Most people think that when you get older, you naturally start losing your teeth. This is NOT true!
You can have your teeth even in your old age if you take good care of them every day.
Did you know that the health of your mouth can show a lot about the health of your overall body? Have you ever heard of Holistic Dentistry?
Did you know there is a connection between periodontal disease (late stage gingivitis) and inflammation, high cholesterol, arterial dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, lung function & more?
What can you do to take better care of your teeth at home? What are the best non-toxic, natural ingredient ways to take care of your teeth?
Let's talk about it!
I have a long history of being concerned about my teeth
When I was in middle school, we were no longer able to afford Dental care. So when I was taught about it in school, I payed extra close attention. My Grandparents had dentures and I didn't want that to happen to me. lol
I would brush my teeth twice a day, in circles, for two minutes, with fluoride tooth paste. I would drink fluoride water whenever I had the chance. Didn't eat candy that would stick to my teeth. I flossed, not as often as I should, but at least once a month.
I also had an obsession with getting my teeth whiter. I tried anything I heard other people talking about. Whitening tooth paste, denture wipes, whitening mouth wash, rinsing my teeth with water after drinking any coffee or tea, charcoal scrubs, strawberry scrubs, whitening strips, whitening foams, you name it lol. Some of it worked, but most made my teeth more sensitive and were too expensive to maintain.
After all of that for 16 years, when I finally could afford a dentist myself...
I still ended up with a tooth that needed a root canal, several cavities needed filled and my whole mouth needed a "plaque extraction" (which of course wasn't covered by my dental insurance).
At this point, I was 2 years into my wfpb wellness journey. So I was fairly familiar with the toxicity and harmful effects of daily fluoride use, mercury poisoning from cavity fillings, and root canal horror stories including sickness and re-treatment.
Plus, I saw some immediate red flags.
When I kindly asked the doctor their opinion on fluoride free toothpaste and if they offered any fluoride free dental treatments. I cannot remember her exact answer but I was given a very defensive and dismissive answer that had more to do with tradition than fact.
Also, when I called the Endodontist that the Dentist recommended to schedule my root canal, they didn't ask any questions other than what tooth and what date I was ready to have the surgery. This seemed like a major red flag since I've learned that a root canal is a very expensive and precise procedure that often gets mishandled and needs to be redone.
So instead of going back to the traditional Dentist that accepted my insurance and the Endodontist that they referred me to...
I took matters into my own hands and went searching for a Holistic Dentist.
I wanted all of this to be handled by someone who I aligned with in terms of values and practices. Someone who would be looking at the full picture and root cause of the issues. Not just the symptoms at hand. All in all, I simply wanted a Dentist that actively cared about my overall heath and not poisoning me.
Thankfully, I was able to find a few Holistic Dentists in Philadelphia! When I went in for my first appointment, I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of the questions I was asked. Right away I got: "so tell me what you typically eat in a day" --MAJOR GREEN FLAG!
They examined my mouth, then fully explained, with diagrams and drawings, exactly what they needed to do to my teeth and how they were going to do it.
I also got a mini lesson on the connection between your oral health and your overall health (see diagram). Plus a bunch of tips and suggestions for my daily tooth and mouth care.
Such helpful information that has opened my eyes up to SO many more ways to naturally and effectively take care of my teeth and body.
I ended up getting my root canal procedure at this Holistic Dental practice.
They used ozone therapy as a safer, more effective way to kill the bacteria at the root and reduce the chances of it needing to be redone. Instead of metals, plastics, or rubbers for the fillings and crowns, they use non-toxic + biocompatible composite resin and porcelain. They also use the composite resin for the cavity fillings.
Since then, I have been taking much better and more effective daily care of my teeth and get them cleaned by the dentist every 6 - 9 months.
Now let me be clear, I'm not saying this was the cheap option. It is definitely the initially more expensive route, but absolutely worth it in my opinion! So far, I have not dealt with any side effects from the treatments and hopefully I won't have to get another root canal in 15+ years nor deal with the side effects from mercury poisoning... stay tuned to find out! lol
Here are 10 Wholistic Oral Health practices I've learned and implemented:
I'm so thankful for this "new-to-me" knowledge & guidance! My teeth are now whiter, stronger, less sensitive, and cleaner!
1. EAT MORE GREENS DAILY
I had to put this one first because I want to highlight the fact that healthy teeth are just as much about what you eat as it is about how you clean them.
Green vegetables, fruits & herbs like kale, collards, sprouts, swiss chard, cabbage, dandelion greens, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, peas, green beans, celery, kiwi, pears, parsley, cilantro, etc. have countless nutrients including but not limited to calcium, folic acid, chlorophyll, vitamins A, B, & C--- all of which help strengthen & protect our teeth & gums!
For more on how food impacts your teeth check out these quick videos from NutritionFacts.org/ Michael Greger MD, FACLM:
2. Fluoride free, whitening toothpaste
If you don't already know this, Fluoride can be toxic to our bodies, especially our brains. I encourage you to do your own extensive research on that topic. As you will find, this topic can be quite controversial. But bottom line, most public water systems and toothpastes have fluoride in them. So to reduce my exposure, I use fluoride free toothpaste and my teeth are great.
My personal favorites are the Fluoride Free, Antiplaque & Whitening toothpastes from Toms of Maine, Hello, & Davids.
There are very many benefits to consuming wheatgrass, including but not limited to stronger enamel, whiter & brighter teeth, helping to prevent & treat tooth decay, and fight against gingivitis. Wheatgrass is packed with cholorphyll which makes plants green, strengthens tooth enamel, and promotes healthy teeth & gums.
It is best to consume wheatgrass on an empty stomach. So typically, in the morning, I mix a half spoonful of wheatgrass powder with a shot of room temperature water. Then I swish it around my mouth for 3-5 minutes and swallow it. Being sure not to eat or drink anything for the next 30 minutes.
Note: There are some cheap wheatgrass powders and there are some expensive ones. Usually, the expensive ones are just flavored. So as long as you can get pass the grassy taste, save your money & go for the cheap stuff! Also, if you have a juicer, you can either grow or buy wheatgrass & juice it yourself!
For more on the benefits of wheatgrass on your teeth check out these quick videos from NutritionFacts.org/ Michael Greger MD, FACLM:
4. Coconut Oil
If you know me, you know probably know that I do not cook with coconut oil nor use it in my hair. But I do cover my body with it and swish it around my mouth often.
Have you ever heard of oil pulling? Basically, it is an ancient Indian and Ayurvedic oral hygiene practice where you swish oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spit it into a trash can. Doing this with coconut oil specifically can reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth, reduce bad breath, gently whiten your teeth, help prevent cavities, reduce inflammation, improve gum health, reduce dry mouth and more.
I typically oil pull a few times a week. Usually a spoonful of coconut oil at night, before flossing and brushing my teeth. I try to swish for at least 10 minutes so I try to do this during a night time shower or any alone time before bed.
Important tip: Be sure to spit into a trash can and not your sink. The coconut oil can potentially build up in your pipes and clog your drains.
5. Clove Oil
Along with coconut oil, I have also added clove oil to my wholistic oral hygiene routine. If you have never had it before, clove oil is pretty strong. A little goes a long way and you may have you work your way up to using larger amounts over time. Clove oil is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, can reduce bad breath, relieve tooth pain (short term), and can reduce gum disease!
I typically add a few drops of clove oil to the coconut oil for my oil pulling routine. Plus, swishing clove oil and coconut oil before I need to leave the house with my mouth smelling fresh, has helped me stop using mouth wash!
I was a habitual extra strong mouthwash user, I used to be very reliant on it. But once I learned how much good bacteria they take out in our mouths along with the bad breath germs and how that impacts our gut microbiome... I was determined to find an alternative. & this works!
As I already mentioned, clove oil is great for short term relief for tooth pain. It is fast acting, effective, and used to be used by Dentists. I used it for my tooth pain after my root canal! I simply applied a drop or two of clove oil to the area in pain. If you do this, beware of the strong taste, try to leave your tongue out of it.
For more on the impact of mouthwash on your mouth, check out this quick video from NutritionFacts.org/ Michael Greger MD, FACLM:
6. Floss with a Water pik
Let's face it, regular flossing can feel impossible. It's often super tedious, time consuming, annoying, gross, and sometimes a little painful. Thankfully, my Dentist and my cousin's recommended using a water pik to floss my teeth. It has made flossing much quicker, more enjoyable, and is just as effective, if not more effective, than regular flossing.
I originally got the portable, cordless version. This was great and got the job done! However, I eventually wanted a larger water tank so that I didn't have to refill it as often.
So I recently switched to larger one that sits on the counter and must be plugged in. I love this one even more because it has more water speed settings and more interchangeable mouth piece heads.
7. Tongue scraper
This ancient Indian, Chinese, and Ayurvedic practice can be a very impactful oral hygiene practice. It can reduce bad breath, improve your sense of taste, can stimulate internal organs and can improve digestion.
I usually tongue scrape every 3 days.
For more on cleaning your tongue, check out these quick videos from
NutritionFacts.org/ Michael Greger MD, FACLM:
8. My Teeth Cleaning Routines
My daily morning routine: Wake up, swish water around my mouth and brush my teeth for at least 2 minutes. If I remember/have time, I swish wheatgrass for 5 mins and swallow it. Making sure to wait at least 20 minutes before eating or drinking anything. After eating breakfast and drinking coffee (if possible) rinse my mouth with water and brush my teeth for at least 2 minutes.
My daily evening routine: Swish water around my mouth, making sure I get as much leftover food pieces out of my teeth as I can. Then I brush my teeth and tongue for 3-4 minutes, making sure I brush all sides of each of my teeth (front, top, and back).
My deep clean (2-3 times a week) evening routine: I start with oil pulling with coconut oil and clove oil for 10-20 minutes and spit into my trash can. Then I use my water pik to floss my teeth. Next, I swish water around my mouth then brush my teeth and tongue for 3-4 minutes. After that, once per week, I tongue scrape and briefly rinse with water one more time.
If I need to refresh my breath before leaving the house: I rinse my mouth with water, brush my teeth, then oil pull with coconut oil and clove oil. If I'm low on time, I will just put a few drops of clove oil on my back teeth and try to let it sit in my mouth for at least a minute.
9. Five Cleaning Tips For Squeaky Clean Teeth
Here are 5 golden rules I've learned and live by:
1. Brush teeth in a circle motion as often as possible
2. Brush all side of teeth (front, top, and back)
3. Brush your gums and rest of your mouth too
4. To protect your enamel, if you eat any citrus foods, wait to brush your teeth until 30 minutes after
5. Electric tooth brushes generally clean your teeth better than manual tooth brushes.
10. Three Drinking Tips For Squeaky Clean Teeth
Here are 3 tips I have to avoid staining your teeth with beverages:
1. Use straws whenever possible.
2. Try to drink with your lips instead of your teeth.
3. After drinking dark beverages, such as coffee or tea, I swish and swallow some water so its not just sitting on my teeth and staining them.
I hope this helps!
Bookmark this page to come back to it whenever you need some oral care ideas
& send to a friend who may want to know about this :)