Maintaining good oral health is dependent, among other things, on vitamins and minerals; not just for your body in general, but for a healthy mouth as well. Just like your body needs specific nutrients and vitamins, your teeth and gums require specific ones as well to help encourage mineral-rich saliva to protect and strengthen your teeth.
Vitamin A will help keep saliva flowing and support healthy mucous membranes and help prevent bacteria. Vitamin B for preventing mouth sores and inflammation. Vitamin C will help strengthen the connective tissues of your gums. Vitamin D helps deposit calcium in the bones, creating mineral density and support strong teeth. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps reduce inflammation in the mouth. Vitamin K helps with gum bleeding, and supports bone strength.
Include Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, and Zinc.
Brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily between the teeth to remove dental plaque is a must. Visit your dentist at least once a year, even if you have no natural teeth or have dentures.
Making our own mouth rinse with herbs in a strong infusion (tea) is helpful. Herbs with anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antiseptic properties should be included. Some of these include Calendula, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Echinacea, Fennel, Gotu kola, Licorice, Myrrh, Peppermint, Thyme, and Turmeric. You can make a herbal infusion (tea) including at least three different herbs, and use as a daily rinse. Use a total of 2 -3 teaspoons herbs per every 12 ounces of filtered water to make your infused herbal mouthwash. Adding a teaspoon of baking soda per 12 ounces of herbal infusion will help alkalize your mouth while giving more anti-bacteria benefits. Use approximately 1-2 ounces per rinse, and DO NOT SWALLOW. When finished swishing, spit the rinse out. If you make a pint or quart of tea, store it in a glass jar, and refrigerate between uses. It will only keep fresh in in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Don’t be shy about asking your dentist to show you how to properly brush your teeth. It makes a difference when you actually brush for two minutes, at least twice a day, and that you brush in small circular motions downward away from the gums. Bacteria is also present on your tongue and cheeks, so include those in your brushing regiment.
Avoid commercial toothpastes with harmful ingredients including dyes, artificial sweeteners, fluoride, foaming ingredients, and other chemicals. Use an organic tooth powder or make your own. And do remember to floss, using a non-petroleum based, unwaxed floss.
Oral Pulling Oil
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique to help keep your teeth, gums and overall mouth healthy. The idea is to pull bacteria into the oil, swishing the oil in the mouth for 10-20 minutes (20 ultimately), then discarding the oil in the trash (not the sink, as the oil is not a good thing to out into your drain pipes).
Some use coconut oil alone, or mix it with sesame or other oils which also helps keep the coconut oil from hardening.
Coconut oil contains Vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant. It also has lauric acid and monolaurin, which gives coconut oil its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Since some people are allergic to coconut oil and can get a skin reaction, it is a good idea to put some inside your elbow or on the back of the knee and make sure you don’t have a contact dermatitis with it before using it in your mouth. If you cook with, or eat coconut and know you can tolerate it, then no worries. Coconut oil also contains A,D,E and K.
We like to combine Sesame oil with Coconut oil. A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research compared mouthwash to swishing with sesame oil found the sesame oil reduced plaque, modified gingival scores, and lowered microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.
In the beginning, you may only be able to swish it for 5-10 minutes, as your saliva will increase and it takes some time to get used to. Work up to 15-20 minutes if you can. I put about 1 Tablespoon in my mouth before I get into the shower, and I know I have 10 minutes or so in there, and I hold it in for another 5-10 upon departing from the shower. DO NOT SWALLOW the oil after swishing. You’d just be swallowing all of the bacteria you are trying to eliminate. Rinse your mouth with water, and follow with a good teeth brushing. For best oral health, follow with a tongue scraping, and rinse well. (Tongue scraping reduces bad breath as it removes bacteria from the tongue. Use a stainless steel scraper available online, and start from the back of the tongue working forward. Discard the material after you scrape, and repeat once more.)
Use your pulling oil at least 4 times a week, in the morning before meals.
At Herbal Med Rx we use organic Sesame, Coconut, and Black Cumin seed oil, blended with herbs and essential oils.