[Note from Katie: This guest post is from Will and Susan at OraWellness. I found their site and was very intrigued by the idea that over 90% of adults have gun disease and by their products (They even have a different kind of toothbrush!) I asked them to guest post to share some advice about how to maintain good oral health even during the sugar-laden holiday seasons. On a personal note, I've been using their brushing blend for the past month with my Remineralizing toothpaste and the one spot on my gums where food has always gotten trapped and caused irritation finally seems to be completely healed. Their brushing blend also lasts for a really long time and is small enough to travel!]
The Importance of Saliva in Creating Greater Oral Health
Around Halloween and with the holidays quickly approaching, many wonder what we can do to support greater health (including oral health) in our children and our homes.
Here is an easy, quick tool that drastically supports greater oral health while increasing our immunity as well!
Just to make sure we?re all on the same page, let?s cover the statistics according to the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research.
• 92% of adults have tooth decay
• 42% of children have tooth decay
• greater than 90% of adults have gum disease
• 65% of 15 year olds have active gum disease (YIKES!)
So, given these sad stats, what can we do to support our children in creating greater oral health for their lives?
How saliva benefits oral health…
Saliva is the way teeth remineralize!
There is such a buzz about remineralizing teeth in the whole real food movement today.
What is important to note is that the teeth are remineralized through the saliva being washed over the teeth! Clearly, we must have sufficient nutrition in our diet in order to have the necessary minerals present in the saliva to support remineralization. That said, saliva plays a key role in remineralizing the teeth.
The benefits of increased saliva production for the prevention of tooth decay are well established. Whether you believe general dental theory that decay occurs due to acids from bacteria in the mouth digesting sugars or prefer the theory most recently brought to light by Rami Nagel in his book, Cure Tooth Decay, tooth decay occurs when there is an imbalance between the demineralization of the enamel surface and remineralization produced by the return of mineral ions into enamel.
The frequent stimulation of saliva, especially after the intake of sugars, will help to dilute and buffer plaque acid, bring extra mineral ions into the plaque fluid and thereby promote remineralization.
Saliva reduces the bad bugs that cause gum disease and tooth decay…
Research shows a clear relationship between the fact that saliva production declines with age and the fact of an increased risk of gum disease with age. Saliva has present within it a whole host of ?first responders? for our immune system.
For example, lactoferrin is one compound naturally found in saliva. Lactoferrin is part of our innate immune system and is one of our key front lines of defense to help us live healthy lives. Lactoferrin binds iron in the mouth and thereby deprives the ?bad bugs? that cause the damage of gum disease of the iron necessary for them to flourish.
Enzymes also play a key role in creating greater oral health. Of the salivary enzymes involved in maintaining the ecology of the mouth, one of the first to be recognized was the enzyme lysozyme, which appears to work by destabilizing the cell wall of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Saliva re-establishes healthy pH in the mouth…
To maintain an optimal oral ecology is really key in creating greater oral health. While we can most effectively address optimizing the pH of the mouth through immune supporting protocols like a nutrient dense diet, restful sleep, and healthy coping tools for stress, saliva clearly plays a key role in the actual mechanism of establishing what the pH of our mouth is going to be at any given time.
How to increase saliva production…
The principle “Use it or Lose it” applies when discussing saliva production. We must exercise our ability to produce saliva or suffer the fate of a dry mouth and the ails that come with decreased saliva production.
While we can eat to produce more saliva, the extra benefits to our health of the increased saliva are offset by the main job of saliva during eating, to begin the digestion process. Therefore, let?s discuss a strategy how to increase one?s saliva production without eating.
Mouth Probiotics! (AKA Exercise your spit!)
Step 1: Gather any saliva in your mouth into a pool on your tongue. Now using the musculature of the throat, draw the saliva back and forth from the back of the tongue to just behind the front teeth then back again several times (we recommend 30-50 repetitions). With practice, this action will increase the amount of saliva present in the mouth.
Step 2: Once you have a large pool of saliva on your tongue, give your teeth and gums a bath with your increased saliva! We call swishing with saliva ?swashing? because it?s like you are swishing and washing at the same time. Swash with the increased saliva for a minute or two then swallow it down and let the saliva now support greater digestion in the stomach!
This is such a simple technique even young children can do it. This video explains more:
An interesting side note, we hear from many customers who use our OraWellness Brushing Blend as an organic toothpaste alternative that they are surprised by the increase in their saliva production for hours after brushing. Not only does the blend of organic essential oils effectively stop the bad bugs and help re-establish a healthy mouth pH, it also increases saliva production!
So, give Mouth Probiotics a try and share this simple technique with your family. Doing so can help everyone navigate to greater oral health through the coming ?sugar seasons?.
J Dent. 2005 Mar;33(3):223-33. Epub 2004 Dec 19.
Health benefits of saliva: a review. Dodds MW, Johnson DA, Yeh CK.
About the authors: Will and Susan Revak are the founders of OraWellness. They began their journey to creating greater oral health in their own lives over 15 years ago. Check out Susan’s story how she reversed the damage of advanced periodontal disease.
OraWellness offers tools and educational products to help you take control of your oral health using organic ingredients and inexpensive natural solutions. Chronic bad breath, bleeding gums, and other signs of oral imbalance can be a thing of the past. Whether you are looking for gentle, effective daily care or a complete solution to effectively address oral imbalances (even advanced gum disease!), OraWellness can help. Learn more at www.OraWellness.com.
Full Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links and I do receive a small commission if you buy through those links, however I received no compensation for this post and recommend these products because I use them myself and enjoy them.
How do you keep your teeth healthy over the holidays? Let me know below!