Sometimes brushing twice a day and flossing every night just isn’t enough. Here, a holistic dentist explains why pulling oil, staying moist, and eating crispy foods can all help improve your oral hygiene for a whiter, brighter smile.
Ever gone to bed without brushing your teeth? Me too – safe space, don’t worry. Rarely floss? Equal. Sometimes we need a reminder to get started again – especially when it comes to oral hygiene. Spending time and money on teeth whitening kits at home doesn’t count, by the way.
Fortunately, the holistic dentist Dr. Lewis Ehrlich of the Sydney Holistic Dental Center here to explain the benefits of a tooth detox, decipher whether it’s still better than sparkle, and explain why certain structured foods are good for our teeth.
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Q: What is a “tooth detox” and how does it work?
ON: Every time we pick up our floss and a toothbrush with toothpaste, we technically perform a “tooth detox”. When it comes to brushing, it should be done for two minutes in the morning and before going to sleep using the correct technique. Dental floss should be done every night.
Our eating habits also play a role. When we eat all day, we are feeding bacteria that can be “good” or “bad” for us depending on what we have eaten. Making sure we avoid refined, processed, and high-sugar foods and beverages can help maintain a healthy mouth and oral microbiome. Instead of these foods, natural foods high in vitamins A, D, E, and K, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids should be used.
When we think long-term, we tend to be creatures of habit. We brush the same way over and over and we miss stains. This can cause plaque to build up and become inflamed. A thorough cleaning usually twice a year to make sure our teeth and gums are in good condition. Professional cleaning may be required more often if someone has gum disease.
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Q: What are the physical signs that you may need a tooth detox?
ON: Signs that your mouth may need a tooth detox include red, inflamed, bleeding, and receding gums. an accumulation of stains from tea, coffee, and red wine; Worn teeth from clenching and / or grinding; Headache and neck pain that can be caused by grinding your teeth; Sleep apnea or snoring; bad breath; and painful or sensitive teeth.
It should be noted, however, that the absence of pain should not be the barometer of oral health. Most dental problems, including oral cancer, gum disease, dental infections, and tooth decay, usually don’t cause pain, and so you may not even know they are there. So it is better to be proactive than reactive.
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Q: Why is floss so important?
ON: It is always important to brush with impeccable technique to make sure no stains are missing. Flossing goes into areas the brush can’t and will help reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. By minimizing your risk of gum disease, you are helping to minimize your risk of developing diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more systemic diseases.
Q: Does oil pull everything it has to offer?
ON: In recent rigorous studies, it has been shown to help minimize gum inflammation. To draw the oil, take a teaspoon of coconut oil and swirl it around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure you don’t swallow it. I would consider adding it daily to help maintain gum health and minimize inflammation.
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Q: Sparkling or still water – which is best for oral health?
ON: Aside from brushing and flossing, we should never underestimate the importance of hydration for a healthy, clean mouth. Still water is the best drink for oral health. It minimizes our risk of tooth decay and gum disease and helps to buffer acids that are formed after eating and drinking. Sipping on water all day is a highly recommended addition to flossing.
Q: What are the best foods for oral health?
ON: Likewise, I would aim to eat crispy, healthy foods to stimulate saliva. Snacks like celery sticks and carrots are natural, low in sugar, and since we have to work hard to break them down in the mouth, we increase our saliva flow, which is important in fighting tooth decay and has a rinsing effect in the mouth.
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