Good oral health, select your weapons

In our mouths are bacteria galore. What is a good oral health regime which will combat the baddies, but not obliterate the goodies?
Our mouths, teeth and toothbrushes are full of hundreds and hundreds of bacteria. This bacteria feasts on the food particles on our teeth. As a by-product of this feasting acid is produced, and it is this acid which eats into the enamel on our teeth, creating cavities. The bacteria are also responsible for the smell caused by the release of a sulphur compound.

So let’s declare war on the bacteria in our mouths.

A good oral health regime includes mouthwash, brushing, and flossing. So let’s start with the mouthwash.

Using a mouthwash would not be sufficient on it’s own, but as part of a plan it can be really effective in conquering bad breath and promoting oral health. Mouthwash can be used before brushing, after brushing, or both, and can be used after meals as an added extra. The important thing is to keep the mouthwash in your mouth for around a minute and not to swallow it. Do this morning and evening and the war has begun. Mouthwash on it’s own only eliminates the bacteria for a short time, but it does get into the crevices where bacteria may hide really effectively.

Which mouthwash?

Even though you are wanting to kill bacteria, try to avoid the use of harsh chemicals and alcohol. Alcohol free mouthwashes are preferable. A good natural mouthwash may be based on aloe vera, xylitol which strengthens teeth enamel, natural peppermint or Salvadora Persica extract which can soften the plaque prior to brushing. The Weleda medicinal gargle and mouthwash is a particularly good choice if you feel you need something medicated. This mouthwash/gargle helps sore throats, tender gums and mouth ulcers as well as doing the trick with bacteria. Another fantastic product is the Dead Sea Magik Fresh ‘n White which doubles as a toothpaste and mouthwash – it is based on the minerals from the Dead Sea and has antiseptic properties. Try to avoid the mouthwashes which include saccharin or sugar as these are really a contradiction. Take a look at the recommended range of mouthwashes.

Brush for 2 minutes
Sorry if it sounds like I’m teaching my granny to clean her teeth, but I never realised before researching this just what a war against bacteria was going on in our mouths. Giving our teeth a good brush is the crucial factor. The aim: to remove all food particles and all bacteria hiding in the nooks and crannies. Brushing for 30 seconds or so is not enough so really dig out those baddies from every surface of your teeth.

Toothbrushes and tongue cleaner

When selecting your toothbrush you may want to consider the ionic toothbrush, the most scientific solution to tooth cleaning. Normal toothbrushes rely on friction and the abrasive ingredients of toothpaste to remove the plaque but ionic toothbrushes can work without toothpaste. Ionic toothbrushes temporarily change the magnetic charge of the tooth enamel and the plaque so that the plaque is attracted to the bristles of the brush and is removed easily. Unlike electric toothbrushes there is no noticeable movement or vibration, but there is an imperceptible current running through the toothbrush which causes the change. They are really effective. The brush lasts for several years and changeable heads are available. No charging or battery replacement necessary.

The ionic toothbrush has been seen to be really effective in the removal of plaque (the main cause of bad breath and gum disease) and is suitable even for sensitive teeth.

Another little gadget is the tongue cleaner. Sounds revolting doesn’t it? Not as revolting as the many many bacteria which house themselves in your tongue between the taste buds. So, to get rid of them try the tongue cleaner, which is really effective, or give your tongue a good scrub with your toothbrush regularly.

Which toothpaste?

Toothpastes act as an abrasive and lubricant to aid the cleaning process. What goes into the toothpaste on top of these factors varies enormously and a great selection of toothpastes are now available. Natural toothpastes abound but here are a few to note: Aloe Dent Sensitive is made with aloe vera juice flavoured with natural peppermint. A good choice if you experience hot and cold sensitivity. Aloe Dent also do one of the best ever toothpastes for soothing and whitening which combines all the health properties of aloe vera and tea tree with the whitening properties of silica. Dentie is a product the Japanese developed before anyone thought of toothpaste. It is made from charred eggplant and sea salt and is available as a powder and a paste. Dentie is probably the most natural option ever if you are wanting to avoid nasties but still hit the plaque head on. Green People are hot on great natural pastes and include children’s, sensitive and fennel (a brilliant alternative flavour to mint varieties).

Should you choose a toothpaste with fluoride or without fluoride? Conventionally fluoride is thought to be good for your teeth, but there are concerns about the side effects of too much fluoride. (Also some people are intolerant to fluoride). This is a big debate which I won’t go into, but both are available from the toothpaste range. There is even a women’s toothpaste which not only includes excellent natural ingredients you would expect in a toothpaste, but includes black cohosh, sage, red clover, horse chestnut and agnus castus – all great for natural balance, all in a toothpaste.

There are salt toothpastes, and gel toothpastes, ratanhia toothpastes (soothes and naturally strengthens the gums) and eucalyptus toothpastes, just too many to mention. Take a look here to select the paste of your choice, and then just brush (not too hard but thoroughly) for 2 minutes twice a day.

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