According to the Journal of Bacteriology, the mouth contains over 600 groups of organisms that continually affect our gums, teeth, tongue, cheeks, as well as the health of the rest of the body.
It's imperative to take care of what is called the oral microbiome (collective genetic material of all the bugs, both good and bad, in your mouth) and make sure those bacteria are working for you instead of against you. This can have a profoundly positive effect on not only your oral health but the health of your whole body.
Here are our top 5 ways to love and balance your oral microbiome.
1: Oil Pulling
This is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique from India that involves pulling a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action is known to draw out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health
Our favorites are tee tree oil, eucalyptus, and lavender because they are known to soothe the gums and challenge the “bad guys”. Clove oil can also be used for mouth pain.
If you don’t want to mess with a bunch of individual essential oils, check out OraWellness. They have an incredible Healthy Mouth Blend I like to keep stocked.
Also, always use a tongue scraper before oil pulling to clean bacteria from the tongue first. This is much more effective than just brushing your tongue.
2: Use a Waterpik
Using a waterpik at least twice weekly (especially for inflamed gums or gums that bleed with flossing) will contribute greatly to removing bad bacteria that causes gingivitis from the gum line in a way that brushing and flossing cannot do.
The most effective technique is to spray gums in between each of your teeth for approximately 5 seconds per tooth.
3: Recolonize Your Mouth
It’s not all about killing the bad guys when it comes to good oral health. We need the good bacteria to colonize and stay in the mouth so they can protect us against foreign invaders when they try to enter.
Use a probiotic rinse (make your own with 1 capsule of probiotics opened into room temp water and swish for 30-60 seconds) or eat fermented foods at least once daily, and chew them slowly and very well.
4: Salt Water Gargle
One of the many magical uses of good quality salt is the reduction of gum inflammation and bacteria in the mouth.
As Dr. Mercola states:
“Our American forefathers cured meat by soaking it in brine and hanging it up to dry. The primary function of the brine was to kill bacteria. Millions of people have helped to cure oral abscesses, gum boils, etc., by just rinsing several times a day with warm salt water. The warm water along with the salt helps to pull “fluid” out of the gum tissue, therefore reducing swelling, alleviating pain, and killing harmful bacteria.”
Other things you can do to reduce gum inflammation are:
1: Use aloe vera gel to soothe gum inflammation and help with gum recession by rubbing it along the gum line of all teeth before you go to sleep at night or even using it in a nighttime tray.
2: Quit coffee and opt for green tea instead. Green tea contains catechins, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant known to soothe the gums. When you sip it, swish and swirl it around your mouth and teeth.
3: Consider Supplementing
Note: you must get to the root cause of the recession, and if it is because of a bacterial or protozoa infection, you must address that first or concurrently to heal from the root cause.
Brush your teeth lightly (it helps to use only two fingers to hold your toothbrush) and use a soft toothbrush, don’t floss too hard, and hug the tooth when you floss versus jamming the floss into the gums.
5: Mind your whitening toothpaste and whiten teeth naturally instead
Skip the enamel damaging chemical white strips and opt for more natural methods of teeth whitening (although your oil pulling should really do the trick!)
You can use half hydrogen peroxide and half water to gargle for a few weeks to get a whitening effect OR even more natural try the Strawberry Teeth Whitener from our friend Katie, the Wellness Mama.
She uses a mixture of half pureed organic strawberries and half baking soda and puts it in a mouth guard or tooth tray, left on the teeth for 30 minutes.
P.S. For those of you who have had or are considering a root canal, I highly suggest you read the book Root Canal Cover Up, but we'll save that topic for a future blog.