While many of us ponder how we might be able to hit the reset button on 2020 and restart these turbulent and unsettling few months all over again, there does seem to be one very important and significant lesson we can all take from a global pandemic and that is that there really is no wealth worth having more than our health. Our health is the most important possession we own.
In the light of these surreal and very uncertain days, we find ourselves living through, it is fair to say we are being given the opportunity to make our health our priority and to be kind to ourselves, humanity and the planet in ways we have never been gifted before. A little kindness really does go a long way and has the power to create inner strength, balance and harmony for our body and around the world. That is why we are going to take a look at how strengthening the mouth’s defences and being kind to a very delicate and intricate body part, our mouths, can be an important preventative measure for long-term health.
Our mouth or oral cavity is the entry point to our digestive and respiratory tracts and like other areas of the body is teeming with both good and bad bacteria. That’s right, our mouths have their very own microbiome, in fact around 100 billion bacteria, the same as the number of stars in the galaxy! The bacteria act as a natural defence system against oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Meaning our mouth really is a window into what’s going on in the rest of your body, often serving as a helpful vantage point for detecting the early signs and symptoms of systemic disease.
There is no denying that brushing and flossing daily prevents bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease as well as helping you keep your teeth, as you get older. But isn’t it about time we started being a bit kinder to our mouth by avoiding harsh products that kill all the good and bad bacteria in our mouth.
Our oral microbiome is influenced by many factors as we travel through life.
From the food and drink we consume and busy modern lifestyles we lead, we often forget just how susceptible our good bacteria are to sugar and synthetically derived ingredients, illness can lead to mouth ulcers, pregnancy weakens our gums and ageing can give us a dry mouth. Maintaining a healthy oral microbiome helps to protect your mouth, whatever it goes through, while also boosting your immune system, aiding digestion and defending against disease.
Here are 10 helpful tips on how to boost your inner strength, starting from your mouth:
1. Eat nutrient rich foods, in their natural form
Eat a variety of natural whole foods. Avoid processed foods that may contain added sugars.
2. Increase your clean water intake
Replace soft drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices with still, clean water. Also, be careful with sparkling mineral water, as it is very acidic and a common cause of dental decay.
3. Brush your teeth at least twice a day
Use a soft-bristled brush using a clinically proven toothpaste that respects your oral microbiome such as Zendium. Zendium toothpaste is not only microbiome friendly but it also supports the oral microbiome with its prebiotic benefit, boosting the good bacteria that protect the mouth naturally, and reducing the bad bacteria that cause dental problems.
4. Don’t just brush, floss as well!
Flossing well is an important skill to cultivate as we need to take the floss underneath the gums. It is the bacteria that live underneath the gums that cause the most inflammation and damage to our mouth and overall health.
5. Use a 0% SLS foaming agent toothpaste
Strong tasting toothpastes, which use harsh antibacterial and high foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate may irritate the delicate tissue in our mouth. Using a product such as Zendium which has a prebiotic effect, is kind yet effective to our mouths, with naturally derived active enzymes and proteins that our mouth uses to protect itself.
6. Get into a good sleep routine
This starts with getting to sleep before 10.30pm. Avoiding blue light from smart phones and other devices at least 2 hours before bed is also paramount. Similarly, avoid filling up on warm fluids before bed, as you are more likely to wake to go to the bathroom.
7. Practice good nasal breathing during the day and while you sleep
Your tongue should be at the roof of your mouth and you should be breathing through your nose. Mouth breathing at night leaves you more susceptible to snoring, sleep apnoea, respiratory infections, tonsillitis, tooth crowding and decay (via drying out your saliva). Work on your breathing by practicing yoga or attending breathing classes.
8. Vacuum your bed once a week
With a HEPA filter vacuum and put a dust mite cover on your mattress. If there is a constant irritation to your sinuses and tonsils during sleep, you may get into bad breathing habits which will cause the same issues as discussed in tip number 7.
9. Practice oil pulling
Pop a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around the mouth for approximately 15 minutes. This is best done first thing in the morning. The fat in the oil ‘pulls’ plaque from underneath the gums. It can help to reduce gum inflammation, decreases your chance of developing decay, fights against bad breath and it is also a good natural alternative for tooth whitening.
10. Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings
We can all use the power of kindness and create inner strength, even in oral hygiene! By eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to getting seven to nine hours of sleep daily (with our oral hygiene rituals before bed), we can boost our inner strength by following a mindful lifestyle that is kind to the body and mind.
Kimberly Parsons is an Australian born vegetarian chef, food writer and qualified naturopath. Her series of cookbooks titled ‘The Yoga Kitchen’ and ‘The Yoga Kitchen Plan’ teach you how to tune-in to your innate wisdom which she calls ‘body intelligence’ using traditional yogic philosophy and eating principles for long lasting, vibrant health and happiness. Once the owner of three healthy food yoga café’s dotted all over London, called ‘Retreat’, Kimberly now spends her time cooking on health retreats all over the world and resides in the English countryside where she cooks for many celebrity and private clients such as Lily James and Jenna Coleman, delivering her bespoke Yoga Kitchen healthy meals to her clients all over London. Connect with on her website.
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