Considering that bacteria and inflammation in the mouth (much in thanks to an unhealthy western diet of sugars and refined carbohydrates, smoking, and alcohol) may contribute to periodontal disease, heart disease, immune system disorders, cancer, pregnancy complications, rheumatoid arthritis, and pneumonia, taking extra care of our oral health can be key to health and longevity.
But we may not think about oral health outside of a few trips to the dentist each year and going about our daily brushing and flossing.
However, as we’ve discussed previously, the mouth (and tongue, specifically!) can reflect what is going on in the body systemically, so adding a few extra ways to take care of this vital part of our health may be beneficial to overall health.
Here are three unique things you can add to your current oral health regimen!
1. Tongue scraping.
Exactly as it sounds, a scraping of the tongue can remove harmful bacteria, dead cells, and buildup (typically seen as a white or yellowish coating). Using a plastic or metal tongue scraper preferably (although, a toothbrush can work as well), gently scrape tongue from back to front with a wipe or rinse of the tool in between scrapes.
Perform twice daily or after each meal.
2. Oil pulling.
This Ayurvedic oral health practice consists of swishing or “pulling through the teeth” edible oil such as coconut, sunflower, or sesame for 3-20 minutes before eating in the morning and then rinsing the mouth with warm water after.
It is thought that the oil can help clean the mouth (there may be antibacterial properties to the oils) and deter bacteria buildup as well as increase digestive enzymes.
3. Oral probiotics.
Just like that of gut probiotics, beneficial oral bacteria can help crowd out harmful ones. They may help prevent plaque buildup, decrease inflammation, and reduce cancer risk.
While naturally-occurring food probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, and miso provide helpful bacteria, chewable oral probiotics are available as well.
It’s important to note that these practices should not replace proper brushing and flossing, rather they can be used complementary.
Do you wonder what your tongue and mouth may be trying to tell you about your health? Call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Graves and find out.
The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area. For those outside of these areas, virtual appointments are available.