The weather is miserably cold in Calgary, so my girls and I made tooth powder the other day as a fun little project.
Toothpastes, even the “natural” brands, contain a lot of ingredients that are counterproductive to gum health and general oral well-being.
As mentioned in my Preconception Primer a few posts back, the possible connection between dental health and fertility applies to both men and women. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can contribute to pH changes resulting in a decline in oral health associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm labor, and having low birth weight baby. I tell my own story about dental troubles and how I could not even conceive here.
Tooth decay happens when pathogenic mouth bacteria such a candida albicans eat sugar left on the surface of the tooth and convert it to acid. The acid can then slowly eat away at the alkaline tooth enamel. Once the pH of the mouth is returned to a healthy, alkaline status, the mineral ions that are naturally in our saliva help rebuild the damaged tooth enamel. Both the baking soda and xylitol of this formula are very alkaline and calcium-rich bentonite clay may help with remineralization. The addition of some yarrow tincture I had made a while back was an afterthought. Yarrow is an amazing choice for oral hygiene though because it is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic/anti-microbial, and astringent (meaning that it causes tightening of body tissues). It is both styptic (stops bleeding), and has the ability to support healthy blood circulation. What's not to love?
Natural Tooth Powder
4 tbsp. baking soda 3 tbsp. bentonite clay 2 tbsp. granulated xylitol 6 drops food-grade peppermint oil
30 drops of yarrow tincture
Whisk well in a small bowl and transfer to a jar. When you're ready to use it, just dip your moistened toothbrush in and begin brushing. (Makes about 1/2 a cup)
It was also fun to make and what I love best is that there's nothing toxic here if any little person happens to swallow some. Baking soda is definitely an acquired taste, but the trade off is so worth it. Even after just a few days of using this tooth powder, I don't think I can go back to my natural toothpaste. My teeth feel so clean and I don't wake up with a bad taste in my mouth.
My Favorite Toothbrush
I've had many toothbrushes over the years, including a very expensive electric toothbrush, but I have found one much less expensive option that does a fantastic job. It's called Dr. Tung's Ionic Toothbrush. The premise behind this toothbrush is that plaque comes off, not because of the brute force of pressure from the toothbrush, but from the plaque molecules becoming attracted to the negatively polarized bristles of the toothbrush. It sounds complicated and I won't pretend to understand it. I just know know that this is my forever toothbrush and it works.
If you really want to take it to the next level, you could try tongue scraping which is an Ayurvedic practice of quickly removing toxins (also known as "ama" or that which is not being digested, including physically, mentally and emotionally) that, in this case, leads to an overgrowth of bacteria and bad breath. The tongue is an elimination channel in the sense that it deposits these undigested materials in our mouth as we sleep to help clear out our body. Due to the tongue having deep pockets in a warm, moist environment, it is a bacterial breeding ground. When we leave the material on our tongue, it's thought that we swallow some of it with our first sip of water for the day. There are several different metals you can use for tongue scraping and each one is recommended for the different doshic properties. Mine is made out of copper and is recommended for a pitta dominant dosha. Here is the breakdown with the said attributes of each, but whatever you choose is going to be better than not tongue scraping at all:
Gold (gold plated is fine) = Tridoshic Rejuvenates eyes, heart, memory Silver (plated is fine) = vata + pitta strengthens all 7 tissues, antiaging
Copper = pitta + kapha heals ulcers + skin disorders
Brass = pitta + kapha eyesight
Tin = kapha weight reduction, eyesight
I personally don't oil pull on a regular basis (I just haven't made it part of my daily routine yet), but there is evidence to suggest that it's just as effective at reducing microorganisms, plaque and plaque-induced gingivitis as a chlorhexidine mouthwash (also not a habit of mine). So if you're trying to convert to a more natural oral care regimen and you find that you're missing your chemical laden mouthwash, this could be it's replacement. Using sesame oil has the added benefit of strengthening your gums, your voice and the muscles in your face, so it's also a bit of a beauty treatment. You will want to use organic, cold-pressed sesame oil that is less than a year old to avoid rancidity and you want to do this on an empty stomach. Using 1-2 tablespoons, actively swish the oil about in your mouth until the oil becomes frothy and lighter in color. One to three minutes is enough unlike many recommendations to swish for twenty minutes which is just not realistic and, therefore makes it difficult to commit to daily. Be sure to spit the oil out as it's now said to contain the toxins and germs you have just removed from your mouth.
May you be blessed with a healthy, sparkly smile and let me know if you try any of these suggestions or already happen to incorporate some of them into your daily routine!