You Want Me To Put WHAT In My Mouth?
People are surprised that I do not, as a health coach, focus on criticizing their dietary or health care habits. I personally don’t tend to respond well to criticism. Being critical never works very well for changing behavior, and when people come to me, that’s typically what they want to do- change their behavior.
This post is about dental health, something I have been reading a lot about lately, but which has interested me for some time. If you haven’t thought much about alternatives in this arena, I hope I can get you thinking.When expecting my 5th child, I developed a tooth ache. It was BAD. I called my dentist’s office; but when they found out I was pregnant, they would not see me. I was told that no dentist would see a pregnant lady because of potential harm to the baby from the x-rays and chemicals used in the office.
The pain came and went and came back. By the time Renee was a few weeks old and I went to the dentist, he referred me to an oral surgeon, so nasty was my infection. After that, I was diligent about my oral hygiene. I was taught that my gum health was of utmost importance, and that I needed regular cleanings.
I should have known that keeping my teeth clean was important, except that a dentist had actually told me that it did not matter that much. A few years earlier, a young dentist had told me that whatever I was doing, I should “keep it up” because it was working. When I divulged that I did not floss, and often failed even to brush, he said that was okay. It was not. I should also mention that I ended up with several mercury-containing fillings, which is also not okay. There’s so much info about the ill effects of these fillings that I will leave it to you to do your own internet search.
My teeth are not perfect, but they are in much better shape than 16 years ago when my daughter was born. I have a routine that seems to be working. The last few times I’ve gone in for a cleaning, there wasn’t much for the hygienist to do. So, I wanted to tell you about a few things I’ve been learning, and what I do for my mouth.
This is not a post about how bad fluoride is, but here’s an article you can look at if you’re wondering (click here). My husband and the one daughter left at home have not adopted my routine; they think it’s yukky. They have gladly agreed to use natural, fluoride-free toothpaste with baking soda, and that’s not a bad thing. I brush with baking soda. At first, I did not like the taste. I came to enjoy it so much that I feel silly about it. I usually floss, and after that, I often rub my gums with tea tree oil. If any area needs a little more cleaning, I have a little metal dental tool that I can use to scrape off the rest, especially near the gum line.
After I drink coffee or tea, or if I eat chocolate, or sometimes if my teeth are just annnoyingly full of crumbs, I will swish my mouth out with water. I’ve read that tooth enamel is weakened after eating, and brushing should happen after 10 or 15 minutes, so I wait a bit to brush. But why baking soda? First, it neutralizes acidity (which leads to decay) in the mouth. Second, it’s a mild abrasive that can really clean. Tea tree oil is anti-bacterial and has all sort of good properties. Here’s a little article about that (click here). The other advantage of my method is that is costs nearly nothing! The $7 bottle of tea tree oil I bought 2 years ago still has a bit left, and baking soda is pennies a box.
One more thing I want to mention is a technique I’ve been seeing quite a bit about lately, even though it is reportedly ancient. It is called “oil pulling.” Here is a nice, not-too-long article about oil pulling, complete with instructions (click here). I have not yet tried it, but I probably will.
Finally, you’ve heard that sugar is bad for teeth, and that is true. On the other hand, eating lots of nutritious foods, like the ones I’m always talking about, is great for your teeth and mouth. I hope your teeth last you for a very long time and you are able to use them to eat lots of delicious foods!