Oral health isn’t necessarily on the top of everyone’s priority list…. but it should be! Especially with Halloween and all the sweet treats around the corner!
We now know that gum disease is a risk factor for a variety of health conditions such as digestive issues, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, asthma, osteoporosis, different types of cancer, and overall systemic inflammation.
While brushing your teeth and flossing are certainly a daily essential, many of us don’t think beyond that, but oral health is so much more than brushing and flossing (although these are great cornerstones)! Lucky for you, we’ve got the scoop on what simple practices you can incorporate to increase your oral health and therefore your overall health and quality of life.
The Oral Microbiome
Did you know that you have an oral microbiome? Awareness about gut health and the gut microbiome has skyrocketed, but it’s super easy to forget that every part of our body has its own microbiome. The gut, mouth, heart, lungs, skin, genitals, and more all together make up the human biome. The old model of oral care called for trying to eliminate all bacteria from the mouth, much like how we used to treat the gut. Now we know that certain bacteria are super important to oral health, as well as throat, sinus, and ear health!
We have an awesome product here at the pharmacy called Florassist Oral Hygiene . This product is actually a probiotic lozenge for your mouth! It contains a strain of bacteria called BLIS M18 S. salivarius M18, which evidence shows can target the species of Streptococcus directly responsible for tooth decay. Additional research is promising, with showing an ability to help get rid of halitosis (bad breath) and gum disease (1, 2, 3).
Put simply, taking an oral probiotic works much like taking gut probiotics. When you populate your mouth and throat with health-promoting bacteria, it leaves very little real estate for any foreign pathogens to move in! This is an awesome remedy for anyone, adults and children both, who suffer from frequent bad breath, sore throats, or sinus and ear infections.
Rebuilding Enamel with Hydroxyapatite
Most toothpaste uses fluoride, but we've brought in two brands that use hydroxyapatite, a mineral present in bone and teeth shown to physically promote remineralization of tooth enamel (4). Risewell Mineral Toothpaste, David's Sensitive+Whitening Toothpaste, and Bite toothpaste bits are all available at Remedy and feature this active ingredient!
In very small amounts, essential oils are an awesome addition to any dental care regimen and can be used in a variety of ways. Many essential oils are antimicrobial, meaning they are antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, or all of the above. Cinnamon, Peppermint, Tea Tree and Thyme are among a number of powerful antimicrobial essential oils found in our Risewell Balancing Mouthwash and Canker Soother products. These help to reduce inflammation, fight canker sores, and get rid of oral infections. Clove bud essential oil is another powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, but it also is a slightly numbing and therefore used as a topical anesthetic in the mouth. This is why it’s commonly used for toothaches and teething babies when used in very small amounts and diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil.
Hydration and pH
Risewell's mouthwash uses xylitol, which helps prevent plaque and bacteria buildup by promoting salivation, hydration, and stabilizes gum pH compared to alcohol in most other mouthwash.
Coconut and sesame oil were traditionally in an Ayurvedic practice called 'oil pulling'. Oil pulling consists of swishing a small spoonful of oil around your mouth and through your teeth from anywhere from a couple to twenty minutes. Coconut oil is antimicrobial and an emollient, meaning it soothes mucous membranes and reduces inflammation - which is great for your gums. A few final tricks to improve oral health are: salt water gargles, tongue scraping, and drinking plenty of water to promote healthy salivation!
We hope that this blog post has empowered you with some new knowledge and tools to add to your toolbox. Dental health is an important part of digestive health, with the holidays approaching (and all the deliciously rich foods that come with it!) As always, please feel free to give us a call or stop by the pharmacy if you have any questions about how to improve your health and quality of life. We’re here for you!