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    Original Content

    “Calling All Mouth Breathers - It’s Time to Shut Your Mouth!”

    It’s time to check in on how you breathe - are you a mouth breather or a nose breather?

    Breathing is such a natural thing, and you do it subconsciously - in-out, in-out, all day and night long. It’s a part of your daily needs, something that is valued but not always considered. But how we breathe (i.e via nose or mouth) can adversely affect our health. Yes, it turns out that our bodies were actually designed to breathe through our noses.

    If you are a mouth breather, you may be interested in the ways that mouth breathing can cause certain health issues. Read on to learn how this could be so...


    Lowered Nitric Oxide Levels:

    Nitric oxide is produced in the sinuses. Increased levels of nitric oxide in the body enhance memory and learning, regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, increase strength and endurance, and improve immune function. The body produces 25% of its nitric oxide through nose breathing. When you breathe through your mouth, you miss out on all the benefits of this powerful gas.


    Increased Bacteria:

    The nose hairs, adenoids, turbinates, and mucous membranes in your sinuses make up a very compact and effective in-body filtration system in your nose. When you breathe through your nose, the bacteria you breathe in from the air is filtered out through this system. When you breathe through your mouth, however, all these toxins are not released back out and stay in your body.


    Dental Decay:

    Mouth breathing increases the bacteria in your mouth, stimulating dental decay. Breathing through your mouth can dry the saliva that is supposed to protect your teeth. Since saliva acts as a natural mouthwash, clearing away debris from food and noxious agents, and neutralizing acids, the absence of it can lead to the decay of teeth.  


    Snoring:

    Breathing through the mouth during sleep is associated with loud snoring. This happens because of the way breathing is regulated by the nerves in the nasal passages. An area of the nose known as the nasal mucosa is a sensor for inhaled air, and when nasal breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa sends stimuli to the breath-controlling reflex nerves. When mouth breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa does not send these stimuli to the reflex nerves, and this can result in an irregular breathing pattern - snoring.  


    Posture:

    How you breathe can negatively affect your posture. Correct posture is when all your bones are aligned in the best possible way. Having correct posture comes with a huge list of health benefits including;

    • Muscles being used effectively and properly
    • A decrease of the stress on the ligaments
    • A decrease of back and muscular pain,
    • An increase in energy
    When we breathe through our mouths, we throw off proper postural alignment and increase the amount of tension around the neck, head, and jaw, which can also lead to headaches and migraines.

     

    What Can You do About it?

    A common fix to encourage nasal breathing is to tape your mouth shut when you sleep - no we’re not kidding! Alternatively, you could try using a nasal clip to widen your nasal passage and increase air flow. Breathing and meditation exercises that focus on breathing through the nose can also help. But since mouth breathing is sometimes caused by a medical condition it’s a good idea to see your doctor first.  

     

    Read These Seven Tips Your Dentist Probably Hasn't Told You [HINT: One of Them Involves Tape]

    Dentists and Dental Hygienists are a wealth of knowledge and information. And when it comes to getting sound advice about the care and health of your mouth, teeth, and gums they are certainly the people to ask.

    However more often than not, our short 6 monthly visits (if that) do not give these professionals enough time to bestow all their wisdom on you before you run out of their treatment room - because let's be honest - you can’t wait to see the back of a dental clinic.

    While most of us know the basics - brush twice a day, floss regularly, don’t eat hard candy, etc - some of what doesn’t get said in the dentist chair because of time (and you high-tailing it out of there), can actually be game-changing for the health, longevity, and shine of your pearly whites and overall oral care.

    So here are 7 tips your dentist more than likely hasn’t gotten around to telling you...


    Tip 1 - Grind Your Teeth? Try to Correct Your Breathing

    Ninety-five percent of us don’t have the room in our mouths for all of our 32 teeth. Not having enough room in your mouth narrows your airways and the amount of oxygen you breathe in and out. Research is widely supporting that teeth grinding is strongly linked to breathing sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea. Therefore working on how you breath can greatly reduce teeth grinding which results in wearing and cracking of the teeth, broken fillings, headaches, and sore jaws.

    But how do you learn to breathe “the right way”? Read on.

    Tip 2 - Forget Mouthguards - Tape Your Mouth Shut...Seriously!

    Learning to breathe through your nose might be difficult for some. However, when you breathe through your noses you stabilize your body chemistry. It also improves sleep and evens out your breathing. When you are breathing optimally for body function, grinding of your teeth is significantly reduced.

    Taping your mouth shut while you sleep will help you practice the art of nose breathing and bring regularity back to each breath. So forget expensive mouthguards and grab yourself a roll of Micropore tape for a few dollars and give it a go!

     

    Tip 3 - Too Much Fluoride Can Damage Your Teeth

    While fluoride can harden your teeth too much of a good thing can be detrimental.

    Things to know about fluoride; it’s neurotoxic, it can affect a child’s IQ, it can be a problem in young male bone development, it’s been linked to bone cancer, it affects thyroid function.  

    There are much better and safer ways to maintain strong, healthy teeth that won’t put your overall health in jeopardy - try oil pulling or remineralizing toothpaste as an alternative to fluoride.


     

    Tip 4 - You Must Spend More Than 2 Minutes Brushing Your Teeth

    A real and thorough cleaning of the surface of your teeth takes more than the usual 2 minutes on average a person spends brushing his teeth in the morning. In fact spending at least 4-5 minutes brushing twice a day is the recommended time it actually takes to make a difference.

    However, to utilize this time effectively, ditch the idea of scrubbing your teeth. Plaque is super soft and will only be removed via soft polishing strokes of your toothbrush. So, when brushing think about polishing and massaging your teeth and gums rather than moving your brush back and forward rapidly (i.e. scrubbing).  


    Tip 5 - Getting Mouth Ulcers? Avoid Grains

    Mouth ulcers (aphthous ulcers) are an autoimmune response and are common for a lot of us. Grains produce a protein called zonulin. When too much zonulin builds up in the body, it can cause a leaky gut. (when undigested food particles, partially digested food particles or toxic substances seep through the gut lining into your blood, causing all sorts of problems) This then results in a whole range of autoimmune conditions.


    Tip 6 - Sugar is Not Your Only Enemy

    Your dentist tells you to cut down on sugar - and he or she is absolutely correct. Sugar creates a welcoming environment for bad bacteria to nest, reproduce, and cause tooth decay. However starchy food such as bread and pasta, as well as acidic citrus foods like lemons and grapefruit can have the same harmful effect on your teeth.


    Tip 7 - Opt For a Non-Toxic Toothpaste

    Did you know that most toothpaste contain substances that you would never want to ingest like sodium lauryl sulfate and fluoride? Try using a toothpaste that is non-toxic or try brushing with an oil blend which is good for you and can be more effective than a regular tube of toothpaste.

    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

    Method:

    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

    Method:

    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.