“THIS IS THE BEST THEY’VE EVER BEEN!!!!!!!!!!”
Those were the EXACT words of my dental hygienist after she peered into my mouth, during my visit to see her this week (yesterday) and checked my teeth and gums. Yes, she was THAT enthusiastic about it.
My teeth and gums are now officially, “… so clean, I don’t have anything to do!!” Yes, those were her words again.
I was really happy and still am. It’s been 6 months since the last time I saw her.
She looked so baffled for a while. She kept saying, “I don’t understand.” while she poked and prodded my gums and teeth looking for plaque to extract. After 6 months, she expected that I would have accumulated at least some plaque but perplexed she said, “I can’t find anything!”
She even asked me what my dental routine was and if anything had changed because she was having such a hard time finding plaque she was “questioning (her) own eyesight”.
You don’t know how happy I am, much to the dismay of my hygienist – she cheered when she found a tiny bit of plaque. “YES!!! I got some!!! FINALLY!!!”
It’s great when someone loves their job so much that she’s slightly offended when you turn up and don’t allow her the privilege of doing it!! Hahaha
I’m sure anybody would be happy to hear this kind of news but none more so than me. You see, this was 3 years in the making!! It sounds like a long time but then again, how long did it take for the periodontitis to develop?
After all, I suffered from severe “toothache” for at least 2 years before it became completely unbearable and by that point, the gum infection was so bad it was almost eating away at my jaw and I had a big cyst growing in my gum too. Yup, that was my point of unbearable that made me go see the dentist.
There was nothing wrong with my tooth but the gum around it was pretty much infected and so swollen that the tooth had to be extracted so that the area with the biggest infection (and the cyst) could be cleaned out and given room to heal.
I was in a lot of pain, my gums bled all the time, they were very inflamed and they had receded to a point where I now have a huge gap between my two front teeth and slightly smaller gaps between all my teeth, when I didn’t have gaps before.
Initially, thinking it was gingivitis, the dentist told me to use Corsodyl for my toothpaste and mouthwash to help heal the gums. I used it for as long as I could, to no avail. Not only did my gum problems remain, my whole tongue went black!!! Literally, black and the periodontist had to be called in.
This gum problem didn’t happen overnight. This was years and years of poor dental hygiene. Oh I brushed my teeth, thank you very much but for all my good intentions, I wasn’t doing it properly.
Not until after I lost my tooth, did my mum tell me that we have a family history of bad gums so I was “genetically prone” to gum disease. Someone like me needs to take extra care when dealing with their gums!!
Thanks mum for telling me AFTER the fact!! So, the outlook for my gums to ever be healthy, were not good. I was told that it was going to take a lot of work.
After that entire ordeal and given my age (too young to be losing teeth), I was put on the dental surgery watch list and had to visit the periodontist and the hygienist, every 3 months, each for an entire year (They would call me and send me letters to make sure I booked in!). That’s 8 visits to the dental surgery in the year after my tooth extraction!
In the second year, I had to visit the hygienist every 4 months and the dentist every 6 months. I didn’t have to see the periodontist anymore.
Now in the third year, I’m back to normal and off the watch list and back in the good books, with only the normal half yearly visits. With each visit, I got better and better feedback and it seems, my teeth and gums are now the best they’ve ever been!! YES!!!
So what’s the routine? How did I do it naturally? Here’s everything you need to know:
Morning – Oil pull
Evening – Brush, Floss, Tongue Scrape
That’s it. The hygienist looked at me funny when I said I only brushed once a day which made me think I should up it to twice but after seeing my teeth and how clean they were, she said, “Well, if you’re doing it thoroughly, I guess once a day is enough!”
So, here’s how you do it all (thoroughly):
You will need 1 x spoon (we use a teaspoon) and coconut oil.
Get a spoon full of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 20 mins and then spit it out.
You can read up on it elsewhere for more detail (there are books on this process) and I think you’re supposed to use a tablespoon of oil but my mouth ain’t that big, so 1 tsp is enough for me. Also, you can use different types of oil but we like to keep it simple and use coconut oil for EVERYTHING.
The long and short of it is, the oil is supposed to pick up all the toxins and bacteria in your morning-breath mouth and then you expel it all when you spit it out.
The bacteria collected by the oil will be the type that likes to infect your gums and sit in/make your cavities, plus the toxins you’ve been emitting during your sleep. ie all the stuff you don’t want in your mouth!
We oil pull first thing in the morning, every morning.
You will need 1 x electric toothbrush and my special homemade toothpowder 😉
I used to use normal/manual toothbrushes but when you have bad gums, you’re just not going to do as good a job as the electric brush and you need all the help you can get!
This is the one thing that made a huge difference to my gum health so if you don’t have one and you have bad gums, get an electric toothbrush NOW!!! It’s worth the investment – it will be a lot cheaper than the cost of tooth extraction! Believe me, I know!!
To brush your teeth, simply wet the brush head, dab it quickly into the toothpowder and you’re ready to brush.
The trick here is to BRUSH YOUR GUMS and not your teeth. Angle the brush so it’s brushing that section where your gums hold onto your teeth. The brush will massage / vibrate / jiggle the gum so anything (no matter how small) that’s sitting between the gum and tooth will come out.
You don’t want ANYTHING to sit between gum and tooth, the relationship between your gum and tooth must be tight!!! If you let anything get in between there, it festers and it’s all over red rover – the hygienist will have a field day. That festering is what causes your gums to bleed.
The periodontist told me to concentrate all the time brushing, on the gums and if I want to, I can use the last few seconds to go over my teeth but it wasn’t necessary.
How many years had I spent doing it all wrong by spending all my brushing time on my teeth?!! I wish someone told me this a long time ago. I really do. Now, you’ve been told!
Another thing to note is that if you have a small mouth like me, you must find a toothbrush head that is small enough to fit all the way to reach behind the very back teeth!
As for the toothpaste / powder. We don’t use store bought toothpastes anymore because after my tongue turned black and I couldn’t taste anything for a week, I decided to opt for a more natural approach to my gum health.
I’ve been changing and tweaking my toothpowder / toothpaste recipes for the last 3 years and we’ve been using a certain recipe which I thought was awesome for about 6 months prior to this one but it has caused staining / yellowing of our teeth over time, so since it turned out not so awesome, I’ve tweaked it again.
This one I’m sharing with you now is the one that’s got the best result so far (as per my hygienist’s comments above), minus the two ingredients which I suspect were most likely to cause staining.
Put all of the following ingredients into a pestle and mortar and grind until it becomes a fine powder and mixes evenly, then put the powder into an air tight container. I use an old lip balm container that has a screw top lid.
1/4 tsp bentonite clay
1/2 tsp himalyan salt
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/8 tsp stevia (leaf powder)
2 drops clove essential oil*
3 drops peppermint essential oil*
*I made sure to find ones that were food grade and FDA approved for ingestion. Even though we’re not swallowing it, we’re putting it into our mouths! If at any point you do accidentally swallow, then all the ingredients are edible.
** Note this is a POWDER not a paste so it won’t bubble in your mouth or even be the consistency or taste of your normal toothpaste in the slightest. If using for the first time, expect something very different. It will taste salty (I put the stevia just to mellow the salty taste), a little grainy until it melts, with a hint of mint. You get used to it after a while.
This powder will last 1-2 months (maybe more) because you don’t need much at all. As mentioned, just dab a wet toothbrush head onto it and whatever sticks to the toothbrush is all you need.
While I was researching different ingredients I noticed people would get all crazy about using bicarb because it’s harsh on the tooth enamel. When you see how little is used on the brush and the fact that we’ve been doing this for 3 years and our dentists have told us both we have zero cavities and healthy teeth and gums, from personal experience, I wouldn’t worry about it.
I use interdental brushes. They look like tiny bottle brushes and are what you need to use if the gaps between your teeth are too wide for floss.
Tips – Use a back and forth motion approx. 10 times per gap.
Use a mixture of floss and different sized interdental brushes depending on the size of the gaps between your teeth. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to interdental brushes. For myself, I have 4 different sized interdental brushes!!
You seriously need to test all the different sizes and use the size that fits perfectly. How do you know which that is? Try one size and if it’s too big (it bends when you try to push it through the gap), use the size just below. If you push the brush and it easily slides through your tooth gap, you need a bigger size. You push the interdental brush into the base of the gap (at the gum line).
Make sure you brush (interdental) / floss YOUR GUMS. The goal is to get any bits out from between your gum and teeth that the toothbrush missed (as per my comments on brushing). The interdental brush must fit snuggly into the gap so it brushes your gum and the bases of both teeth, on each side of the gap, all at the same time. The floss must slide between your gum and the tooth you’re cleaning.
My dentist recommends dental tape over floss, I can’t say from experience because as mentioned, I use interdental brushes. If you try to use the smallest interdental brush and it just bends because it doesn’t fit in the gap, then use floss/tape.
We use a tongue brush to get rid of any residue left on the tongue before a final rinse. This doesn’t contribute to healthy gums but I mention it because it’s part of our oral health routine.
These days, if I’ve ever been naughty and lax in my dental hygiene and my gums start bleeding (eg. several late nights falling asleep without brushing, sleeping over at other people’s places without your toothbrush, eating lots of chips and sugar and not brushing for whatever reason like that time when Rome rabbit chewed through and severed our toothbrush charger wire so our toothbrush ran out of batteries), I pretty much can stop the bleeding and get them back to healthy and normal within 24-48 hours just by doing what I mentioned above.
I’ve been considering making a mouthwash but after you’ve cleaned your tongue and when you feel how clean your teeth are, a mouthwash really is not that necessary. All you’ll really need it for is to get a burst of minty fresh!
Perhaps I’ll make one just for fun.
A note if you’re just starting out / need to get back on track:
I’ve noticed that the gum bleeding and pain reduces faster, if you add a drop of clove oil into the coconut oil you use for oil pulling and oil pull using that mixture, twice a day.
For severe gum pain, rub a drop of clove oil directly onto the gum before you go to bed (as mentioned, use food grade/ingestible essential oil that is safe to put directly onto skin) and the inflammation and pain dies down / is gone by morning.
Perform all the above dental routine twice a day until your gums stop bleeding (usually 24-48hrs for me) and then you can reduce to once a day.
Note that at the beginning, the gums will hurt and they will bleed so the feeling will be to avoid rubbing them with brushes but you must persist with it. When I brush or floss (interdental brush) and the gum bleeds or is painful, to encourage myself to continue, I imagine that the blood is pushing the gunk out with it which is a good thing!
Just know that if you continue to oil pull, brush and floss (interdental brush), every day, twice a day, the gums will be a little less inflamed each time and eventually, they will have no more gunk to push out and they will stop hurting/bleeding.
Lastly, if it doesn’t work within 24-48hrs, visit the dentist/periodontist so they can monitor your current state and progress.
I used to hate seeing the dentist because it hurt every time they prodded in my mouth, I thought I had sensitive teeth/gums but that’s the whole point, it’s actually not supposed to hurt at all.
When your gums are healthy, they won’t bleed and the dentist prodding with their sharp metal tools, doesn’t feel like anything but pressure!
So if you’ve been struggling with your gum health, I really hope this helps you get it back to healthy and if you’re currently experiencing gingivitis or periodontitis, it takes work but you can fix it. There is hope!!
All you need are the right tools and technique! I might have taken close to 3 years but that’s because I was experimenting with various oils and recipes for toothpastes and toothpowders and getting tooth brushing lessons from my periodontist and feedback from my hygienist on whether my tooth paste was working!
You now have all of the information, for the things that worked, in one spot so should be sorted within days/weeks!
I’ve specifically not put any brand names, sizes or types of brushes that we use (as you need to work out the sizes for yourself), or brands of ingredients used but if you want that information as a point of reference or if you just want to use the same stuff we do, feel free to ask.
If you do try this, let me know how it works for you. I’d be really keen to hear how you get on and how slow/quick it takes.
Right now, all Tones and I have had is each other and our periodontist, dentist and hygienist and 3 years of experimenting on ourselves experience for feedback but since it’s worked for us, I really think it can help others which is why I’m sharing the info.
May you now have naturally healthy teeth and gums!! ❤