It always seems that with the start of a new year everyone feels that urge to renew their health with a clean slate. Health and body detox are usually at the top of internet searches every January, and with good reason. Over time, your body holds onto toxins and unnecessary chemicals from everyday products we place on our bodies or consume. Detoxing the body is a way to release those unwanted elements and start fresh.
Oral health is much more than trying to avoid cavities and toothaches. Just as unwanted bacteria in your stomach can effect your body and health overall, so too can unwanted bacteria in your mouth. Oral bacteria has been shown to contribute to serious health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, premature birth, and low birth weight in babies. Knowing this, one can easily see how your body can not be fully healthy unless your mouth is healthy as well.
Luckily, there are several easy things that can be done on a daily basis to ensure that your mouth stays fresh and clean. That’s right, not only is an oral health detox a great way to increase your overall health, but it’s a great way to eliminate any oral malodor that you may struggle with. Outside of regular brushing, flossing, and dental care - here are seven other steps for getting the health of your mouth in prime shape for 2020!
While all dentists emphasize the importance of brushing and flossing, many fail to mention that a significant amount of bacteria resides on the surface and in the crevices of the tongue. While everyone is subject to this bacterial buildup, some tend to get more than others. A healthy tongue should look pink or light red, a tongue that has a top surface of white to yellow is one that has a buildup of bacteria and other non essential elements that can contribute to poor oral health. Paying careful attention to brushing the top surface of the tongue on a daily basis is important, alternatively a tool called a tongue scraper can be used to gently remove any buildup on the top surface of the tongue.
While several methods and formulas can be used, the action of rinsing your mouth can help to further eliminate excess bacteria, plaque and food particles from your mouth. It should be noted that many standard commercial mouth rinses contain alcohol and other unnecessary ingredients such as artificial dyes, preservatives, and sulfates. The critical component of mouth rinse is simply the action of swishing and therefore a variety of things can be used for mouth rinse.
Baking soda mixed with warm water can neutralize both odor and acid in the mouth, coconut oil pulling can help to remove excess bacteria while also introducing antimicrobial properties into the mouth, and the addition of essential oils such as Tea Tree, Clove, and Peppermint can help to further contribute to eliminating unwanted bacteria in the mouth. No matter what type of mouth rinse you choose to use, just remember to spit out the rinse as this is what will eliminate the bacteria and unhealthy elements from your mouth!
Just as taking a daily probiotic is good for balancing your gut health, a daily probiotic can be a great way to take your oral health to the next level. Studies have shown that probiotics can help fight against harmful bacteria in the mouth, this can in turn lower plaque levels, bad odor, and gingivitis 1. As an alternative to taking a probiotic pill, you can also consume fermented foods such as yogurt, soft cheese kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, pickles, and kimchi.
Daily Dose Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known for being a critical factor in the body’s immune system. Without a strong immune system, the harmful oral bacteria causing gingivitis and periodontal disease can flourish. This becomes a vicious cycle because the more inflamed and loose the gum tissue is, the easier it is for bacteria to hide and thrive. Be sure to consume plenty of foods containing Vitamin C such as kiwis, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, lemons, and brussels sprouts.
An Apple A Day
You’ve heard the saying “An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away”, and when it comes to oral health there is certainly some merit to this. The fibrous texture of biting into and chewing on an apple can act to mechanically remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth. A main ingredient in apples, pectin, has even been shown to aid in removal of mercury and lead from the body according to one study 2.
Chop Up Some Cilantro
Cilantro is a known chelator 3, an element that can bind to heavy metals and help them pass through the body safely. Heavy metals such as mercury and lead can build up in the body, including in the oral tissues. A chelator such as cilantro can help to detox your body of these heavy metals in a delicious way!
Mince The Ginger
Ginger can help boost your immunity and works to help detoxify your body. Biting into and chewing raw ginger, like apples, can help remove plaque from the teeth. Due to it’s potent anti inflammatory properties, ginger also helps to promote healthy gum tissues and heal gingivitis. As a bonus, ginger also is high in antioxidants and can help fight against cancer! Be sure to include ginger in any detox you partake in this year!
Now here’s to healthy mouths, minds, and bodies in 2020!
1. Duggal, N. 5 Ways Oral Probiotics Can Keep Your Mouth Healthy. April 2017. https://www.healthline.com/health/oral-probiotics Accessed January 20,2020.
2. Eliaz I, Hotchkiss AT, Fishman ML, Rode D. The effect of modified citrus pectin on urinary excretion of toxic elements. Phytother Res. 2006 Oct;20(10):859-64.
3. Sears ME. Chelation: harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification--a review. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013;2013:219840.
4. Robbins O. 12 Detoxifying foods to help your body heal naturally. January 2019. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/detoxifying-foods/ Accessed January 12, 2020.
Dr. Mikaeya Kalantari has been a practicing pediatric dentist for over 7 years working in both the children's hospital setting and private practice. She has had a wealth of experience treating children of all ages, and medical conditions. When it comes to serving children, she feels the importance of communication between the dentist and parent can not be emphasized enough. Dr. Kalantari practices in her family owned dental office in Mission Viejo, California.