Updated: Sep 15, 2019
‘Oh, are you health conscious then?’ asked our new and bouncy young dentist and crinkled her nose in disapproval. I don’t think she was aware she did that.
It was time for the 6 monthly check-up (which, in typical shabby parenting style was more like the annual check-up, but in my defence our old dentist had closed shop), and the preceding statement about my daughters tooth care had been “….and of course you use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.”
We don’t, and before I get to why, X-rays were taken and everything was declared perfect. “There is a little shadow on this tooth here though. We best not wait until the next check-up, what we’ll do is, we’ll make an appointment and drill a whole into the tooth to make sure it is healthy,” bouncy dentist continued.
After an initial nod of agreement in the face of all the whiteness and super bright lights and young voice of authority, my brain cells started working again. Did she really just suggest that we drill into a perfectly healthy tooth just in case? Fact is: Coco’s teeth are pearly white, strong, in perfect health and she only ever had one cavity when she was about 7 and hid a stack of sweets in her bed room. Unlike with many of her peers, the tooth fairy always found intact little treasures under her pillow to be replaced with a precious coin.
The truth is, that all is not well in the land of modern dentistry. We brush, we floss, we gurgle, and yet, root canals, extracted teeth and a staggering number of cavities and crowns show that dental decay is still just as prevalent as it always has been - we have just become better at fixing it.
As Nadine Artemis writes in her book ‘Renegade Beauty,’ our mouth is the principal portal into our body, with the endocrine, immune and digestive systems intimately bound to the microbiome of our mouths. Our teeth are living things, and yet we treat them like little rocks that should be hardened, filled with metal, replaced or removed just in case they may have a problem in the future.
Dental diagnosis varies greatly, depending on where you live, where your dentist studied, and what their personal beliefs are. Just google the article by the Journalist William Ecenbarger, who visited over 50 dentists with the same mouth and x-rays, and received estimates varying from $700 to $19.000 to have gum surgery, crowns and veneers. The one molar that actually needed fixing was missed by 15 of the 50 dentists.
The reason I am hesitant about fluoride, is that the US Environmental Agency has fluoride on its ‘substantial evidence of neurotoxicity’ list. When we are told that it strengthens the bones, it actually makes them brittle: Side effects include crumbled teeth, acne, bleeding gums, sclerosis, dementia, gastritis, thyroid disease, joint pain, tooth discolorouration, reduced IQ and there is strong evidence that it calcifies the Pineal gland. Want that in your mouth, daily? Councils throughout the UK added Fluoride to the water, but over time silently removed it in most areas.
I have very soft teeth, and a bicycle accident that sent me head first into a wall at the age of 7 killed my brand new front teeth, which are now crowned. But I still don’t think I need to put poison into my mouth (most toothpastes state that they are harmful when swallowed, and many reportedly even contain micro plastic beads). Our kids are old enough to make a choice, and the results are clear: By choosing not to use fluoride, we have not done any damage to our oral health, quite the opposite. Twice brushing and flossing are essential, and here are some great healthy habits to add to your daily tooth care:
This is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a teaspoon of coconut or olive-oil (try ozonated olive oil) in your mouth for up to 20 minutes. This action is said to draw out toxins in your body, improve oral health and to improve your overall health. I usually manage about 5 - 10 minutes daily, while doing chores. Don’t swallow the oil afterwards (you just drew out lots of toxins from your mouth flora, you do want to get rid of those), but spit it into a bin to avoid it hardening in the U-bend of the sink (coconut oil is solid below 25 degrees). Read this article on Wellness Mama if you want to find out more.
Activated charcoal is a fine and odourless black powder that is often used in emergency rooms to treat overdoses, as it has toxin absorbing properties. It is widely used to whiten and clean teeth, and you can buy charcoal tabs that you first chew and follow up with a thorough brush. To me our excellent oral health is enough reason for me to continue using it, and although there is not a lot of scientific back-up for this theory, we love brushing our teeth with it just to enjoy the black foam.
HOME MADE MOUTHWASH
Use any of these oils, up to 5 drops each in spring or distilled water. Mix and store in a glass mason jar:
PEPPERMINT or SPEARMINT promote digestive and respiratory health, add for fresh breath
LEMONGRASS, which in one 2015 study was found to be more effective than traditional chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducing plaque and gingivitis levels.
LEMON, to aid whitening
TEATREE, helps fight bacteria and gingivitis and eases inflammation
CLOVE oil has antioxidant properties, and supports fresh breath and gives support when you have an inflammation.
If you need a little sweetness, add a teaspoon of liquid stevia.
Shake the jar, take a mouthful, gargle and spit out as you would do with any other mouthwash. Helps support and clear gingivitis and keeps your mouth flora healthy without destroying all the good bacteria.
As a family we love OnGuard, doTERRA’s protective essential oil blend, and prefer the taste to traditional minty toothpaste.
Above all, make up your own mind. I yet have to find a dentist who will agree that fluoride is a neurotoxin, and that it is worth looking into alternatives. The tooth fairy would disapprove.
To learn more about dumb dentistry, I recommend this podcast by Luke Storey.