A Guide to a Clean and Healthy Mouth
by Dr. David Steuer, DMD, MMsC
Throughout history, experts relied on windows into our health: the eyes to check on the soul, the mouth to gauge strength and longevity. Animals were bought and sold based on this window philosophy. Today, as in ancient times, the windows are more relevant than ever. There is mounting research to show that the overall health of your mouth does in fact mirror or represent the condition and health of your body. This research shows that maintaining a healthy oral cavity may be linked to overall long-term health and quality of life.
THE HEART AND MOUTH CONNECTION
According to the American Dental Association and the American Medical Association, there is a relationship between the condition of the gums and the condition of the cardiovascular system. Gum health is primarily a result of oral care, personal habits, and,, to an extent, genetics. With appropriate effort and proper hygiene, threats to the health of our gums can be eliminated or controlled. However, failure to maintain gum health has other health consequences. Sub-optimal conditions of the heart can be traced to unhealthy gums, underscoring how important oral care is.
HABITS OF GOOD ORAL HEALTH
Knowing that the oral cavity both reflects our bodies’ condition and impacts our physical health, it is imperative that we make a daily habit of a few simple, proactive maintenance measures.
So what do we do? First, let’s assume that we have all made the decision to reduce or nearly eliminate processed sugar. When you eat food or drink beverages containing sugar or starch, your mouth becomes acidic for 20 minutes or more, creating a threat to gums and teeth. Second, we have made the decision to eat healthy balanced meals, incorporating healthy fats, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, rough foliage, and low sugar fruits and vegetables, thus reducing food sources that compromise our oral health, creating a more healthy environment for the mouth.
IS THERE A TIME THAT’S BEST TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH?
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day. One of those times should be at bedtime, because if certain foods and drinks sit in your mouth for an extended duration they will create a serious threat to gums and teeth. Keep a toothbrush at work to brush after eating. Place two drops of doTERRA On Guard on the bristles, and massage them into the teeth and gums. Brush your tongue while including doTERRA On Guard, Cinnamon, or Peppermint to promote clean and crisp breath. Toothpaste that is designed to neutralize low pH and freshen breath is excellent. To promote cleanliness try adding 3-4 drops of doTERRA Melaleuca essential oil, or doTERRA On Guard and Spearmint on the toothbrush before adding your toothpaste.
GOOD PERSONAL HEALTH DEPENDS ON OUR CHOICES AND OUR KNOWLEDGE.
ESSENTIAL OILS RECOMMENDED FOR ORAL HEALTH
- doTERRA On Guard
- doTERRA Clove
- doTERRA Melaleuca
- doTERRA Myrrh
- doTERRA Peppermint
- doTERRA Spearmint
INCORPORATING A FEW SIMPLE STEPS INTO OUR ROUTINES WILL PROMOTE A HEALTHIER MOUTH, A BRIGHTER SMILE, AND CLEANER BREATH.
- KID’S MOUTH GUARDS are usually quite dirty. Try soaking the mouth guard in cool water with 5 drops of doTERRA On Guard and Peppermint
- FLOSS AT LEAST ONCE A DAY: Flossing removes food debris and plaque from between your teeth and in areas your toothbrush can’t reach. Try soaking your floss in a small cup with warm salt and doTERRA Melaleuca, then rinse your mouth with the mixture for increased cleanliness.
- FOLLOWING DENTAL WORK, rinse with warm salt water and doTERRA essential oils. The rinse will soothe the gums and promote a clean fresh mouth.
- CHEW ONLY SUGARLESS GUM (preferably one with xylitol). Chewing gum stimulates saliva, buffering the pH of the mouth, and reducing plaque.
- SWISH WITH A MOUTH RINSE. Try making your own: add 2 teaspoons of salt to 4 cups of warm water and mix well. Let cool if desired, then add 5 or more drops each of doTERRA Melaleuca, doTERRA On Guard, doTERRA Cinnamon, and doTERRA Peppermint and 2 or more drops of doTERRA Clove essential oils. Rinse for 30 seconds two times per day. This rinse is also an easy “at work remedy” for the dreaded post-lunch smelly breath – your coworkers will thank you! Be sure to drink plenty of water, not coffee, soft drinks, or alcohol which can lead to a drier mouth. Remember, most flavored waters contain sugar, so water is always best.
References and Supporting Data
- AHA guidelines on IE http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2912107/
- Beltran E, Beltran RJ. Oral diseases and conditions throughout the lifespan. II. Systemic Diseases. General Dent2004;52(2):107-114
- GuptaD, Jain A. Effect of Cinnamon Extract and Chlorhexidine Gluconate (0.2%) on the Clinical Level of Dental Plaque and Gingival Health: A 4-week, Triple-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. J Int Acad Periodontol. 2015 Jul;17(3):91-8
- Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan; 19(1):50-62
- May J, et al. Time-kill studies of tea tree oils on clinical isolates. J Antimicrob Chemother2000;45:639-43