Last month, I had my first dental check up in 18 months and I wanted to record my experience – a lot has changed in the last 18 months, in terms of my lifestyle and diet. So here is a report on my current dental health – the dental health of a person whose life has changed considerably for the better.
When I went for my last dental check up, I was smoking 20 cigarettes as day, I was drinking sugar filled white wine, 6-8 pints of coffee a day, I was eating sweet sugary processed foods constantly and I ate lots of jelly sweets. Like all good people though, I brushed my teeth twice a day and swilled with mouthwash – this is enough right?
How Was My Dental Health 18 Months Ago
When I visited the dentist for a check up 18 months ago, the visit resulted in me having a filling because a cavity had worsened and needed refilling, I needed a scale and polish because my teeth were brown (from nicotine and copious amounts of coffee), tartar had collected around all of my teeth and the dentist was considering capping another tooth. Not good right? There is no hiding your lifestyle from a dentist – she knew I smoked, she knew that I was drinking more alcohol than I should have been, she knew about my coffee habit and about my addiction to sugar!! I was shocked. The toothpaste I was using, was the same toothpaste that is widely available worldwide in all supermarkets, and I didn’t always buy the most expensive toothpaste either.
It was just after this visit, that I was told by my physician that I was heading for a fatal heart attack unless my lifestyle improved and when I met my health mentor and began my journey into organic life.
Those who don’t know my story, might be wondering what I changed in order to impact on my dental health.
• I quit smoking – something that I was worried about doing, as when my first wife’s mother stopped smoking her teeth crumbled, leaving her with dentures at the age of 40. My teeth were fine
• I stopped drinking tea and coffee, substituting it for hot water with lemon and ginger. Lemon can help to neutralize the naturally occurring acids in your mouth that cause tooth decay. To have healthy teeth, you need a neutral pH in your mouth – it should be between 6.5 and 7.5 – this is done by eating the correct foods and drinking the correct drinks. I check the pH in my mouth weekly, as it is a good indicator of overall health – papers can be purchased for next to nothing on the internet – and a healthy pH in the mouth means healthy teeth!
• I stopped eating sweets, junk food and processed foods and using refined sugars (sucrose) which meant that I was getting no refined sugars at all in contact with my teeth – these are one of the main causes of tooth decay
• I started eating natural, organic, fresh, whole foods 80-90% of the time – these contain fructose, a naturally occurring sugar that is processed completely differently by the body and does not rot your teeth (despite the popular misconception that the natural sugar in fruits is just as bad as the refined sugar that is in sweets or that you put in your drinks, or which makes up 50% of a can of soda!!) Also eating some of these raw will work towards neutralizing plaque acid and cleansing the surface of the teeth
• I began making my very own toothpaste something that the Egyptians and Aztecs did thousands of years ago and indigenous tribes still do – this is made of just 4 ingredients and is inexpensive to make – sodium bicarbonate, salt, mineral water and peppermint essential oil which is optional. Sodium bicarbonate and salt act to neutralize acid in your mouth some more. This is a gritty paste which works really well to whiten the teeth and clean off any build up of tartar. We also use an organic flouride free aloe toothpaste, which is commercially available and contains no chemicals.The toothpastes most people use contain:
– flouride (contrary to popular belief, this is not good for the body – it is actually a poisonous chemical that was a toxic waste from the production of fertilizers and such like – you only have to do a small amount of research to find out the facts about flouride and they are scary!);
– abrasives which include aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s) and silicon and are known at times to be so abrasive that they damage tooth enamel; detergents the main one being sodium lauryl sulfate which has been linked to many diseases;
– humectants – chemicals to stop your toothpaste from drying out, such as glyceril (if my toothpaste dries out then I just add more spring water!!);
– thickeners such as carageenan (a known carcinogenic);
– preservatives which stop bacteria growing in your toothpaste the main ones being parabens which are known to mimic the effects of estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer – if kept in an air tight container, then my toothpaste will not grow bacteria;
– sweeteners – saccharine is generally used, but it also has a small effect on increasing the likelihood of cavities;
– flavoring – necessary to cover up the taste of the detergents, toothpaste would taste horrible without them – the flavoring in my toothpaste is optional, it tastes fine without it;
– coloring – E numbers, to make your toothpaste blue or green or white – toothpaste would look disgusting without these
Weird isn’t it that something that is so simple and cheap to make for yourself contains so many ingredients, some to counteract the effects of other ingredients and others which damage your overall physical health. If they do this to your body, imagine what they are doing to your dental health – as we saw, some of the abrasives used can destroy the enamel on your teeth. Our abrasive is Himalayan salt, a natural substance that dissolves in water.
• The final thing that changed was, for the month before my checkup, I was doing our cinnamon and honey road test so was drinking a couple of mugs of cinnamon and honey in hot water per day. This has been used (I discovered when I started the road test) for thousands of years by indigenous people for freshening breath and maintaining oral hygiene and dental health
What Was The Result Of My Latest Checkup
My dentist did a lot of “Mmmm” ing and “Aah” ing as she poked around my mouth. She then asked me what I was doing differently – as I said, you can’t get anything past them! So I ‘fessed up – I told her everything that I have listed above, including telling her that for the most part I use my own homemade toothpaste. Her reaction was “Wow!” one of a shaking head and disbelief. She then told me that my teeth were in “better condition than ever before”, they were “the healthiest she had ever seen them” and that my gums were no longer receding and were coming back up the teeth. Tartar build up was virtually non-existent! Vindication that what I am doing is working and that my overall dental health has IMPROVED since I changed my lifestyle.
Still going to use your regular toothpaste?