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Did you know that digestion actually begins before you put one bite of food into your mouth? Chances are you’ve longingly gazed at a delicious meal (or beautiful fruit crisp!) a time or two and noticed an immediate increase in the saliva production in your mouth. After all, it’s where the description “mouthwatering” comes from.
Our saliva increases naturally as our brain connects the dots between the delicious meal we’re looking at and the upcoming process of digestion. Increased saliva means increased salivary enzymes. These enzymes work to break down our food before it even reaches the stomach. So naturally, when we’re hungry and see food, our body starts prepping for digestion right away.
It shouldn’t be news to us that our mouths are incredible organs. Volumes have been written on the salivary glands, tongue, and teeth alone. Lately I’ve been spending some time studying natural mouth and dental care. (Because I’m a total health geek and that’s what I do. For fun.)
If I were to write about bacteria, taste buds, root canals, dentine, natural teeth whitening, and more all in one post, well…let’s just say Daily Bites would turn into Monthly Bites because it would take you weeks to read my post!
Instead, I wanted to touch on just a few practices that I’ve been implementing lately in my dental care routine.
Learning To Be My Own Dentist
I go to the dentist once a year for a check-up, and if I’m being totally honest, it’s my least favorite appointment of the year. The sterile smell, the waiting room, the small talk with the hygienist—I wish there was such a thing as a “Get Out of Dental Appointment Free” card in life. I never have teeth issues (knock on wood), but I still go as a precautionary measure.
Someday I hope to be confident enough in my self-dentistry skills that I can back off on the frequency of my visits.
So, back to those natural dental care practices.
First of all, tongue scraping. This is my tongue scraper and I use it every day. First thing in the morning, before I even drink a sip of water, I head to the bathroom sink and scrape my tongue.
Trust me, you guys. You’ll be shocked at what comes off your tongue after sleeping all night. (It’s thick, white, and filmy. I’ll leave it at that.) I scrape mine 3-4 times, rinsing the scraper between each time.
Interesting note: When I first started scraping my tongue, it got sore and broke out in canker sores. At first I thought I was reacting to the stainless steel scraper, but when the symptoms disappeared after a few days, I realized it was a detox reaction. Getting rid of whatever gunk was on my tongue allowed it to release toxins. Gross but cool!
In Ayurvedic medicine, tongue cleaning is associated with keeping your teeth healthy and the entire organ of your mouth in good order. Scraping the tongue removes the stale bacteria build-up and often helps prevent (or completely eliminate) bad breath for those who have it.
I honestly can’t believe more people don’t clean their tongues! It takes less than 10 seconds and is a vital step in cultivating a clean, healthy mouth.
Let’s talk toothpaste, shall we? My mom introduced me to Earthpaste a while ago, which is an amazingly natural toothpaste free of glycerin, fluoride, artificial coloring, and foaming agents. As you can see from the photo above, the ingredients are totally pure and from the earth.
To be honest, I didn’t love Earthpaste at first. It doesn’t burn your mouth with peppermint flavor or get foamy like even other “natural” pastes do. I didn’t feel quite as refreshed or cleansed as I did with my old toothpaste, but I decided to stick it out for a while.
After a few weeks of using Earthpaste, I tried my old toothpaste again and WOW. I could not stand it! Even though it was a natural brand, it tasted so artificial and glue-like to me. Earthpaste is gentle but effective and I am totally hooked.
You can read more about the benefits of each ingredient in Earthpaste here.
Next I’m going to try making my own toothpaste from scratch. When I get a recipe that I like, you can bet your two front teeth that you’ll be seeing it here. :)
When I want a bit more mouth tingling action, I add a drop of essential oil to my toothbrush along with the paste. Peppermint and OnGuard (a blend from DoTerra that contains a variety of antibacterial oils) are good options. They’re very strong in flavor and completely do the trick when it comes to freshening my mouth. I’ve also linked to a natural gum serum below.
- Holistic Dental Care by Nadine Artemis
- Earthpaste, available from Redmond directly or Amazon
- Tongue scraper, available at most health stores or Amazon
- Thriving Healthy Gums serum from SurThrival
I’m loving my dental care habits and am eager to keep studying this fascinating aspect of natural health.
Share with me in the comments about your favorite natural dental products, practices, and learning curves. As always, I love hearing from you!