We can say without a doubt that 2020 was the year of self-care. Self-care went from being a luxury to a necessity. If that’s the case, then why do 53% of Australians only brush their teeth once a day? And why haven’t 65% of us seen a dentist or orthodontist in the last two years? Let’s not even get into the fact that there are around 11 million new ‘holes’ from tooth decay each year.
Yep, we’re not very good at taking care of our teeth. And we really should be – the health of our mouth influences the health throughout the rest of our body. In fact, you decrease your risk of a range of diseases when your mouth is in great shape.
The Latch spoke to holistic dentist, Dr Lewis Ehrlich, to get his top tips on oral care.
Tooth care tip #1: Yes, you need to floss
And yes, that’s in addition to brushing your teeth twice a day. Why is it so important to brush and floss? Because it removes plaque. You know, the pesky little bugger that contains bacteria. The bacteria that then produces acid and causes holes in your teeth
The same plaque “causes gum inflammation, leaving you susceptible to gum disease which, in turn, leaves you susceptible to systemic diseases,” says Dr Ehrlich.
Tooth care tip #2: Get on top of your gums
Gum disease is linked to a whole range of other diseases – most of which you wouldn’t have thought would be related.
“Heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, pre-term births, problems falling pregnant and so much more,” lists Dr Ehrlich. The common denominator in these conditions? Chronic inflammation.
“The mouth is one of the most common places of chronic inflammation in the body.” You keep your gums in good order, you help reduce these risks.
Tooth care tip #3: Book that dentist appointment
First things first, Dr Ehrlich understands. “Even we have our time in the dental chair! It is certainly not the best place to be.”
But you need to focus on how much your health will improve if your mouth is in great shape. And regular appointments are best, as Dr Ehrlich says: “It’s far better to be proactive than reactive.” Ignoring problems, and pushing back appointments, can result in “more painful, time-consuming, expensive treatment”.
Even if you think your teeth are in tip-top shape, remember that a lot of oral diseases don’t actually cause pain, so “never use the absence of pain as your barometer of good oral health,” urges Dr Ehrlich.
Tooth care tip #4: Breathe through your nose
Yep, you read that right – breathing makes a difference. “Breathing through the mouth dries out the saliva, and makes us more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease,” explains Dr Ehrlich.
Breathing through the nose has a range of benefits, including balancing out body chemistry, filtering and humidifying the air, improving circulation through the body…and apparently it’s better for your posture!
Tooth care tip #5: Try a dental detox
If you’re looking to use less plastic in your life, make the switch to bamboo toothbrushes. Grants of Australia use sustainably sourced wild bamboo for their toothbrushes, which come wrapped in recyclable wrapping.
Looking for a more natural type of toothpaste? Grants of Australia sells all-natural toothpaste products that are made from natural ingredients like xylitol, peppermint oil and baking soda.