So, if you read a previous post in regards to my homemade toothpaste efforts, you’d know how much of a fail that was.
Here’s a recap:
I wanted to make a natural toothpaste. I googled some recipes and I used a mixture of coconut oil, peppermint essential oil and baking soda the first go-around. No good. I later tried a second time, this time adding xylitol (a natural sweetener) and trace minerals (to strengthen the teeth) to the mixture. Still no good. I was simply trying to brush my teeth without using fluoride and other weird chemicals, and I ended up having some sort of strange tooth sensitivity that didn’t exist prior to my experimentation. I went back to Sensodyne toothpaste for a while, which got my teeth back to feeling normal again. But I wasn’t satisfied, knowing that I was back to using chemicals, so I began to explore again, and I think I’ve found a routine that works for me.
Here are the steps I now use twice a day on a daily basis:
STEP 1: OIL PULLING
I use coconut oil for oil pulling. Oil pulling has many benefits for your mouth as well as overall health. I bought a big container of coconut oil and I fill a small mason jar with it so I don’t have to keep the huge container in the bathroom cabinet. I don’t like the texture of solid coconut oil, so I use a coffee cup warmer to melt it first. I’ve read that it’s good to oil-pull for at least 20 minutes or so and I’ve found that for me, it works best if I do this during my morning shower. I’ll put some of the liquid coconut oil in my mouth and get in the shower. While I’m in the shower, I’m swishing the coconut oil and pulling it through my teeth, being careful not to swallow it. The coconut oil works by pulling the impurities out of your teeth and mouth, so you definitely don’t want to swallow it. Once my shower is finished and I’m done oil-pulling, I spit the oil out in the trashcan, because apparently it can clog drain pipes. Then I’m ready for the next step.
STEP 2: FLOSSING
After I spit out the coconut oil, flossing is the next order of business. I floss my teeth as much as I can. I actually like doing it. To me, it just goes hand in hand with brushing. I’ve never been good at getting my fingers in my mouth with traditional string floss, so that’s why I use this one with the handle. It has disposable floss that is easily attached and removed.
STEP 3: BRUSHING
Once the flossing is complete, it’s time to brush. I use a toothbrush with soft bristles. For me, the medium and hard bristles are just too much (it hurts). I’ve gone back to Tom’s fluoride free toothpaste and I like it. I emphasize the “fluoride free” part because Tom’s was bought out by Colegate, and some of Tom’s products may now contain fluoride. Fluoride seems to be great for your teeth, but I’ve read studies that show that there are correlations between excessive fluoride and certain health issues that occur later in life.
STEP 4: RINSING
After brushing, I use My Magic Mud oral rinse. I researched various kinds of mouth rinses and felt comfortable trying the one pictured here. I had heard about the benefits of charcoal…but initially I was confused. How can something like charcoal be healthy for your teeth? How can charcoal be used to whiten teeth? And the person who discovered this phenomenon…what were they doing?? Chewing on charcoal?? It just didn’t make sense to me…but that was all the more reason for me to try it for myself. I went to The Vitamin Shoppe and found a charcoal mouth rinse. There were 2 flavors: a mint flavor and a cinnamon flavor. I personally like the mint flavor better because it’s milder than the cinnamon flavor. The cinnamon flavor tastes good, but it has that “Listerine effect,” if you know what I mean.
STEP 5 (SORT OF…): TONGUE SCRAPING
This isn’t a step per se, but it definitely deserves an honorable mention in my oral health routine. It’s a tongue scraper and this one has small, plastic bristles on it that you rake across your tongue to clean it. Oral care is more than just brushing and flossing your teeth…don’t forget about your tongue! If you’ve never tried it I’d suggest you give it a go and see how you like it. For me, once I did it the first time and saw what actually came off of my tongue, it was enough for me to decide to add it to my repertoire permanently. I’ve heard of some people doing it daily, but once or twice a week works for me. When I use the tongue scraper I do it after brushing and before using the mouth rinse.
- It took me a LONG time to work up to 20 minutes of oil-pulling. I just wasn’t used to it! I started with 2-3 minutes, then 5, then 10 and so on until I got to 15-20 minutes. Most of the time I’m in the 15-20 minute range, and I’m comfortable with that. Give yourself time to adjust, especially if you have texture issues, and remember that some time is better than no time at all.
- I know some people who don’t floss because it’s uncomfortable. If this is you, take some time to peruse the floss aisle and see all the different types of floss that exist. Find the one that works for you! Same goes for toothbrushes and mouth rinses.
- I do most of my shopping at Target and this was the only type of tongue scraper that I saw there. I’ve watched different YouTube videos and apparently there are various types of tongue scrapers to choose from on Amazon.
- Give yourself time to do the dental routine before you go to bed. When I first started this routine, I would forget to allow myself 15-20 extra minutes to do the oil-pulling before bedtime, but by then I didn’t want to spend 15-20 minutes doing it…especially if I was really tired. I have to remember to give myself enough time to do it at night, since I try not to skimp on the oil-pulling time. Now I’ll do the oil-pulling while I’m cleaning up the kitchen for the evening, or while I’m preparing juices/lunches for my husband and myself for the next day.
*I’ve started to make a conscious effort to use less plastic, so once my products are ready to be thrown away, then I want to look for more environmentally friendly products, like bamboo toothbrushes and stainless steel tongue scrapers.*
So here’s my new dental routine!! I’m no dentist, and I’ve learned what works for me by trial and error, but if you were looking for a natural, healthy routine to incorporate into your day, feel free to start with this one! Or leave me a comment and let me know what worked for you! I’m always up to try new things!