If you’re like me, you probably have never thought flossing to be of much importance. I know that for the majority of my life I have DEFINITELY never been a big flosser, but I have also, very luckily, never had a cavity. I remember as a child always having gums that easily bled, that were sensitive to the touch, itched, were red and inflamed, but hey no cavities! My oral health must have been excellent, right? Yeah, no. If I could go back and tell little me as a child how important true dental care is to overall health, I would.
I can’t explain any of this better than Carol Vander Stoep, a dental hygienist who wrote the book Mouth Matters, but I am attempting to get the basic, most important info from that book into this page. Because this is the info that changed my entire perspective on oral care.
Everyone knows that plaque is the white gunky stuff on the bottom of your teeth. Well it’s a lot grosser than that. When looked at under a microscope, this white mass is actually a BIOFILM. All kinds of different species of bacteria in the mouth come together to form a sort of symbiotic colony, and the white stuff that you see is slime that the colony produces to help adhere to the teeth. And if I’ve learned anything from watching hours of Dr. Klinghardt’s lectures, I’ve learned that biofilms are tricky little things because antibiotics and the body’s immune systems cannot penetrate them.
So here we are, just now learning that plaque is basically a visible bacteria nest sitting right in your mouth. But is it really that harmful?
Gum Disease/ Inflammation
These biofilms of bad bacteria are what cause infection, and thus inflammation of the gums. Through my healing journey I have definitely tried nearly everything to lower my levels of chronic inflammation in my body: low sugar diet, no alcohol or caffeine, no artificial anything in my diet etc., which are all important, but it NEVER crossed my mind that gum disease/irration is another huge source of inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation, as most of you know by now, is just plain taxing on the immune system, adrenals, thyroid, and on health in general. (A quick google search can give more insight into the problems with chronic inflammation.)
Not even to mention that with these bacterial colonies thriving in your mouth, not only are you are constantly swallowing these nasties, possibly making it into your digestive tract where they could colonize,,,, but they are damaging the blood vessel walls of the gums, thus allowing the bacteria, themselves, and the toxins they create to slide right into the bloodstream and travel to areas far further in the body than what you would think. (Think areas like the brain, carotid artery, the gut, and heart. Bacteria from gum disease can even colonize joint replacement parts and patients are advised to clear up active gum disease before receiving a joint replacement!)
Certain bacteria commonly found under the gums have been also seen in cancer tumors, atherosclerotic plaques, and even in brain abscesses. Spirochetes also love the environment of the human mouth, and a certain spirochete bacteria that is typically seen in the mouth is now being found in the blood and brains of Alzheimers patients.
There are also serious links between gum disease, heart disease, and diabetes. Gum disease actually increases glucose intolerance! It was much easier for Stoep’s patients to have control of their blood sugar levels when their gums were healthy. And gum disease increased glucose intolerance even in non-diabetics  !
What Can We Do About It?
After writing all of that serious and concerning info, I am excited to write about the solutions and things that will help your overall dental health.
- Find a good holistic dentist. Ozone therapy can be useful to help sterilize the bacteria filled pockets which can form at the base of your teeth, and ozone is not used by all dentists. What they do is place a tray over your teeth and fill it with ozone for a certain amount of time to sterilize they area. They may also physically go into the pockets to clear out bacteria further. Gum disease can be improved by at home practices, but should be helped along by a professional, especially for more severe cases. A holistic dentist is more preferable to a conventional dentist because they will most likely be more open to seeing your gum and dental health as a part of your general bodily health, and will have more safe and effective practices. (No drills!)
- Get out your floss. It is incredibly important to break up biofilms surrounding the teeth at least every 24 hours. Breaking up the biofilms allows the body’s defenses to gain progress on healing the gums and restoring health. Any floss is fine, but make sure you are able to get in between each tooth and back behind the last molar. Slide or gently scissor/saw the floss in between your teeth at an angle. Don’t just pop it in from the top, as popping the floss in is more likely to damage the gums and cause bleeding.
- The best way to brush. Make sure you are using a soft or very soft bristled brush for this. I like to do this with the brush a little wet, but you don’t need to have the brush wet, or even be at the sink for that matter. The idea is to place the toothbrush flat on the top of the chewing area of the teeth, then rotate the brush sideways so that the bristles splay up against the side of the tooth and the tip of the bristles reach the gums. Then gently vibrate the brush to really break up any biofilms located at the base of the teeth. Do this for all of your teeth, tilting the brush on both their front and back sides.
- Get some Xylitol and Essential Oils. Xylitol is notoriously good for breaking up biofilms and killing bad bacteria. You can find Xylitol in sinus sprays, mouth washes, toothpastes, and eating Xylitol can even help with UTI’s! I like to use about a 1/2 to 1 tsp of Xylitol in maybe 1 oz or 2 oz of purified water. Swish that around BEFORE you brush or floss to really help out with breaking up the biofilms. After that, I will brush using the method in number 3 above, floss thoroughly, then rinse with water with a few drops of an antimicrobial essential oil like OnGuard blend from doTerra (clove, orange, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils). I’ve even used lavender and rosemary essential oils, but I greatly prefer the taste of the OnGaurd blend. (Please make sure you use quality essential oils, not the stuff from whole foods or other cheap brands which can contain chemicals and other not so good stuff). Clove is one of the best oils for oral health. After that my mouth feels very fresh and clean!
- Get rid of your fluoride toothpaste. Carol Stoep recommended using pure baking soda to brush with, but I use Tom’s flouride free toothpaste and I feel that works fine with me. I like to brush in the morning once a day with this toothpaste because it helps my teeth mouth just feel cleaner and fresher, then I will do the other steps I listed above at nighttime.
- Clean the tongue. I now make sure to brush my tongue thoroughly to get rid of the huge amount of bacteria that can reside on the tongue. The bacteria that likes to live there creates VOC’s that cause bad breathe. Make sure to get to the way back of the tongue.
- Low sugar is the best way to keep up dental health. It is very hard to get cavities when you don’t eat sugar. Sugar is brutal on the immune system, 2 tsp of sugar can leave your immune system down for hours! The sugar doesn’t even need to touch your teeth to allow the gum disease causing bacteria to flourish. But also Note: I was on a VERY low sugar diet for about a year and the gum inflammation I had/have still didn’t clear up on its own, so giving your immune system some help with cleaning up your mouth is still very crucial.
How Does this All Fit Into My Health Journey?
Okay, so at the risk of TMI, this is my recent stool analysis and parasitologisy test that I am so grateful to have gotten done with my osteopath/MD. Long story short, after spending two VERY long years trying every healing modality/supplement known to man, everything that I’ve learned has led me to the point of realizing how important dental care is (including Cavitations which I will post about later). The majority of the scary sounding bacteria in the yellow column are “unusual” (Dr’s words) because they are bacteria typically only found in the mouth. (Notice the No Growth in the bifidobacteria and low number of Lactobacillus in the green column- I was on SERIOUS PRESCRIPTION probiotics for 8 months before this test). These dental bacteria seem to have colonized in my GUT!!! And have kicked out the good guys that I need in my gut to properly digest food. To be fair, I am not yet 100% sure if the bacteria are from my currently inflamed gums, or the jaw cavitation that I am set to have surgery on soon. But either way, you best believe that I am set on cleaning up my oral health.
My teeth were always pretty yellow no matter how often I brushed, and the tips of my teeth were a little see through. They weren’t the kind of bright white, solid, chiclet teeth that you see with celebrities. I was on various high quality supplements before, and the health of my teeth did improve, but when I was off of those supplements the yellowness and weakness slowly returned. I have only just started with the cleaning practices mentioned above and I am already seeing improvement in my gums and teeth! They actually are starting to look strong and white, and my gums less red. At this point in time, I am set to see a holistic dentist to see what he says about the bacteria in my stool test, and the condition of my gums. I have only had a proper cleaning once in my life, so I will see how that goes.
I have every intention to create healthy and beautiful conditions for my teeth and gums and therefor my entire body, and it is so. <–(A little positivity is always beneficial – stay tuned for a post on law of attraction and positive affirmations! 😉 )
Thanks for reading and best health to you, xoxo
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