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    Original Content

    Want to Know the Real Secret to Healthy teeth?

    Let’s open the fridge to find out the connection between what we eat and our oral health.  

    Concerning your oral care routine, are you an avid brusher, flosser, and mouthwash swisher? If you answered  ‘Yes’ then that’s fantastic! You are to be commended for maintaining an important daily ritual for overall health.

    As someone concerned with optimal tooth shine, do you want to know how you can bump your smile up to the next level?

    Here’s a clue - “you are what you eat”.

    Did you guess it?... Yes, by eating certain foods you can enhance the health of your teeth, fight off nasty disease-causing bacteria, and help them shine as never before.

    How Can Food Improve Our Oral Health?

    There is a strong connection between what we eat and our oral health. In recent years a growing body of research is finding that certain foods can help prevent cavities, freshen breath, and even whiten teeth.

    It’s a well-known fact that our bodies need certain nutrients and minerals to aid different systems - think calcium for strong bones or iron to lower blood pressure. Our teeth and mouths are no exception.

    There are specific nutrients and minerals that help our teeth and gums. So let’s now take a closer look at these teeth enriching elements and the sources for them in whole foods.

    Foods Rich in Calcium & Phosphorus:

    Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth made up of minerals. Food and beverages high in sugar and acid may cause the enamel to erode over time. To keep enamel strong we need to put minerals back into the tooth and restore what was lost. Research has shown that calcium and phosphorus are the best helpers for building and maintaining strong tooth enamel.

    Eating food rich in these will keep our teeth to be strong and healthy.

    Best food sources - cheese, milk, yogurt, seafood, tofu, and almonds.

    Phosphorus-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, fish, brazil nuts, red meat, eggs, tofu, and broth.


    Firm Crunchy Foods High in Water:

    Saliva is the best way to neutralize the bacteria that causes cavities. When we chew we produce more saliva. Eating firm crunchy foods high in water will increase saliva production. In addition, the texture of these foods serves as a cleaning mechanism, and in effect, the chewing motion gently removes and clears away dental plaque and food particles.

    Best food sources - celery, apples, cucumbers, and carrots (all raw).  

    Foods Rich in Vitamin D:

    Vitamin D has a whole list of health benefits. The main reason it is credited with maintaining healthy teeth is that it aids the absorption of calcium.

    Best food sources - The sun is the best source of natural vitamin D (Sorry you can’t eat it, but you can step outside and allow that delicious sun to absorb into your skin), fish, egg yolks, and cod liver oil.

    Foods Rich in Vitamin C:

    When it comes to our teeth, vitamin C (aka ‘vitamin powerhouse’) can strengthen blood vessels, and reduce inflammation helping our gums to stay healthier.

    Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is needed to fight periodontal disease.

    Best food sources  - oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.

    Foods Rich in Antioxidants:

    If nutrients where celebrities then antioxidants would have an A-list status. Antioxidants help protect gums and other tissues from bacterial infection and cell damage. This is because antioxidants fight the bacteria that cause inflammation and periodontal disease.

    Best food sources - apples berries, grapes, tea, nuts, and beans.


    Foods Containing Probiotics:

    Our bodies have both good and bad bacteria. When we intentionally ingest good bacteria, we call them probiotics. There is emerging evidence that shows that probiotics may help decrease plaque and help gums stay healthy.

    Best food sources - yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and other fermented foods.


    So here it is oral health-care enthusiasts - the real secret to healthy teeth!

    We have looked at how adding certain foods that contain important minerals and vitamins in our diet can help towards beautifully clean and shiny teeth.

    Eating well in addition to brushing our teeth regularly is a surefire way to achieve this goal.

    So next time it’s grocery day, how about adding a few of these plaque expelling, gum disease fighting foods to the shopping list.

    How to Use Essential Oils to Treat Oral Thrush

    Candida albicans is a fungus typically found in the intestinal tract, colon, and genito-urinary tract. Every human body has candida, and when found at a healthy level, candida assists the body with the absorption of nutrients. However, candida can overgrow in the body causing a range of health issues such as digestive problems, fatigue, mood swings, and skin and nail fungus infections, just to name a few.

    What is Oral Thrush?

    An overgrowth of this fungus can occur if the body becomes too acidic or is under a lot of prolonged stress. It can also occur due to various medications such as antibiotics - or other perscriptions that lower the immune system, uncontrolled diabetes, hormonal imbalances, dentures, or a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates. Candida will most often manifest itself either in the mouth or the vagina.

    Oral thrush or oral candidiasis is the name given to candida overgrowth presented in the mouth. In this blog, we are going to discuss how essential oils can help with the treatment of candida that manifests in the mouth.

    Do I Have Oral Thrush?

    Symptoms of an overgrowth resulting in oral thrush can include;

    • A creamy white coating on the tongue
    • Oral inflammation
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Loss of taste
    • Oral mucous

    These symptoms can be uncomfortable. The good news, however, is that research has found that essential oils possess the components needed to stop Candida in its tracts.

    What Are Essential Oils?

    Essential oils are derived from plant sources - either the leaf, root, bark, flower or fruit.

    The oils extracted from these sources have been used since ancient times to treat and prevent various ailments, and are widely believed by cultures around the world to be a tonic and potent medicine for the mind, body, and spirit.

    With the popularity of holistic medicine blossoming in recent years in America, essential oils are gaining a much-deserved spotlight as an alternative to pharmaceutical and chemical counterparts for treating and aiding various health issues and concerns.

    How Can Essential Oils Help With Oral Thrush?

    There are many strains of candida, all of which can adapt themselves to become resistant to antifungal medications that aim at killing off the targeted strain of candida. However, many studies are proving that essential oils are useful at targeting these resistant strains. This is likely due to variabilities or inconsistencies between one batch of essential oils and the next.

    In other words, unlike highly controlled and chemically identical anti-fungal drugs, the chemical makeup in one bottle of essential oil will be slightly different from the chemical makeup of the next bottle.  A bottle of antifungal tea tree oil derived from one tree will have a slightly different plant chemistry then another bottle of tea tree oil derived from a different tree. This makes it hard for the candida to adapt and become resistant to the essential oil.

    Which Oils Target Oral Thrush?

    Scientific research has found a range of essential oils that contain powerful anti-fungal properties that can be used to fight off candida and other types of yeast infections.

    When it comes to oral thrush essential oils of clove, tea tree, peppermint, thyme, and lavender have been shown to effectively treat oral pathogens including Candida Albicans.

    How to Use Essential Oils for Oral Thrush

    It takes a great deal of plant matter to produce just a small amount of essential oil. These oils are, therefore, extremely potent and need to be used with caution and care.

    Here are 2 topical DIY recipes we recommend that are safe for adults to try at home.

    #1 Coconut Oil Pulling

    What you need:

    1 tbsp Coconut oil

    3 drops organic clove oil


    Mix 1 tbsp of coconut oil with 3 drops of organic clove oil and stir until creamy. Swish the mixture in your mouth for about 10 minutes. Make sure you hit all areas of the mouth as you swish from side to side. When 10 minutes is up, spit it out into the trash and rinse mouth with water.  (NOTE: do not spit down the sink or you risk clogging your pipes) Do this once a day in the morning before eating until symptoms subside.

    #2 Antifungal Mouthwash

    What you need:

    2 tsp salt

    2 drops of clove oil

    2 drops of tea tree oil

    1 drop of oregano oil

    1 cup water

    Glass bottle


    Carefully pour the salt into your glass bottle. Then add your essential oils. Pour in 1 cup of warm water, close the bottle tightly and shake until all the salt dissolves. Use this as you would a mouthwash (do not swallow).  

    Before buying your essential oils do your research first. Only properly distilled oils retain a therapeutic level of phytochemical content so make sure you choose high quality, organic essential oils that were safely processed to ensure no traces of chemicals or pesticides can be found in them. This will ensure that the oils are safe and effective to use orally (though not internally). 

    The essential oil recipes found in this blog are intended for topical application only. We do not recommend the internal use of essential oils. If you do intend to use essential oils internally, please consult a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare practitioner.

    How to Have an (Almost) Zero Waste Oral Care Routine

    When we think about our oral care routine it may be easy to feel there is little connection between how we care for our mouths and how we care for the environment - but this simply isn’t true.

    In an average American lifespan (75 years), a person will throw away 300 standard toothbrushes.

    To look at it another way - a single standard toothbrush weighs about 0.63oz, each of us will throw away around 12 pounds of standard plastic toothbrushes in our lifetime.

    Let’s think about that figure on a global scale - there are 7.6 billion people in the world, collectively we will generate 91 billion pounds of plastic toothbrush waste in our lifetimes.

    A standard toothbrush is made of nylon bristles and a hard plastic handle and usually is sold in a plastic package. While the advancement of the toothbrush design to its current form has been great for aiding more thorough teeth cleaning, the materials they are now made from cannot be properly recycled. These petroleum products do not biodegrade, if incinerated they release toxic chemicals into the environment and suck up valuable fossil fuels.

    These facts certainly make us look at our humble toothbrush in a different light.

    Brushing our teeth daily though is the best way to fight against tooth decay and oral disease. Fortunately, we don't have to choose between the health of the planet and the health of your mouth. With just a few environmentally friendly changes to our oral care routine, we hold the power to positively impact the environment, while still maintaining beautifully shiny teeth.  

    Let’s now look at how we can make simple changes to our oral care routine to help lower waste, and make that first step into a more conscious, zero-waste kinda life.

    # 1 - Your Toothbrush:

    There are a lot of options out there for recyclable toothbrushes. The most environmentally friendly is the bamboo toothbrush. This toothbrush is made from bamboo which is a biodegradable material and is quickly becoming a renewable resource. The bristles are BPA free, and while not biodegradable they can be recycled.

    We have come to love Brush with Bamboo, even the packaging is biodegradable. They also have a fantastic short-video about the life of a toothbrush, which is definitely worth a watch.  

    #2 - Your Toothpaste Tube:

    Homemade toothpaste is surprisingly easy, cost savvy and more importantly, it means you can reuse the container you made it in - no more throwing out toothpaste tubes. Here is a great toothpaste recipe from DIY Natural. The recipe is made up of 3 ingredients and takes just a few seconds to make.

    If making homemade toothpaste is a little bit daunting then opt to buy toothpaste that is packaged in recyclable containers such as glass jars.

    # 3 - Your Dental Floss:

    Traditional dental floss containers are rarely recyclable or recycled. The floss itself is sometimes coated with a chemical contaminant that helps it glide through gums more easily but means the floss cannot be recycled.

    If flossing is too big a thing to give up, then when it is time to buy a new reel, try refillable dental floss made of 100% mulberry silk. We like the ones from Package Free. They are made from mulberry silk floss and coated in vegan candelilla wax.

    # 4 - Your Mouthwash:

    Much like toothpaste tubes, we can reduce plastic wastage by making our own mouthwash. It’s super easy and leaves you feeling pretty stoked at yourself for making your own environmentally friendly, AND very effective mouthwash.

    Again, the recipe from DIY Natural is great - it’s just 3 ingredients, it can be made with your eyes closed, and it won’t burn your mouth like conventional mouthwashes. Made in a mason jar, which can be reused again and again.  

    Jumping into the deep end and going 100% zero-waste with an oral care routine might be too overwhelming for some, if so then start off small. Try changing one thing, such as using a biodegradable toothbrush, then over time slowly change the other items until you are at zero or minimal waste.

    In the meantime choose to use a recycle company such as TerraCycle who are committed to recycling unwanted toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, dental floss containers, and the packaging they come in. They turn them into plastic lumber and other types of consumer products. To recycle your toothbrush and similar plastic items all you have to do is mail them to TerraCycle using the instructions on the website.

    At the start of this blog, we showed the environmental impact the humble toothbrush is having on our earth. Just imagine if we all made that simple switch to a biodegradable toothbrush and what a positive impact it would have on our environment. Better still it can help us to think a little bit more deeply about what we are using on a day-to-day basis and the consequences - because it is the things we do today that will make an impact on our tomorrow.

    What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Health?

    Stand in front of a mirror. Stick out your tongue. Have a long hard look. Why am I making you do this odd little exercise? Because examining your tongue is something many people don’t take the time to do, yet this small little exercise can be like looking through a viewfinder to get a glimpse of your overall health. What you see on your tongue can tell you a range of different things - from simple things, like that you may have a vitamin deficiency, to indications of significant health threats like cancer.

    Ok, so now I have your attention. Are you ready to compare whats going on on your tongue with the following signs? Grab your hand mirror, get comfy at your computer, and read on.

    This may get a little graphic, so if you are the squeamish type, please read with caution.

    Does your tongue have a white coating or white spots?:

    Oral Thrush:

    A white “cottage-cheese-like” coating on your tongue could mean you have a yeast infection. When this develops inside the mouth, it is referred to as Oral Thrush. It can lead to taste disturbances, pain, and discomfort, and indicates a weakened immune system. Either a yeast or fungal overgrowth can cause oral thrush, the most common being candida overgrowth. Antibiotics can cause this overgrowth to occur.  When you take an antibiotic, which selectively kills off bacteria, it can allow yeast, which is not killed by antibiotics, to take over,” says Dr. Dale Amanda Tylor, MD, MPH, General, and pediatric otolaryngologist at Washington Township Medical Foundation. Oral thrush is mostly seen in infants and the elderly or people with a weakened immune system. It can’t be treated with over-the-counter medicines, so see your doctor if you feel you may have a yeast infection.


    A condition where thick white patches form on your tongue and inside the mouth.  It is mostly caused by tobacco smoking. While it is not inherently dangerous in itself and often goes away on its own if you quit smoking, it can be a precursor to cancer. If you notice signs of Leukoplakia, then see your dentist right away for a full evaluation.

    Is your tongue a bright red color but you haven’t eaten a bowl of beets?:

    Vitamin deficiency:

    A bright red tongue could indicate you are deficient in vitamins B12 and iron.

    “Vitamin B12 and iron are needed to mature papillae on the tongue,” says Naomi Ramer, DDS, director of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital. “If you are deficient in those vitamins, you lose those papillae, which can make your tongue appear very smooth.” Being low in these vitamins can also cause a host of other symptoms such as low energy, anemia, heart palpitations, muscle weakness, and more.

    Geographic tongue:

    Geographic tongue is used to describe a tongue that looks like a bumpy terrain. This is a very normal and common condition. Affecting between 1-14% of the population in the USA. The cause isn’t known, but links have been drawn to taste buds: “Taste buds sometimes can randomly shrink away,” says Dr. Tylor. “They can regenerate, so some go away, and some don’t.” Typically geographic requires no treatment and will go away on its own, however, if it’s giving you pain, see your local GP. He may be able to prescribe anti-inflammatory steroid paste or antihistamine paste.

    Is your tongue black and hairy?

    This could mean you don’t have the best oral hygiene regime and you just need to give your mouth a good old scrub.

    “We have papilla, small bumps on the surface of our tongue, which grow throughout our lifetime,” explains Ada Cooper, DDS, an American Dental Association consumer advisor spokesperson and practicing dentist in New York City.  Papillae are a lot like hair; they can grow long making them more likely to harbor bacteria. When the bacteria grows, it can cause the tongue to look black, and the overgrowth of papilla can take on a “hairy” appearance.

    A black hairy tongue is not common and most of the time can be corrected by practicing good oral hygiene and care.

    Is your tongue sore and bumpy?

    Canker sore:

    Aka mouth ulcers are punched out sores either on the tongue or inside the cheeks. The exact cause isn’t known, but these lesions are common in people who are run-down, stressed, or have a viral infection. They can be very painful for the first 4-5 days but will slowly disappear within 2 weeks.  Treatments include gargling warm salt water, and eating soft foods until the swelling does down. Also, over the counter, anti-inflammatory creams can help manage the pain.

    Oral cancer:

    Persistent red lesions on the tongue that don’t go away can be a sign of tongue cancer. Get this checked out immediately by your GP. “With tongue cancer, you often think of an older, unhealthy person,” says Dr. Tylor. “But if you’re young and healthy and you have these, it doesn’t mean you’re OK. I’ve seen it in a 17-year-old girl.” Even if you have no pain still get it checked out as many oral cancers don’t cause pain in the early stages.

    Ok so it's time – get in front of that mirror, stick out your tongue and look for the signs. If all is well, give yourself a pat on the back and get on with your day. If you see something a little worrisome then don’t wait to act, take the steps needed to correct the problem, after-all the tongue is a mirror to your health.

    Could Your Teeth Be The Reason Why You Can’t Get a Good Night's Sleep?

    Glorious sleep. We love it when we get eight hours of it (though this is becoming rare for most). Are you the kind that groans when the alarm goes off, clumsily hitting the snooze button because it feels like only ten minutes ago your head hit the pillow? Or are you of the kind that sleeps solidly and wakes up ready to conquer the world?! If you identify more with the former group - waking up sleep-deprived, and the only thing coaxing you out of bed is the idea that in a few minutes you can down a cup of coffee that is going to give you that needed jolt to start the day! Well, I’m here to tell you that while this may be common it is not normal.

    There are many reasons why you may not be getting a good night’s sleep. One reason that may not have occurred to you, is that there may be a link between the quality of your sleep and the condition of your mouth and teeth. Here are just some ways your teeth could be the culprit of not enough Zz’s when the lights go out.

    Teeth Grinding and it's Relationship to Deep Sleep

    Teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw (sometimes referred to as Bruxism) can occur unconsciously as we sleep. There are many reasons for teeth grinding, such as TMJ disorder, stress and/or tension in the surrounding muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders, to name just a few. Continuous teeth grinding or jaw clenching can result in the flattening of teeth and the wearing down of tooth enamel, it can also lead to exposing the tooth's root. How can this interrupt sleep?

    Basically, the body goes through five sleep cycles every 90 minutes. Across these 5 stages, we go from very light sleep (stage 1) to very deep sleep (stage 4), then lastly to REM (rapid eye movement stage) aka our “dreaming-time” stage. Stage 4 of this cycle is where our body “should” completely relax. The body rebuilds muscle and tissue, recharges cells, and preps us for the day ahead. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Teeth grinding can interfere with this stage of sleep, not allowing the body to do its restorative work. Therefore when that dreaded alarm clock blares, you feel like you are just as tired (if not more so) than when your head hit the pillow.

    Crowded Teeth and Jaw Misalignment Can Be Linked to Sleep Apnea.

    Sleep apnea is a disorder that can temporarily cause a person to lose the ability to breathe. The person will wake up briefly to restore breathing. These waking moments are brief in duration (a few seconds at most) but can have a dramatic effect on a person's health by interrupting their precious sleep cycle. Crowded teeth and jaw misalignment can obstruct airways and stifle breathing during sleep leading to the side-effect of sleep apnea.

    Gaps in Your Teeth and a Swollen Tongue Interfere With Breathing

    Gaps in your teeth may indicate that you have a tongue thrust. Tongue thrust refers to the tongue pressing up against the teeth or between them while swallowing. We swallow thousands of times a day, in the case of tongue thrusters, the tongue moves inappropriately to the sides, rather than forward to the teeth. This then leads to gaps and misalignment of the teeth. Improper tongue positioning can also occur while the tongue is at rest, in which case it may lie too far forward forcing the person to breathe through their mouth. This obstruction to breathing along with misalignment of teeth can lead to constant interruptions of sleep during the night.

    So, What Can be Done?

    If you feel you fall into one of the categories above, and think your mouth/teeth are causing you a bad night's sleep, what can be done to help you? Regular visits to the dentist will help monitor any signs of teeth grinding or jaw clenching. If a pattern is perceived by your dentist then he can recommend a course of action for you. Remember too, that teeth grinding can be a side-effect of muscular tension or excessive worrying, so look at the complete picture to ensure you can break the habit for good.

    If you feel you suffer from sleep apnea, a visit to your local GP can help put you on the right path. He may suggest a sleep clinic, which will monitor your sleep patterns and give you a more rounded picture of your sleep cycle to best find out the cause of your sleep issues. If obstructions to your breathing pathway, such as those caused by jaw misalignment, crowded teeth, or tongue thrust, are shown to be the cause of your sleep apnea, then a referral to an orthodontist or orofacial myologist may be advised.

    Here we have looked at how issues with your teeth can be the reason for a less than perfect nights sleep. Getting a good night's rest is absolutely vital to our lives and our overall health. So don’t endure one more sleepless night, go and see your local dentist today. The sooner you do the sooner you can get to that glorious feeling of uninterrupted “Zz’s” as you wander off into dreamland.