How to Practice Natural Dental Hygiene

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

In our previous article, Healthier Halloween Fun, we wrote about how to eat healthier treats and how to handle all the candy that’s so abundant.  In this article, we will focus more on optimal dental health and how you can have healthier teeth.

In our previous article, we also wrote about the Candy Fairy tradition we practice at our house.  After the kids are done trick or treating, they pick out a certain number of candy they want (we do 10-20 pieces) and then leave the rest for the Candy Fairy.  Then that night, on Halloween night, the Candy Fairy takes their candy and then leaves them a small toy.

Parents might also choose to pay their kids for candy.  This works well for older kids who might be done with the Candy Fairy.

Another great thing you can do with candy is to take it to a dentist or organization who will buy it back.  You can find a place to take your excess candy to here:  http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/   When you take your candy to a Halloween Buy Back place, they’ll ship your candy to military members overseas.  Here’s what the Halloween Buy back website states:

“Participants buy back kids’ Halloween candy at a scheduled event with cash, xylitol products, coupons, toothbrushes, creative exchanges – They can partner with local businesses to give away coupons for food, services, goods, etc. They can give away hygiene kits or coupons for their office as well!”

This is a wonderful idea that can be incorporated into your annual Halloween celebrations and traditions.

In addition to cutting back on candy, you can use natural dental products to keep your mouth clean and fresh.

Natural Toothpaste

Many brands of toothpaste contain questionable ingredients like artificial dyes, artificial flavors and laurel sulfate.  Natural toothpastes don’t generally contain these ingredients.  Because natural toothpaste doesn’t usually have questionable ingredients in them, they’re safe for everyone in your household, especially for children that tend to swallow toothpaste when they brush their teeth.  Some natural toothpaste also contains clove oil, which can help to relieve toothaches.  And some might contain baking soda, which helps to clean your teeth more thoroughly.

When you’re looking for natural toothpaste, there are several different types you can try.

For regular toothpaste, we really like Desert Essences.  It’s natural, affordable and comes in different flavors.   You can find Desert Essence Toothpaste here.

And Jason makes a great toothpaste for kids.  My kids really LOVED this toothpaste when they were a lot younger.  Plus, their children’s toothpaste is flouride-free, which is safe for young children that tend to swallow toothpaste.  You can buy Jason Kids Toothpaste here.

Another kind of toothpaste you can try is charcoal toothpaste.  This works very well for helping to whiten teeth.  Charcoal is not something you may normally think of when you think of tooth whitening. The truth is, it can help greatly. The charcoal powder can be used directly on your toothbrush and applied to your teeth. Simply brush as normal and rinse. It will break up toxins, bacteria, and stain causing agents and remove them from your teeth. You will need to do a long rinse after this to remove all the charcoal powder from your mouth and teeth. Also, keep in mind, this will stain clothing as well as your brush so do be careful when using it.   Schmidt’s makes great, natural charcoal toothpaste and you can buy it here.

Other Natural Dental Hygiene Products

When you brush your teeth, it’s important to use a high-quality toothbrush and we recommend Radius toothbrushes.  They’re different than regular toothbrushes and feature an oversize brush with 3x more bristles to clean more of your mouth and teeth; a 45-degree handle so you can more easily hold the toothbrush and they’re made from sustainable materials and 100% petroleum free.  They also have versions for both left-handed users and right-handed users.  And they come in smaller sizes for young children.  You can buy Radius Toothbrushes here.

When following good dental hygiene, also remember to floss and use mouthwash.  Flossing can help to remove food from between your teeth that can accumulate and form bacteria that can eat away at your tooth enamel.  Mouthwash can help to remove the bacteria also and to freshen your breath.  Dessert Essences makes wonderful dental floss and mouthwash – both of them are natural, without added artificial colors and flavors.  You can find Desert Essences dental floss and mouthwash here.

And while you’re out and about, chewing gum can help to freshen your breath and clean your teeth.  My family and I really love to use Spry gum.  It uses xylitol as a sweetener and helps to keep bacteria from sticking to your teeth.  My kids especially love to chew Spry gum as it helps them with their sensory stuff – we buy a large container so we always have it in stock.  In addition to gum, Spry also makes mints you can suck on.  They’re also sweetened with xylitol.  You can find all the Spry products we sell here.

Foods That Help with Oral Health

When we practice good dental hygiene, we can sometimes get focused on the best toothpaste or toothbrush to buy.  And while those things are very important, we can also eat optimal foods that will help us to keep our teeth stronger and cleaner.

Years ago, when my son had his first visit to the dentist, the dentist gave us a list of food-friendly snacks (and treats) for kids.  On the tooth-friendly list is raw fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds and water to drink.  For a special treat, chocolate works well because it melts and dissolves really well.

On the naughty list are candies, snacks and other treats that have citric acid in them.  Citric acid can wear away tooth enamel.  Other things on the naughty list are chewy candies that can get stuck in teeth.  And the last of the naughty types of foods are cookies, crackers (like Goldfish), pretzels and bread products.  These types of foods can get stuck in the teeth and in any tooth crevices.  As the grain snacks sits on and in the teeth, harmful bacteria grow.

As a new mom with a toddler, the list I received from my dentist was surprising, but it made a lot of sense.

Let’s look at a few of the “good foods to eat” list more carefully.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Apples

An apple a day will keep the doctor away is an old adage, but the truth is it may keep the dentist away. Apples are nature’s toothbrush. They help remove build-up on your teeth, plaque, acids, bacteria, and more. Now, they are not as good as toothpaste, but having an apple to end a meal may be more helpful than anything else. It will help remove debris and can get you by until you can brush your teeth later. They are also healthy for your body as a whole and a great way to help keep sweet cravings down as well.

Carrots

Carrots reduce the amount of tooth decay and cavities you may experience. The trick is when to eat the carrots. You should have a small amount of carrots at the end of a meal to help aid in saliva production in the mouth. This production of saliva helps remove debris and get it out of the mouth so it can be digested in the body and removed with other toxins. Not only do carrots help with this at the start of the process, the fiber in the carrots helps move the toxins completely through the body as well.

Cheese and Yogurt

Not only does cheese not stick in your teeth like other foods can, but some cheeses like cheddar and gouda can trigger saliva flow in your mouth that helps to wash away bacteria.  Foods like yogurt and kefir introduce good bacteria into your system which can help you to have better health and can help combat the yucky bacteria that causes tooth decay.  If you don’t and can’t eat dairy, you can usually find yogurt made with coconut milk or almond milk in your grocery store.

Chocolate

This sweeter treat shouldn’t be eaten in abundance, but when looking for a treat, chocolate is better than fruity candies or tart candies that contain enamel-harming citric acid.  We sell a lot of higher-quality brands of chocolate and here are some the brands I love:

Theo Chocolates

Lily’s Chocolate (this brand uses stevia as a sweetener)

To further cut down on sugar that can grow the bacteria that harm teeth, cook healthy, filling meals that are low in sugar and BIG in taste.  We’ve written about meal ideas before, so here are some links to those articles that have recipes:

46 Easy Paleo Recipes You’ll Love

Whole30 Compliant Potluck Barbeque Recipes

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

30 Whole30 Sheet Pan Meals You’ll Love

30 Fall Paleo and Whole30 Recipes

We hope that you’ll have better tooth care as you take care of your teeth and your overall health.  What are some ways you practice optimal dental hygiene?

 

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