I was recently asked for my opinion on mouthwash. Due to the use of saccharin as a sweetener in mouthwash a friend of mine was very concerned. She takes great care of her diet and health and didn’t want to expose even just her mouth to saccharin that is commonly used to sweeten mouthwash. She asked me and a few other health Gurus what we thought about the use of mouthwash with saccharin. I don’t use mouthwash personally. There is an increased risk of cancer associated with mouthwash use and saccharin is likely one of the main culprits of that risk – that and the eradication of the protective bacterial balance (probiotics) in the mouth. The conversation about mouthwash that my friend initiated inspired me to do an oral health article.
I’ve learned so much recently and wanted to share what I’ve learned. I just had a dental appointment and was spontaneously informed that my “gums are in great shape!” That’s when I began to share what it is exactly that I do. Thankfully my dentist is very open to natural and holistic approaches and was well aware of a lot of the misinformation regarding dietary recommendations out there as well. So it was very nice to have a great meeting of the minds over the current shift I’ve taken in my life.
For starters I use a silk all natural floss for my teeth before I brush. Growing up we were taught to brush and then floss but that has since changed. The recommendation currently is to floss and then brush. That changed back when I was in Medical School. We took some lectures with the Dental Students so I learned a lot from them. The thought is that you dislodge and loosen the plaque and tartar that harbors the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease before you brush. (Dental disease is also associated with an increased of heart disease – let’s put a pin in that for another day.) Loosening up the plaque before brushing will help you be more effective at removing it when you brush. I use silk, fluoride free floss. Silk because it’s natural and honestly it just seems to be so much more effective! I can literally see the tartar and plaque being removed every time I use it. Plus it’s natural – no chemicals and it doesn’t cut or irritate my gums when I use it.
Also, I refrain from fluoride use in any and everything! You heard me correctly – no fluoride in my house at all! We have a water filter that takes all of the fluoride and chlorine (among many other things) out of the water that we drink and cook with. When I can remember to fill up my canteen I keep in the bathroom, I use that water to brush my teeth. Truthfully there’s plenty of evidence to support not using fluoride for preventing cavities. Perhaps this is why most of the Western World does NOT fluoridate water. In fact, there is no significant change in the amount of cavities in the studies that I’ve seen associated with fluoride use. Plus there is a lot of toxicity associated with using fluoridated water including the risk of lowered IQ as clearly demonstrated in 50 studies!! Nothing is one size fits all – not even fluoride. Some people are genetically predisposed to the toxicity of fluoride use. If you are a person of color, it’s more likely that you have one or two copies of the gene that increases the amount of fluoride your body uptakes when exposed to it. Too much fluoride or fluorosis causes discoloration of the teeth. Do you have any white or brown specks, lines, pitting, or freckling on your teeth? Bingo! Studies back from the 1930s demonstrate that it is actually the increase in grain consumption that is associated with increased cavities.
Also, do you have any idea where this fluoride comes from? It is actually a waste or byproduct from fertilizer production!! It’s called fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. It is shipped to our water treatment plants in HAZMAT (Hazardous Material Transportation) trucks and the staff that is charged with delivering it also wear HAZMAT suits!! I’m not comfortable putting THAT in my mouth and body! You?! A good amount of the fluoride that we put in our water sources actually comes from China. Guess who doesn’t put fluoride in their water? China! Now years ago there was a big scare about not buying toys made in China because of lead contamination. Yet we’re going to accept fluoride from them?! I’ll take the zero. Now the latest is the USA has contracted with China to grow chickens for us. Guess what I won’t be eating?! Chicken from China. But I digress….
All of that to say I do not use fluoride in my toothpaste and we are very judicious about removing fluoride from the water that we drink or use to cook. My children have NEVER used fluoridated toothpaste. My sweet little BeBe has never been diagnosed with any cavities (he’s 4yo now). And my oldest, Bunny, only had one small cavity in between two of her very tightly spaced teeth at 5yo. However, I realized shortly thereafter that the cute little flossers that I had been buying for her to get in that tight space had fluoride on them! Aaaargh! So obviously since then I stopped using those. She’s had no more problems since then.
When in doubt we make our own remineralizing toothpaste or gel if there is a concern about cavities. We had a little scare with my sweet little BeBe recently and I thought I saw some brown spots behind what looked like a little bit of tartar buildup. (We had to reschedule his dental appointment due to some scheduling conflicts so it was a couple weeks later than normal and brushing his teeth when he was younger sometimes was like wrestling a 40 pound octopus – true story.) I jumped right on it and started smearing a little bit of my homemade remineralizing solution on it. Within a day or two the brown spot started to shrink and is now no longer detectable by the naked eye.
I almost never use toothpaste when I brush my teeth as I had so many concerns about some of the ingredients -even in the “natural” options. I use an ionic toothbrush. It uses gentle natural ionic charges of electrons to draw away bacteria, plaque and tartar.
I also use coconut oil to do oil pulling from time to time. I will admit I don’t even do it every day. I might do it once or twice a week at most but I definitely feel how fresh my mouth feels afterwards. Coconut oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties so that helps clean my mouth naturally. Also, when I remember to do so I use a copper tongue scraper or cleaner when I do my dental care. It’s a nice natural way to kill bacteria in the mouth. I was riddled with cavities growing up and lots of dental issues (while using fluoridated toothpaste and drinking water mind you). But as an adult I’ve had no problems! No more cavities and no more loss of enamel since I’ve stopped using fluoride and started using Mother Nature whenever possible. Yes, we go to the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and check up. But we clearly request no fluoride treatments! And the Beebster, Bunny, Daddy and I have been just fine!
Happy Healthy Living!
Until next time…..
P.S. As I was sitting here typing this my sweet Bunny came to tell me that she just discovered two more loose teeth! I hope the Tooth Fairy has deep pockets because she is on a roll! Pixie Dust here we come!
Take Home Tidbits
- Mouthwash is associated with an increased risk of cancer
- Silk floss is a great way to remove early plaque and debris buildup between teeth
- Fluoride isn’t what it’s cracked up to be at all
- Coconut Oil has great antibacterial and anti fungal properties and can help clean your mouth clean and healthy
Feel free to comment and ask questions in the comment box below!