Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, particularly during introductions. A white, healthy smile is generally more attractive and even can subconsciously make people think you are more of a success.
Many Americans, one in three adults to be precise, are unhappy with their smiles. Dental care can be expensive and often time people go without dental visits or at least wait until a problem forces them to go. While a tooth care regimen at home isn’t going to fix orthodontic problems, you can get a healthier, whiter smile and fresher breath.
Even for those who don’t care much about their smile, oral care should still be considered an essential part in your overall health. Dentists and doctors alike will agree that an unhealthy mouth and an unhealthy body go hand in hand. Tooth infections and decay can affect your entire body and lead to more serious problems when left untreated.
You can easily get a healthier smile without wasting money on teeth whitening products or the latest electric toothbrush. Natural tooth care begins with one of the most basic of human functions: eating.
Diet and Oral Health
Many people are oblivious to how much diet affects their health and overall well-being. For example, when a health problem arises we often look to medications to fix the issue rather than looking at what food they are putting into their bodies. This mindset is alarmingly common when it comes to dental health.
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We already know that candy, soda and other forms of sugar aren’t going to prevent cavities. Most dentists, if they find tooth decay, even will ask during an appointment if you’ve been eating more junk food lately. But many dentists don’t ask about your other diet habits.
As certain types of diets like paleo are becoming more mainstream, people are noticing that they suddenly aren’t having toothaches and other sensitivity they once had. Studies and research are showing that carbohydrates, particularly in the form of simple carbs, are extremely damaging to teeth.
One property in grains, nuts, fruits and other foods is phytic acid. This acid, which creates phytates in our bodies, is absorbable and actually depletes calcium. When this happens, the tooth structure is weakened greatly. A study done by Dr. Weston Price with children who had tooth decay issues supports this. The children who were put onto a diet low in phytic acids with a vitamin D supplement were able to begin healing the cavities they had.
It may seem too good to be true but many people experience a complete turnaround in their oral health from changing their diets. If you’re interested in natural tooth care, I highly recommended that you also adopt a new low carb diet. If you are already on a low carb diet, you may have to closely examine your diet and eliminate certain foods that are high in phytic acids.
Creating a Natural Tooth Care Regimen
Natural tooth care is extremely easy to do, much less expensive — and many products can be made at home. Most natural tooth care products are excellent for young children, as they don’t contain ingredients that are harmful if accidently swallowed.
Choose a fluoride-free toothpaste whenever possible. For added benefit you also may want to choose a toothpaste that is glycerin-free as well. Some common brands that make natural toothpastes are Tom’s of Maine, Burt’s Bees, Jason and Earthpaste.
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You can also make your own toothpaste or tooth powders. You can customize the flavor of homemade toothpaste and it also can be a fun project for kids. Click here for a homemade toothpaste recipe.
Flossing is just as important in a natural regimen. The type of floss you use isn’t as important as your choice of toothpaste. Generally, you will want to use a plain, white floss with no added flavor.
Mouthwash is a regular part of a traditional oral hygiene program, and many people feel like they are missing out on that final minty-fresh touch without this product. While you don’t necessarily need a mouthwash, there is no issue in using one, if you use the right product. Just like toothpastes, most mouthwashes have fluoride, glycerin, alcohol and other ingredients that are not needed. Instead, buy a natural mouthwash from the brands listed earlier or make your own.
Oil pulling as part of regular dental hygiene is foreign to many people. Oil pulling, though, has lots of benefits. It freshens the breath, helps remove stuff food and plaque, and removes bacteria from the tongue. You can do oil pulling with a couple of different oils but coconut oil is an ideal option. You can oil pull every day for up to 15 or 20 minutes, although this will take some practice. Treat oil pulling like a mouthwash. Do not swallow the oil after pulling as it contains bacteria!
If you’re a coffee/tea/wine drinker, a smoker, or otherwise want a whiter smile, there are some natural options. First off, if you do have some staining, they may very well disappear once you’ve started a regular natural regimen. Many ingredients in the toothpastes listed above have whitening ingredients (like baking soda). Oil pulling with coconut oil also whitens the teeth by lifting stains. For more ideas on natural whitening, check out this link.
Another method of whitening that sounds like it would achieve the opposite affect is brushing with turmeric. This golden spice can make a real mess but actually is very effective at lifting stains, although it looks terrible during the process. I’ve tried this myself with excellent results. If you use turmeric, DON’T use your regular toothbrush as it will permanently stain it yellow. Rather, use a soft toothbrush from the dollar store.
Additionally, always use a soft bristle toothbrush. The actual toothbrush brand you use doesn’t matter much. If you prefer a regular plain toothbrush, that’s fine. If you enjoy using the newest electric toothbrush, that’s fine, too. Another important item is a tongue scraper.
A tongue scraper is a cheap, simple tooth that really isn’t utilized enough. Our tongues contain a lot of bacteria and even brushing with a toothbrush often isn’t enough to get it off. In fact, a study done by Brazil’s San Paulo University showed that a basic tongue scraper removed 75 percent of the VSCs (volatile sulfur compounds — the nasty stuff that causes bad breath) while a toothbrush alone removed a measly 45 percent.
It might take a while to get used to a natural tooth care regimen but the change is well worth the effort. If you currently suffer from dental problems, it is still recommended to visit your dentist to get these issues addressed. Also, if you haven’t looked into a diet change, please do. A heathy smile is more than attractive white teeth, but also is a sign of a healthy body.
Do you use an all-natural teeth regimen? Share your tips in the section below:
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