At their healthiest, the interdental (in-between) areas of our
teeth have an angle and a deeper pocket. Floss is an important
tool to remove plaque and food debris in these areas. In
my years of practicing dental hygiene, I have noticed that
people do not floss correctly, and this causes more problems.
A result of improper flossing is a cut on the gum tissue. Or,
if people snap the floss, they cut the gum tissue and inflame
the area. So do not snap the floss.
It is important to get in between the teeth and floss in a
natural way. Products such as floss infused with natural
herbs are easily obtained in health food stores. While floss is
a treated string, if it contains natural herbs, it can assist in
directing the herbal ingredients into the space between the
teeth. Natural ingredients directed into areas that collect
food and bacteria can assist in reversing gum disease naturally.
So make sure you wrap the floss around the tooth
under the gum.
To floss properly here is what you should do: Take
approximately six to eight inches of flossing material from
the container and wrap the floss (string) around your fingers
comfortably, not too tight. Then gently wrap the tooth in a
“C” shape. Remember, you’re not just removing the food
particles, but what you are doing is breaking loose plaque
pedicles. Plaque attaches to the tooth and calcifies into tartar.
So gently move the six to eight inches of the floss under
the gum line and around the tooth. Proceed to the next tooth and apply the same procedure, remembering to wrap the
floss around the tooth in a “C” shape.
The mouthwash used in my office is Bioforce Echinacea, an
herbal mouthwash. It is a natural holistic composition of
herbs that contains echinacea. Echinacea has been found to
be a good wound healer for the oral cavity. I use it during
gum cleansing. The mouth needs to be healed and soothed
from time to time, and echinacea is soothing to the gums and
can be used for prevention of soreness. It can help reduce
fungus in your oral cavity, a cause of gum disease. I tell my
patients to alternate it with water in an oral irrigator. It helps
to moisturize and soothe the gum tissue while the action of
the irrigator is at work. The mouth constantly needs to balance
the pH level. Stress and spices added to foods alter the
pH of the mouth. To stimulate the gums, put a drop of
mouthwash on your toothbrush and massage the tissue.
Other natural mouthwashes on the market are fortified with
goldenseal, another herbal extract.
There are many natural mouthwashes, and most of them
can be found in health food stores. Some contain baking
soda or coenzyme Q10. Research shows that the use of
CoQ10 can reduce gum disease. You can buy this product in
capsules. Open a capsule and then apply the material on
top of your toothpaste, or drop the powder into a liquid to
make a rinse.
Red roses are more potent than any other colored rose
(white, yellow, pink, violet, etc.). Rose petals have a large
amount of vitamin C and will strengthen the gum tissue. If
you have any red roses in your garden, gather up some of the
petals that have fallen off the rose. Put the petals in a bowl
and pour boiling water over them. Once the water has turned
a deep rose color, you can use it for a mouthwash. You can
also buy rose tea and prepare the tea as a mouth rinse.
Burdock root can destroy a number of microorganisms that
are responsible for gum disease. Prepare a concoction with
one teaspoon of the root simmered in a cupful of water for
fifteen minutes. Use it as a mouthwash, swishing it inside
your mouth and holding it there for a few minutes at
Natural Mouthwashes versus Commercial Brands
Sir Joseph Lister, who discovered the medical benefits of
antiseptics, invented Listerine in 1879. Listerine originally
was used as an antiseptic for cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and
dandruff. You can find these same claims on the bottle today.
In 1921 the company found another use for the product—
thus the slogan, “Remember, nothing exceeds halitosis as a
social offense. Nothing exceeds Listerine as a remedy.” Due
to the social connotation of bad breath and the smart advertising
of Listerine, product sales increased. Despite its
medicinal taste, this mouthwash still holds its own in sales.
Today the company has colored the product with dye and has artificial ingredients in its composition. Rinses with
dyes only mask breath odor. It is better to work on the real
causes and help eliminate them. The mouth is always filled
with bacteria, and when you are ill or eat certain foods the
bacteria in your mouth multiply. Listerine may kill certain
bacteria and at the same time may harm your delicate tissue
with the chemicals and dyes in the product. The mouth
should be treated like the skin on your face, and a gentle
daily herbal rinse is preferred.
One cause of halitosis is the anaerobic bacteria that lie
under the gum and also cause gum disease. Using peroxide
in an oral irrigator can help eliminate the anaerobic bacteria
under the gum. Peroxide is oxygen water, and oxygen is
needed under the gum. However, if used as a mouthwash, it
is not as effective. You must take precautions too with using
peroxide as a mouthwash; it can be very caustic to the gum
tissue over a long period of time (ten to twenty years of daily
use). Alternate peroxide with an herbal mouthwash and sea
salt, using them in a water pick.
Do toothpastes feed tooth enamel and gum tissue, or do they
just taste good to motivate patients to brush? Toothpaste
manufacturers often advertise their toothpaste as either cosmetic
or therapeutic. However, I have examined the ingredients
in most of the big commercial-brand toothpastes. My
findings were that most products contained the same ingredients
but were just packaged differently.
Sweetened oral hygiene products will become less popular
as people get the message, “Don’t eat sweets.”
Also, on the packaging for most toothpaste there is a
phone number for poison control written on the tube of
toothpaste. Few people take this message seriously. If the
companies are writing this on their tubes of toothpaste, then
they must have a real reason for doing so. I would rather use
a good-quality natural herbal toothpaste that does not need
to have this warning.
Used for dental health and gum care, this toothpaste not only
cleans your teeth without being abrasive, but also feeds your
gum tissue. Echinacea is extracted from several species of
plants commonly called purple coneflower. Dr. Gerhard
Madaus was the researcher who imported echinacea seeds
from North America to Europe and scientifically studied
them and found that they had immunostimulating properties.
Echinacea is known to help heal surface wounds. It also
helps heal gums that are sore and irritated.
Rosemary is found in the evergreen shrub and helps stimulate
the blood flow in gum tissue. I find it works well on people
who have receding (shrinking) gums. It activates the
metabolism of the outer layer of gum tissue and improves
cell regeneration. It is important to remember that tissue
regenerates itself, so if you have receding gums, with the
proper care and hygiene this tissue will grow back and
become healthy in time.