First off, let me start this post by saying kudos to everyone who somehow maintains a full-time job, runs a consistent blog and juggles everything else life throws at them. Judging by my lack of a post the last month or so, you can tell I’ve been struggling with this balancing act.
Despite my lack of time that I’ve actually had to sit down and write a post, I have been brain storming plenty of ideas and while they are taking me longer than I would like or had anticipated, I can ensure they will pop up eventually!
When it comes to my teeth and overall oral hygiene, I really don’t want to have to compromise between results and having to use chemicals that are doing just as much harm as they are doing good to get the results I’m after.
Below are some of my favourite ways to maintain a white smile, fresh breath and overall good oral hygiene.
1. Toothbrush: The most obvious tip that we have all been learning as far back as we can remember. Brush twice a day. Morning and night. This ones a given. I will say though that my dentist did tell me I was brushing too hard which was causing my gums to recede. Those things don’t grow back once they recede, and they leave the newly exposed teeth really sensitive. I now make an effort to be more gentle when I brush.
2. Floss: I like to use the pick style just for convenience sake. While I don’t necessarily always floss twice a day, aiming for at least once a day. Here’s a tip. If you gums are left sore, sensitive and even bleeding after flossing, you’re not doing it enough.
3. Tongue Scraper: My personal favourite. The one I own is a pretty basic simple curved piece of stainless steel I use to drag across my tongue to remove any film and nastiness left behind. I do this before bed and when I wake up. Our bodies do a lot of detoxing while we sleep so there is always more to remove in the morning. I get a weird sense of satisfaction seeing all of the bacteria and toxic film being scraped off. Our tongues should be pink! Adding this simple step to your daily routine will help combat bad breath, aid in better digestion, allow you to experience flavours of food better and helps promote general mouth health. You’re teeth and gums will thank you. For some reason a lot of people think it’s gross or strange that this is a part of my daily oral hygiene routine, but keep in mind if you are not removing this nasty film that sits on top of your tongue, your body will reabsorb the toxins, so therefore getting rid of it will in turn also help keep your immune system strong. Wouldn’t you say it’s more disgusting to keep that gunk in your mouth? I found my tongue scraper in an Ayurvedic yoga studio in Bali. I had been wanting one prior but for whatever reason couldn’t find one in a local health and natural food store and procrastinating putting in an online order for one, but you can certainly find them on amazon.
4. Oil Pulling: This is another Ayurvedic practice that consists of taking a spoonful of oil and swishing it around your mouth for 15 – 20 minutes. Which kind of felt like forever at first but I assure you that you do get used to it. It’s a good time to catch up a TV show, read a book or pretty much do anything that doesn’t require using your mouth. This’ll help pass the time while you are simultaneously pulling bacteria and toxins out of your mouth. The theory to my understanding is that the bacteria that hides out in our mouths is covered in a lipid. Science class taught us that “like dissolves like”, meaning that the oil we are swishing around is able to pick up that lipid covered bacteria and take it out with it. There is a ton of benefits associated with oil pulling. Some of my favorites include: teeth whitening, cavity prevention, kills bad breath, helps keep the skin clear, clears the sinuses (I can actually feel this happening as I swish the oil around), helps bleeding gums… the list goes on. It’s a great easy way to help detoxify our bodies and promote overall health in our mouths. I like to use a spoonful of coconut oil with a drop of an essential oil sometimes for extra antibacterial properties or simply for some added flavour. Favourites of mine include a drop of peppermint, lemon or doTerra’s “OnGuard” blend, available here. Another popular choice of oil includes sesame, which is a more traditional option. I just happen to like the flavour and the fact that coconut oil has natural antibacterial, antifungal properties (not to mention its vast list of other benefits).
5. An all natural (homemade) remineralizing-whitening toothpaste: Conventional toothpaste is full of chemical ingredients I don’t want in my mouth. While I love the claims Crest, Colgate, and the rest of the gang advertises, I don’t like the list of chemical and toxic ingredients that come along with it. Plus, I truly believe these natural ingredients will help protect your teeth against cavities and keep them white and strong. I’ve used my fair share of store bought natural toothpastes but the truth is that healthier alternatives are steep in price and I’m never 100% satisfied with what I have tried so far. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to put together a budget friendly homemade toothpaste (that is effective most importantly) will save you money and contribute to keeping you showing off your smile. I’ve tried various recipes and have since tweaked them here and there. Below is the combination I am currently brushing with:
- 1/4 c of Coconut Oil: great for its antibacterial properties as well as binding the paste together.
- 1/8 c of Baking Soda: keeps your teeth beautifully white and polishes them with its mild abrasiveness at the same time.
- 1/2 tsp of pink Himalayan sea salt: a great source of minerals for your teeth and again has the mild abrasiveness to help polish away buildup on teeth and clear the way for remineralization.
- 1/2 tsp of xylitol: Xylitol actually has a number of benefits for your teeth though it is optional and mostly for sweetening the taste. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and you don’t have to worry about teeth decay like you would with a conventional sugar. This ingredient will also help remineralize the teeth and keep them white.
- A couple of drops Essential oil of your choice for flavour: Don’t go overboard here like I have in the past. A couple of drops truly does add enough flavour. Some ideas are DoTerra’s OnGuard, Lemon, Orange, Spearmint, Peppermint, Wintergreen, Cinnamon… The list goes on. You can completely customize this to your own preference. All of the oils mentioned above are available here: http://www.mydoterra.com/heartavenue/
- Bentonite Clay: Another ingredient to help remineralize to keep teeth strong and polish. The clay will also bind to any toxins to help remove them from your mouth. This is an ingredient that I didn’t use when I first started making toothpaste. Now I won’t make a batch without it. Bentonite Clay and it’s uses and benefits are amazing and I have a feeling you will be seeing more of it on North of Bloom.
Store in an air tight container. I typically use a small glass mason jar for mine with a popsicle stick to scoop some of the paste onto my brush. I should note that you can add a small bit of filtered water till you reach your desired consistency. The taste and texture will obviously take some getting used to, especially if you’re accustomed to the conventional foaming-squeezable-paste most people use. Like anything you’ll get used to it and I’m sure if your passionate about removing chemicals from your life you’ll be happy you made the switch! I know I am. I have been to the dentist since making the switch and got great feedback and was cavity free
Happy Smiles! Leave a comment below if you have any tips or tricks for your smiles you’d like to share.