5 Awesome Things to Add to Your Oral Health Routine!

Dr. Kyle Hornby

Hi! My name is Kyle Hornby and I'm a Kitchener Dentist. A few times every week, I sit down at my keyboard to write blog articles that help my patients navigate the broad topic of Oral Health. Today, I'd like to share a few tips for elevating your Oral Health routine!

Isn't good oral health achieved by just brushing and flossing?

No way! If you brush at least twice and floss at least once each day, you'll probably be in pretty decent shape over the long term. But, there are many additional things you can be doing to prolong the life of your teeth and gums.

It's important to keep in mind that our teeth and gums (just like our heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.,) aren't meant to last 80-100 years. Luckily, we've found ways to improve our overall longevity and enjoy longer lifespans. But, the simple fact that we're living longer on the same equipment means we have to plan for that longevity. We all want things working well as we age.

If we add on the fact that our mouth influences our overall body health, and vice versa, it underscores the importance of going beyond just simply brushing and flossing.

In fact, we can up our dental hygiene game while positively influencing other systems within our body in a few simple steps. Today, I'd like to talk about 5 simple things you can add to your current routine!

Dental Probiotic Gum

About a decade ago, gut health and probiotics became a real craze (and for good reason!). Think of all the probiotic yogurts that came on the market touting improvements to your gut health.

Well, the bacterial ecosystem is no less important in the mouth. In fact, a select few bacteria species have been shown to contribute to cavities, gum disease and even bad breath.

Chewing probiotic gums can help you to re-balance the bacterial population in your mouth, favouring the success and proliferation of healthy forms of bacteria. This can have a huge impact on your oral health!

Check out your local health food store for dental probiotic gums!

Coconut Oil Pulling

You can "oil pull" with lots of different oils, but coconut oil works best.

The reason is that it provides remarkable anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant activity. Pulling with Coconut Oil reduces the concentration of harmful bacteria in your mouth to treat Gingivitis and Gum Disease.

Additionally, Lauric Acid (an ingredient in Coconut Oil) may help to reduce plaque buildup on teeth. It can also help to destroy S.mutans, the bacteria that causes cavities.

How do you Oil Pull?

If you're going to oil pull, you'll want to do the following:

  • Brush & floss your teeth. If you don't remove plaque and debris from your teeth before pulling, you'll get less contact between the oil, teeth and gums. You'll also want to get your brushing done before you "pull" so that you don't brush away the helpful compounds in the oil you use. So, brush for 2 minutes, floss and then start your oil pull to get the best results.
  • Use 15mL (1 tbsp) of coconut oil. Place the oil in your mouth. Using less than this will result in incomplete coverage of your gums and teeth.
  • Swish for 2-3 mins. Some health Gurus recommend up to 20 minutes of swishing but this is not necessary to reap the health benefits of "pulling" oil.
  • Spit any oil in a compost bin. This is really important. If you oil pull regularly, disposing of it in the sink can gradually clog your drain.
  • Rinse your mouth with water afterward.

Irrigation with a Waterpik or Monoject

For getting between teeth and under gums, most people have been told to floss. While flossing is great and should be a regular part of your oral health routine, floss can leave bits of plaque and food behind.

If you add a Waterpik or Monoject (Elbow Rinsing Syringe), it will give you the ability to vigorously flush water through the spaces between your teeth and under your gums.

If you want a pristine clean every evening, consider adding a rinsing/irrigating device to your oral health routine!

Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

Hydroxy-what? Hydroxyapatite (let's call it HA) is the main building block in tooth enamel and dentin (that's the layer just beneath the enamel). When you use HA Toothpaste, you're feeding your teeth an all-natural ingredient that can help to heal weak spots that may develop into cavities. No cavities means no dental fillings.

HA Toothpaste doesn't contain fluoride but, with an increasing number of parents trying to avoid fluoride, it provides and alternative that still offers tremendous protection for your tooth enamel!

There have also been many reports to suggest that HA Toothpaste is naturally whitening (above and beyond what you get with standard peroxide-based whitening pastes) and can help to decrease tooth sensitivity (much like Sensodyne).

A Mouth Rinse that's actually good for you

Most of the big brand mouth rinses tout their ability to kill bacteria in your mouth, making you healthier. The problem is, their formulations are pretty non-specific, meaning they harm a lot of the good bacteria in your mouth, too.

So, while these rinses lower numbers of bacteria that cause inflammation, tooth decay and gum disease, they simultaneously lower numbers of bacteria that PREVENT the very same things. It's like adding 4 and then subtracting 4, leaving you with zero improvement overall.

Most big brand mouth rinses contain ingredients (even the non-alcohol formulations) that dry your mouth, too. A dry mouth doesn't rinse your teeth and clean your gums as effectively, and can lead to long-term health problems.

So, overall, you'll want to target mouthwash brands that are more aware of the benefits of good bacteria and the harmful effects of a dry mouth.

Risewell, is a U.S. based company that makes wellness-geared oral health products. They offer a mouthwash that provides a good reference point as a non-harmful oral health product.

Thanks for reading today's article! Check us out next week for more great dental health info!

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener, Ontario Dentist

Our Dentist Office is located in Downtown Kitchener. We are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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