In this article you will learn:
How to ensure optimal oral health regardless of your current situation
Where to get holistic, quality products that work
Some less-known aspects to oral care that are super important!
Lazy Reader's Section:
Mindful brushing and flossing, a remineralization routine that involves natural products and supplements, alongside a healthful diet and specific tools (like a tongue cleaner) all come together to prevent tooth decay and disease. All of these bases have to be covered, and my go to source for holistic dental health is Orawellness.
Lazy Author Alert:
This is a guide on basic principles, habits and products for optimal oral health. Everything here is based on extensive research, but this guide summarizes information rather than citing that research. If you want those details, read my book Dance Your Way Through Life: A No Bullshit Guide to Hacking Your Body, Mind & Soul for Success and refer to the chapter on oral health.
It took me thousands of dollars and literally dozens of cavities to learn the simple things I'm going to share with you in this article, but today the teeth I do have left (thank goodness) are in great shape from these habits and the same can go for you regardless of your current situation.
Oral health is critical for the rest of your body. Your teeth are connected to the meridian system and also directly to the blood supply. This means that infection, inflammation or any other problem (like chemicals from implants or products you use) can all impact the health and status of your body as a whole. Bacteria that colonize your mouth can also affect other areas of your body if they grow out of control, and (so far) we don't have a way to grow teeth back.
All of these things together make teeth and oral care an extra priority for your biohacking routine and a place where you have to create much more discipline.
Taking proper care of your teeth is fairly inexpensive, but unfortunately most people don't know how to do that and this ends up being one of the costliest areas of health to intervene. Especially if you have a holistic dentist (which insurance doesn't cover), you are going to be in for a financial adventure as you realign your bite, get implants or holistic cleanings (like with lasers or ozone) and many other useful services.
The best prevention is a great routine, and in this article you're going to learn everything there is to be an oral care Superstar:
1. Try to rinse your mouth out after you eat. Tap water is great (if you trust the source) because it has minerals and is usually more alkaline, or you can use alkaline water. Eating naturally creates acidity and abrasion, and flakes of food serve as fuel for the bugs in your mouth. After you're done eating, make it a practice to rinse out to help your mouth restore alkaline pH and remove the ammunition for the bad bugs. Most bad bacteria thrive in an acidic environment of 5.5-7 pH, so if you can consistently keep your mouth neutral to alkaline, it will make it near impossible to develop cavities. Chemistry is neat, huh?
2. Listen to your body and take notice of the level of saliva you have on a daily basis. Stay hydrated, and if that doesn’t do the trick investigate the problem further to see if you have any structural issues with your saliva ducts to be sure. If you still have dry mouth, screen yourself for thyroid levels as this can be an early warning sign of an imbalance. Try to find alternatives to the medications you’re taking if they create a dry mouth. If you have Sjorgen’s syndrome or have had your saliva glands removed, chew xylitol gum, swish your mouth out often and employ every other action item in this list as religiously as you can. Saliva has many beneficial components for fighting bacteria and remineralizing your teeth, and one of the biggest contributors to oral degeneration is poor quality (or lackthereof) of saliva.
Listening to your body here may also include regularly checking your teeth and gums with your tongue for any abnormalities. Pay attention to what foods give you sensitivity, pay attention to how your teeth feel (if they're slimy, gritty or if they're smooth) and notice if your gums are hurting or inflamed. All of these things boil down to paying better attention, which in and of itself is a preventative measure.
3. Brush gently, mindfully and using a Bass toothbrush. Treat brushing your teeth as a time of mindfulness and connecting to your body. Learn to do it skillfully, like polishing amazing crystalline sculptures (that's what your teeth are, btw) and remember that excess pressure or vibration (like from automated brushes) can wear away your gums over time. Bass toothbrushes are some of the best, cheapest options and they train you to be sensitive. Also, wait to brush about 20 minutes after you eat and never immediately after an acidic meal, throwing up or anything that affects your enamel temporarily as this will cause more damage.
4. Use a tooth remineralization powder after your brush to help your teeth stay strong and white naturally. Exogenous (from the outside) remineralization via natural powders is a less-known but invaluable tool for solving the tooth sensitivity problem from a holistic perspective. Many contemporary whitening products cause tooth sensitivity, and many sensitivity tooth pastes are super high in fluoride, which is a bad idea longterm for many reasons. My favorite product is the Orawellness "Shine" powder, and I use it once to twice per day. It's completely natural, and both whitens and makes your teeth stronger without any fluoride or other crap.
5. Floss once or twice a day either with conventional floss or a water flosser. Do it mindfully and avoid high pressure on your water flosser or forcefully hitting your gums with regular floss. Avoid floss picks unless you want to use a few to make a deadly ninja star you can throw at people. Seriously, these are useless. Flossing is all about sensitivity and mindfulness, so opt for either a high quality floss or a water flosser. There are innovations in water flossers every year, although remember that many of them come with high EMFs (I tested WaterPik and a generic brand and it had over 45mG), so that may be an issue for you since you are holding it close to your head. If you want a long-lasting, durable and eco friendly option, check out Orawellness' Gentle Floss.
6. Use a tongue cleaner like this one from Orawellness and clean your tongue twice a day. Work on your gag reflex because that’s where the good stuff is and continually try to get as much as possible every time. I find that it takes me a good 5-6 passes every time to get the accumulated gunk out. Those thug bugs are quick! Why this is important: the (literal) giant colony of bacteria on the back of your tongue changes the pH of your mouth to being more acidic, and can also impact digestion (as you swallow bacteria into your body that's not supposed to be there), so overall the tongue is one of the most important aspects to maintaining stellar oral health. It's easy, a little disgusting, but super cheap. Get a tongue cleaner.
7. Make sure you eat a healthful diet. This means limit your intake of sugar, high carbohydrates, dairy, wheat, alcohol and highly acidic foods (like kombucha) because all of these deteriorate your mineral reserves and also the enamel of your teeth. Make sure you do not snack frequently because all of these feed bad bacteria in your mouth. If you do snack, rinse your mouth out and also evaluate why you are snacking to begin with. Eating plenty of fat and protein (high quality, of course) with each of your meals should prevent any desire to snack in between. If you do snack, opt for low-sugar options like an avocado or some raw, organic nuts.
8. Maintain adequate levels of minerals and nutrients in your body. Bone building nutrients are calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamins D, A and K, and they are all needed to keep your teeth at their best. I cover these in greater detail in this post.
9. For an extra edge, utilize red light therapy once or twice per day. I use the DPL Oral Care device by Revive Light Therapy as an inexpensive option to provide the beneficial therapeutic frequencies of red and near infrared, as well as antibacterial blue light directly to my gums and teeth. It is affordable and does not emit harmful levels of EMFs. After using it for the first time, my gum pockets reduced by two or even three millimeters in just 6 months. It works.
IMPORTANT: If you commit to using such a device, make sure to use an oral probiotic right afterward to replenish good bacteria in your mouth. Blue light kills bacteria, even the good kind, and this means that you may create an imbalance in your oral flora by using these devices without a probiotic. I am currently using this one by Life Extension as it utilizes the most researched strains.
10. Maintain a neutral to alkaline oral pH as consistently as possible. This point has been touched on but it can't be repeated enough. Bad bacteria thrive in an acidic environment. Anytime your mouth pH dips below 6.5 (slightly acid), you are making an environment hospitable to bad bugs. It doesn't matter how many times you brush because all of the hours in between more than makes up for it. That's why you have good habits in maintaining oral pH. Part of this is what you do and the other part is what you don't do. Don't drink carbonated water, soda, acidic drinks (like kombucha), orange juice and so on regularly. If you do have a drink, rinse your mouth out with tap water as most of the time that's pretty alkaline. I also avoid mouthwashes for this reason, because commercial versions are very acidic. Some foods are also high in oxalic acid (like spinach), so when you eat those raw they can be detrimental to your enamel.
Instead try to chew xylitol gum regularly. Utilize pH strips to test your oral pH by collecting saliva and then testing to see where you're at throughout the day. Eventually you'll get a feel for what corresponds to what. Xylitol gum is not only good because it fools the bad bugs into coming out of their hiding places, it is also very alkaline.
11. Find a holistic dentist and explore your options. Most people need their bite realigned and have some structural abnormalities that over the longterm can contribute to faster gum or enamel removal, or reduced functioning during sleep. Crowding in the mouth can constrict your airway which is a common contributor to sleep apnea, and only a trained holistic dentist can recognize and fix this problem. You may also have grinding issues or sensitivities to standard chemicals (like titanium in implants) that average dentists won't know about. These interventions are unfortunately pretty expensive, but nevertheless something to keep your eye out for and have some health goals.
For a few places to start looking, check the links below: