The health of our teeth and gums can greatly affect our overall health. We are a holistic entity; everything is connected.
When I was a kid, I had the first “modern” braces. Not the little glue on kind the kids get today in fun, bright colors. No, I had the silver metal bands that were cemented around my teeth, with metal attachments on the front that cut the inside of my mouth.
I heard horror stories of kids who drank pop and their teeth were rotted in half when they removed the braces! I never drank pop or ate caramels while I had my braces on . . . the scary stories worked for me!
To this day, I eat very few sweets, never drink soda, brush and floss my teeth regularly, and have started Oil Pulling on a regular basis to keep my teeth white. Following is information and suggestions on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Sugar and Our Teeth
We’ve all heard this before, but here is a reminder list of things we can do to keep our pearly whites healthy.
Brush your teeth twice a day!.
- Some foods cling to our teeth, providing food supply for the bacteria.
- Brushing removes the food and bacteria that cling to teeth and cause tooth decay.
- Acid-producing bacteria feed on the carbohydrates and sugar in our food.
- Acid from the bacteria causes tooth decay.
Rinse your mouth with water after eating if you cannot brush.
- Water can help remove the bacteria and sugar from food.
Avoid putting babies to bed sipping on milk or juice.
- The bacteria from the liquid eat away at tooth enamel.
Flossing our teeth will help remove bacteria and food from between our teeth as well as keep our gums healthy and happy. According to How Stuff Works,
Flossing removes bacteria
- Bacteria get caught between our teeth.
- Brushing alone will not remove the bacteria.
- Bacteria cause tooth decay.
- Bacteria cause bad breath.
- Flossing helps our immune system.
- Bacteria in our mouths can migrate to other parts of our bodies, causing inflammation and infection.
- Inflammation in our mouths can contribute to strokes (inflammation in blood vessels) and arthritis (inflammation in our joints).
- Excess bacteria in the blood stream can affect our general health and can be linked to other diseases.
Electric or Regular Toothbrush
About 10 years ago, at my 6-month dental visit, I had a bit of inflammation around my gums. My hygienist said that an electric toothbrush might help. We also discussed flossing, which I practice daily.
I have always brushed my teeth at least 2 to 3 times a day, but I was using a standard toothbrush. I wanted to see if the electric toothbrush would make a difference.
The First 6 Months
- I used the electric toothbrush, and
- flossed every once in a while.
- At my next checkup, I still had inflammation around my gums.
The Second 6 Months
- I used the electric toothbrush, and
- flossed every day.
At my next checkup, all inflammation was gone.
- I have had perfect checkups ever since.
- I also visit my dentist every 6 months.
An electric toothbrush has a timer set for about 2 minutes of brushing. Two minutes is the recommended time for brushing to remove bacteria and plaque.
The best plan of action to keep your teeth and your gums happy and healthy is to
- use an electric toothbrush and floss every day.
- brush 2 to 3 times a day: first thing in the morning and before bed, for sure.
- wait about 30 minutes after eating acidic foods to brush your teeth.
- some foods may cause your enamel to become soft.
- your teeth need time to readjust after eating.
- if you cannot brush, rinse your mouth with water to remove bacteria.
- floss every morning.
- It is best to floss in the morning to get rid of overnight bacteria buildup.
When we understand the importance of keeping our teeth and gums healthy, it can be the first step toward a healthy lifestyle.
Coconut Oil as a Whitener and Mouthwash
We have all heard about the benefits of Coconut oil in our diets from helping us lose weight to fighting disease. But did you know there is significant scientific evidence that as a mouthwash it can fight bacteria and fungi and keep our teeth white.
- Lauric acid makes up about 50% of coconut oil.
- Our bodies break down lauric acid into monolaurin.
- Lauric acid and monolaurin kill bacteria, fungi and viruses in the body. .
- Bacteria, fungi and viruses can cause bad breath and infection.
Oil pulling is an ancient Indian folk tradition, used as an anti-bacterial mouthwash and whitener.
For years, I used the white strips and whitening trays, but many burned and irritated my gums. Of course, I used them anyway! Oh, the price we pay to look good!
Then I heard about Oil Pulling. Today, I practice Oil Pulling with organic coconut oil and my teeth are just as white . . . and no pain! I’ve been using the coconut oil for a couple of years, and even my hygienist says that my teeth look very white! Here is the process.
- Put a teaspoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth.
- If it is solid, let it melt in your mouth . . . it only takes a couple of seconds.
- When the oil is liquid, swish it in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, pulling it back and forth through your teeth.
- Spit the oil into the trash or the toilet as the oil can clogs pipes.
I must admit that 15 to 20 minutes seems like a long time. I usually pull for about 5 minutes and longer when I have more time.