Natural smile, Renee Naturally
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Mouth Health

Your smile and the appearance of your teeth and mouth are an important part to making a good first impression. However, beyond just aesthetic appeal, your oral health is also an important reflection of your overall health. With the mouth being the gateway to the entire body, a healthy mouth is an essential part of preventing illness and keeping disease out of the digestive, reproductive and cardiovascular systems. We all know the value of the likes of regular brushing and flossing, but what can we do to naturally support oral health and minimize trips to the dreaded dentist?

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Problems in the mouth are often reflections of deficiencies or underlying disorders in the body. For example, bleeding may be a vitamin C deficiency, dryness and cracking at the corners of the mouth may indicate a deficiency in vitamin B2. Raw, red, mouth tissue may be a sign of stress; a smooth, reddish tongue can indicate anaemia or poor diet.  Like any naturopathic treatment, it’s vital to treat the cause first, and work from the inside, out. If your diet is low in nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection, you may increase the risk of dental cavities, gum disease, bad breath and other conditions. While a low sugar diet is important to help prevent tooth decay, favouring a wide range of nutritionally rich foods and eating a balanced diet ensure that you gain the nutrients required to optimise the overall health of your mouth.

Nutritional support for a healthy mouth;

  • Calcium – helps to strengthen teeth and prevent bone loss around the gums
  • Vitamin A – required for healing gum tissue and helps to maintain the mucosal barrier to infections. Useful for any tooth or gum disorder
  • Molybdenum – an essential trace mineral that helps prevent tooth decay. Signs of deficiency can include mouth and gum disorders
  • Vitamin D – assists in regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Signs of deficiency include softening of the bones and teeth
  • Folic acid - deficiency of folic acid is often associated with cracks on the lips or a sore inflamed tongue. Useful in the treatment in mouth ulcers
  • Coenzyme Q10 – assists with gum cell growth and healing of gum tissue
  • Vitamin C with bioflavanoids – vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and helps promote healing, especially of bleeding gums. Bioflavanoids help to stop plaque growth.
  • Phosphorus - the main function of phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth
  • Probiotics – help to prevent the formation of cavities and assists in the treatment of mouth disease
  • Propolis – interferes with the capacity of bacteria to adhere to the tooth
  • Zinc– enhances immune function and is needed to prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Vitamin E – this is very healing and helps to alleviate soreness. Open a capsule and rub the oil on inflamed gums.

Drinks for dental health;

  • Green tea – drinking green tea can help to reduce the incidence and severity of cavities as it has antimicrobial activity that helps prevent bacterial adherence to teeth
  • Chamomile and calendula flower tea – the strained teas are both soothing and help to heal gum tissues
  • Unsweetened cranberry juice – cranberries have ‘anti-adhesion’ properties that prevent bacteria from growing in the mouth where they form dental plaque

Healing mouth herbs;

  • Calendula – assists with tissue healing, is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and a topical antiviral
  • Myrrh – has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and local anaesthetic properties. Topically, it is used to treat inflammation as well as gingivitis and mouth ulcers
  • Echinacea root – traditionally used topically to relieve toothache and to anaesthetise the throat. It has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and immune supporting properties. It is useful for treating conditions such as tonsillitis and mouth ulcers. Specific properties found in Echinacea promote saliva flow, a natural defence against plaque-forming bacteria
  • Sage – an astringent and antiseptic, it is used to treat inflammation, and infection in the mouth, tongue and throat. Use as a gargle for conditions such as laryngitis, pharyngitis, mouth ulcers, gingivitis, and glossitis (inflammation of the tongue). Boil 2 tablespoons of dried, crushed sage leaves in one cup of water, steep for 20 mins, strain, and rinse your mouth several times daily.
  • Aloe vera – applying the gel directly to inflamed gums eases discomfort and soothes the tissues.
  • Clove oil - good for temporary relief of tooth and gum pain.  Rub a drop or two of clove oil on the affected area. If the oil is too strong in its purest form, it can be diluted with a drop or two of olive oil.
  • Goldenseal – destroys the bacteria that cause mouth diseases. Place it in a dropper-full of alcohol-free goldenseal extract into your mouth, swish it around for 3 mins and then swallow. For inflamed gums, place 5 drops onto a piece of pure cotton and place on the inflamed area. Do this immediately whenever mouth sores or inflammation occur. Make sure that you don’t take Goldenseal for more than a week at a time though as it might disturb normal intestinal flora (and never use it during pregnancy)

Tooth whitening has become quite the rage of late, and while chemical treatments are the most common, it’s good to know that there are risk-free, natural preventative measures that we can take to maintain our pearly whites (and we can be thankful that we don’t have to resort to the ancient Romans method of using urine as a whitening agent!) As we age, our teeth become naturally darker. This process is exacerbated by drinking tea, coffee, and red wine or consuming other food or drink with strong colourings, smoking, drinking alcohol, tooth decay, fillings, diseases or medicines. Minimising consumption of the food and drink culprits is a good start, and also drinking a small amount of water after eating heavily pigmented foods can help to minimise their staining potential. Natural teeth whitening methods include using agents such as baking soda, lemon juice or apple cider vinegars. However, many of these agents have the potential to actually harm your teeth by damaging the enamel and can even cause cavities due to their acidic or abrasive action. Regularly eating raw vegetables such as celery, carrot, broccoli, and cucumber is the healthiest method of keeping your teeth white as their abrasive action helps to scrub away stains.

Bad breath is usually caused by sulphur producing bacteria that live on the surface of the tongue and in the throat. There are certain foods that increase sulphur production because of their stimulating affect on the bacteria that cause bad breath. These include high protein foods such as dairy and foods high in sugar, which provide fuel for bacteria to reproduce and create more sulphur compounds. Alcohol and smoking dry out the mouth and also result in increased sulphur production and since alcohol is used in most commercially available mouthwashes, their repeated use can often make bad breath worse. Other factors in the development of bad breath include gingivitis, sinus infections, acid reflux from the stomach, hormonal factors and pregnancy. Favouring foods and drinks that have an alkaline effect on the body can help you maintain fresh breath so include foods such as alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, celery, carrots, coconut, lemons, onions, watermelon, figs, millet and rhubarb, while minimising acid forming foods such as those high in sugar, alcohol, saturated fats, meat and dairy.

Stay on track towards good health by keeping the gateway to your body clear, clean and debris free. And remember to smile, it’s beautiful.

Live well, live long, live naturally

Renée x

Comments

Thank you so much Renee for this valuable information :D love alex xxx

Thanx for the post :) its really helpfull, do you have any suggestions on which toothpaste is best to use? xxxx

I'm not sure what country you are in, but my fave toothpaste is available in NZ and Australia. It's a brand called 'Red Seal' and it's called 'Natural - Herbal and Mineral Toothpaste' It contains natural minerals beneficial for tooth health (calcium, zinc, magnesium and silica), herbal extracts/oils of aniseed, basil eucalyptus, clove buds, liqorice, peppermint, rose, rosemary, thyme, orange and spearmint (it tastes really good!), and also contains the herb 'stevia', which is a natural sweetener. Another good natural range is 'Tom's' - there are lots of different formulations to choose from. The thing I really like about these guys is that they also offer toothpastes that can be used if you are using any homeopathic remedies (where it is best to avoid anything with mint in it). I hope this helps! :) x

Thanx Renee :) I live in Australia and will try 'Red Seal', thank you so much xxxxxxx

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