A radiant smile is such a thing of beauty, isn’t it? But organic dental care goes much deeper and begins well before selection of “product.” The mouth, lips, teeth, gums, and tongue are quite sensual parts of the body. Our mouth is home to our sense of taste and the foundation of our digestive process. The 10,000 taste buds across our tongue distinguish sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes. Your tongue allows you to communicate with your world; your lips are a provocative extension of the mucous membranes inside the mouth. Your teeth express happiness and pleasure when you flash your pearly whites. Your gums hold and support your teeth. Lavish your mouth with loving attention. Slather organic balms on your lips, eat nourishing whole foods, meticulously cleanse your mouth, massage your gums every day, and sing a happy tune!
It’s said the longer we keep our natural teeth, the longer our life span. Holding onto your original issue depends fiercely on gum health. Whether bad breath, cavities, heart disease, and even oral cancers—they can all have one thing in common—bad bacteria that comes from the mouth. Genetics aside, teeth and gum problems are often rooted in oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing is the best preventative for gum disease, which allows oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream along with the inherent risk for your heart. So love your heart by brushing and flossing at least twice a day and visit your dentist once a year, twice is even better. This is organic dental care at its best!
Strive to brush after eating for clean teeth, fresh breath, and to nip tartar build-up in the bud. Use small circular motions, spending two to three minutes on your full set of choppers. Be gentle! Aggressive brushing injures and creates receding gums. And yes, use natural, organic, herbal toothpaste or powder and mouthwash.
• For fresh breath, try chewing on fennel seeds, parsley, or natural mints, or use a natural breath spray. Products containing cinnamon, Echinacea, tea tree oil, and peppermint control bacteria while freshening the breath.
• Scraping your tongue in the morning reduces bad breath and plaque by eradicating bacteria build-up. Tongue scrapers are now widely available.
• A cleansing flow of saliva is important for oral health, because a dry mouth promotes decay. If your saliva flow is negligible, you’re undergoing radiation treatments, or using drugs that dry out your mouth, speak to your doctor. One of the best natural solutions is to sip water throughout the day, swishing it around in your mouth to rehydrate.
• Chewing gum made with parsley seed oil, sunflower oil, spearmint oil, and/or the natural sweetener xylitol (also controls plaque!) keeps saliva flow healthy. Chewing these natural gums as well as using natural lozenges or mints after meals can help flush away cavity-causing bacteria, sugars, and acids. Some natural mints even come with probiotics in them to coat the inner mouth and throat with good bacteria!
• And don’t forget the massage! Every day, place a bit of organic plant (sesame, olive, sweet almond) oil on the pad of your finger and gently massage gum surfaces to stimulate healthy blood flow to the gums. An organic, unrefined diet with plenty of raw foods and roughage literally helps massage the gums as you chew. Think of how cleansed your mouth feels after topping your lunch with that crisp apple. You can also activate blood and lymph circulation to mouth and face muscles by exercising your face. A few good ways:
• Remember Bewitched? Twitch your nose back and forth like Samantha.
• Puff your cheeks out and then breathe deeply through your nose 10 times. Release and relax your cheeks.
• Do yoga’s Lion Pose. Stretch your mouth wide open, open your eyes wide looking upward and stick out your tongue as far as it’ll go while giving a nice loud roar. Release and relax. And looking in the mirror tunes you into the silliness of the pose, eliciting laughter!
Many marvelous natural, organic dental products are now readily available. Check with your local health or Whole Foods market. Some are 100 percent naturally sourced from organic and wild-harvested plant materials like Natura, founded by ethnobotanical research scientist Dr. Mary Rodio (www.naturarx.com). Also check out www.ourtatefamily.com for their organic and natural “miracle” toothpaste. At www.dentist.net you’ll find the cream of the crop in organic and natural products from Desert Essence to Weleda, Eco Dent to Peelu, and so much more. Also Google natural and organic dental products and natural teeth-whitening alternatives for a cornucopia of additional choices.
Mary Beth Janssen is a highly respected beauty and wellness educator and a certified mind-body health educator for Deepak Chopra’s Chopra Center for Well-Being. She has authored five books, including Pleasure Healing: Mindful Practices and Sacred Spa Rituals for Self-Nurturing. To send her your questions, write to Marybeth@organicspamagazine.com.