestion of foods, and protect our teeth and gums from the bad bacteria, which can easily grow out of control. Bad bacteria is disease-causing and leads to an array of oral health conditions such as bad breath, gingivitis, periodontitis, cavities, and plaque build-up.
Controlling the bacteria and toxin levels in our mouths is not only important for keeping our oral cavities healthy, but is also important for whole body health. Infections and bacterial overgrowth in the mouth can travel throughout the body’s system, leading to cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, and low birth weight – all of which are easy to prevent! While the bad bacteria is always present to some degree, it can be kept in balance with good oral practices, targeted nutrition, and a few of our favorite holistic cleansing techniques. Get on board with these detox practices to make your mouth the most kissable it’s ever been…
9 Ways to Detox your Mouth
The fastest and easiest way to get those bad bugs out of your mouth is with a tongue scraper. A traditional technique in Ayurveda, tongue scraping cleans bacterial build-up, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. This helps to not only clean the mouth, freshening the breath, but it also stimulates the metabolism as well.
TCM Pick: Why you Should Scrape your Tongue
A simple swish and swirl of your favorite oil is the answer to fresher breath, whiter teeth and a toxin- free body. The practice of oil pulling literally pulls toxins from the oral cavity, which is then spit out and cleared from the body. A research study indicated that oil pulling reduced plaque-induced gingivitis, and the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which is known to cause cavities. So grab a jar of coconut oil from the kitchen counter, and get pulling!
TCM Pick: Gargle with Coconut Oil
Toothpaste is key to maintaining good oral health, acting as an antibacterial, but what type are you choosing? We’ve chosen to commit ourselves to toxin-free living, which means detoxing our toothpaste as well. Eliminate Fluoride, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, Triclosan, Sodium Hydroxide, and other nasty chemicals. These chemicals are damaging to the body as a whole, and can even reduce the healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the mouth. Opt for a toothpaste that uses natural antibacterial agents and breath fresheners such as neem, licorice, eucalyptus, clove and peppermint instead. Or better yet, create your own!
TCM Pick: Homemade Peppermint Toothpaste
A toothbrush is used to mechanically reduce bad bacteria in the mouth, but new studies reveal that ionic toothbrushes introduce new benefits. An ionic toothbrush temporarily reverses the polarity of the tooth surface from negative (-) to positive (+), which draws plaque towards the toothbrush head. As a result, you are able to clear more plaque. In addition, because the teeth’s polarity is temporarily reversed, your teeth reject plaque even in areas that haven’t been touched by bristles. Research has proven that ionic toothbrushes reduce hypersensitivity, plaque and bleeding too, making it one of our favorite ways to clean our teeth.
TCM Pick: Dr. Tung’s Ionic Toothbrush
Drinking green tea not only protects against radiation, boosts your mineralization and helps you to lose weight, but it can improve your oral health as well. Research has found that the frequent consumption of green tea may help promote healthy teeth and gums, reducing periodontal disease. It is believed that green tea’s mode of action is through its high levels of the antioxidant, catechin. Previous studies have demonstrated catechin’s ability to reduce inflammation in the body, as well as the indicators of periodontal disease, thereby reducing bad bacteria in the mouth.
We’ve been so focused on balancing the good bacteria in our gut with fermented foods and Kombucha, that we have forgotten all about the mouth! The mouth needs good bacteria too, which is why taking oral probiotics can be extremely beneficial, especially if cavities are a frequent occurrence. The more good bacteria you have, the more of a defense you have against the bad bacteria, reducing the incidence of inflammation and infection.
TCM Pick: DentaVen by Premier Research Labs
Neem oil (plant pictured above) is an ancient remedy used for clearing up infections in the mouth. While the oil does not pleasant taste, we believe in its healing capabilities enough to endure it. Acting as an antibacterial, neem oil can be used to keep the bad oral bacteria from taking over and proliferating. Clinical studies have shown neem to be effective in lowering levels of plaque and tartar, while reducing inflammation, bleeding gums and dental infections. Simply apply a few drops of the oil directly to the gum line, massage, and allow it to sit overnight.
TCM Pick: Neem Oil by TheraNeem
In efforts to not only boost our immune system, but to keep our gums happy too, we are keeping up with a daily dose of vitamin C. Rather than getting it from a synthetic vitamin tablet, we are using the superfood Camu Camu. Camu Camu contains 250mg of Vitamin C per teaspoon, containing more Vitamin C than any other known botanical source. Vitamin C is needed for healthy gums, reducing the incidence of bleeding gums, gingivitis, and even periodontitis. The good news is that the effects of Camu Camu go far beyond a healthy gum line, helping to improve immunity and the texture of the skin, while repairing and maintaining cartilage, bones, and teeth.
TCM Pick: Camu Camu Powder by Immunologic
Tea Tree Oil Floss
There is just no way around it – flossing daily is an integral part of keeping our mouths fresh and clean, so why not add an extra bonus with tea tree oil. A natural disinfectant, tea tree oil reduces bad oral bacteria. Research indicates that tea tree oil significantly reduces gingivitis and bleeding of the gums, even in those with gingivitis. So grab some tea tree oil floss to blast those bugs hiding in between your teeth!
TCM Pick: Tea Tree Oil Floss by Desert Essence