It’s safe to say that most of us know the basics of oral hygiene, right? Brush your teeth twice a day – morning and night – and floss. While the first part may be easy to do, many of us fail when it comes to the latter. But we shouldn’t! Flossing is the best way to ensure that you’re getting rid of plaque in hard-to-reach places, which minimises your chances of developing cavities and gum disease.

Plus, when you get to do it with a clear conscious by using a 100% plastic-free silk floss, there’s really no excuse!

While flossing can take you pretty far with oral hygiene, here are a couple of other tips to help add some extra sparkle to your smile!

Switch to natural products

Apart from tasting minty and fresh, what do most commercial toothpastes have in common? They contain fluoride, a highly contentious ingredient that has sparked much debate in the wellness industry.

The mineral is, of course, also widely present in drinking water around the world, as a late 1800’s studies proved that it helped combat tooth decay.

However, as with any pro, there is sure to be a con. And fluoride seems to have quite many. For instance, there is proof that it’s more toxic than lead and almost as toxic as arsenic. It also may contribute to a range of health problems, including:

  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Acne
  • Early puberty in girls and lower fertility
  • Neurological problems, such as ADHD

While most healthcare professionals would dismiss any concerns about the levels of fluoride in toothpaste, if you’d rather not take any chances, we’re fortunate enough to live in a time where natural oral hygiene products are experiencing a revival!

And, they’re just as effective (not to mention much less harmful to our bodies and the environment) than your favourite commercial brands. Here are a few tried and tested Faithful to Nature favourites:

Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing oil around in your mouth for a prolonged period of time to help remove bacteria, promote oral hygiene and assist the body in detoxing.

It is also said to help keep teeth white and sparkle, reduce the risk of cavities, improve gum health and freshen breath. All you have to do to reap these benefits is dedicate the first 5 – 20 minutes of your morning (directly after waking up) to swishing one tablespoon of oil – in the Ayurvedic tradition, sesame oil is preferred, but coconut oil has become relatively popular for the practice in recent years – around your mouth. If this sounds a bit odd, you can also try one of these:

Be patient with yourself – if you can’t do a full 20 minutes to start off with, don’t worry! The important thing is to make it a consistent part of your morning routine. Also don’t swish too vigorously, as this will make your jaw tired – a gentle action is more than fine. Once you’ve finished swishing, DO NOT spit the oil out into the basin or toilet, as it may harden and clog your pipes – spit it into the dustbin instead.

Read more about oil pulling in this article.

Invest in an Ayurvedic Tongue Cleaner

Complement your oil pulling routine by investing in an Ayurvedic Tongue Cleaner.

All you have to do is gently slide the tongue cleaner over your tongue from the back to the tip before brushing your teeth. This will remove the coating on your tongue, which will help remove bacteria, detoxify and fight bad breath.

Whiten your teeth with activated charcoal

If you aren’t using a toothpaste with added activated charcoal yet, you can easily incorporate it into your oral care routine yourself! All you have to do is gently dip your toothbrush’s damp bristles into activated charcoal powder, add
your toothpaste and brush as you normally would.

Disclaimer: things tend to get a bit messy with activated charcoal, so be very careful and don’t even think of wearing any of your favourite garments (or anything white) during the brushing process. 

Despite the messiness, brushing with activated charcoal can help absorb plaque and other compounds that are know to stain teeth, thus leaving you with a whiter, brighter smile!

Keep some bicarb handy

Ever had the toothpaste run out before it could even be added to the shopping list? That’s okay! It happens to all of us… and it will probably happen again at some point.

So, next time, instead of going into a frenzy to get hold of some minty freshness, simply dip your toothbrush into some bicarbonate of soda and get the job done. It will leave your teeth feeling clean and your mouth feeling relatively fresh. Do remember to buy toothpaste the next day, however, as bicarb isn’t enough to keep your teeth healthy on its own!

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