Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #9
Coming up for two years ago I decided that toothpaste wasn’t doing me or my family any favours. Despite cycling through various and increasingly expensive brands we still all had sensitive teeth, my husband’s teeth required frequent dental work and my daughters had tiny but resistant plaque deposits. At the time I was reading up a lot on the zero-waste movement and using bicarbonate of soda / sodium bicarbonate as a toothpaste alternative was recommended in order to cut down on plastic toothpaste tubes ending up in landfill. Hmmm…
So we tried brushing with bicarbonate of soda. Not a great taste and the powder was rather abrasive. But our teeth gradually became less sensitive, my husbands stains from his black coffee habit began to disappear (he has not needed any dental treatment at all since ditching toothpaste) and my daughters both lost those plaque deposits.
Thanks to zero-waste I also found out that billions of plastic toothbrushes are sent to landfill every year! These will not biodegrade in landfill, and many end up in the sea where marine life consume them. We immediately swapped over to bamboo toothbrushes which we chuck in our compost bin once the bristles become splayed.
Then last year I heard a ReWild Yourself podcast with Nadine Artemis and was inspired to buy her excellent book on Holistic Dental Care. And I was pleased to have it confirmed by her that quitting conventual toothpaste had been a Very Good Decision!Here’s a very brief lowdown on just some of the ingredients in toothpaste (taken from Artemis’ book)
Flouride: a massive disruptor of your body’s chemistry and damager of gums. Propylene Glycol: commonly used as an antifreeze and so irritates your mucous membranes. Triclosan: an antibacterial agent that interferes with your mouth’s natural microbiome. Ethanol: indicated in cases of mouth cancer. Detergents and surfactants: irritants and increasing skin permeability. Trisodium phosphate: can cause bleeding gums and inflamed nerves. Glycerin: coats the teeth and so blocks the saliva from remineralising the enamel.
Previous to reading her book I had been using coconut oil as an oil puller to good effect but the taste was tending to make me gag a bit so we started using salt water as a pre-clean mouth rinse. (In the picture above you’ll see a shot glass of pink Himalayan salt but you can use sea or rock salt too.) Salt rinse benefits? Wound healing, improves the mouth’s microbiome (i.e. makes the mouth’s environment inhospitable to “bad” bacteria but more welcoming to the “good” bacteria!), freshens breath, reduces inflammation and is pH balancing. A pinch of salt in a shot glass of warm water is all you need.
We’ve also experimented a bit with adding different ingredients to the bicarbonate of soda. Bentonite clay dulls down the salty taste and is a good detoxifier for the mouth. Xylitol doubles both as a sweetener and improving the mouth’s microbiome. Activated charcoal is a great tooth whitener. But when I got annoyed with having a bathroom cupboard full of packets of powder I opted to buy a ready made tooth powder. Our current jar, from Laila London contains: calcium carbonate, clove bud powder*, peppermint*, ginger powder*, lemon peel powder*, cinnamon* and activated coconut charcoal* (* certified organic.) It tastes great too!
Because I am rather finicky about oral care (seven teeth extracted due to overcrowding and both bodged and painful orthodontic work mean that the teeth I have left are rather precious to me!) I also use dental floss (I buy a silk floss rather than a plastic one) and a copper tongue scraper twice a day.
If you aren’t convinced that what you use to clean your teeth isn’t that important because you spit it all out anyway it’s worth remembering knowing this: the mouth spray is the fastest acting of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products. One squirt to the side of the mouth and the nicotine is absorbed through the mouth lining and delivered directly into the blood stream where it starts to work on cravings in 60 seconds. Have a look at the list of toothpaste ingredients again. Think about whether you want to give them such a fast and effective delivery system to your entire body!
Tell me your tips for detoxing your oral health. I’d love to hear them!