Have I mentioned that I’m finally reading this book? I’m around one quarter in and thoroughly enjoying it. One of the mentions that I found interesting is the reminder of Joe Pilates’s interest in all aspects of hygiene, especially the skin. (I have a couple posts about skin care in the works). On the topic of holistic care for the body, I’ve been getting to know a lovely lady in our area, Rupam Henry. Rupam offers our community a beautiful selection of herbal supports for optimal health. Given Rupam’s professional experience in dentistry she has become a great support for locals who are interested in caring for their teeth and gums in the most natural, and appropriate way. I’m eager to share what I’ve learned on the topic of teeth from Rupam and I look forward to learning more.
As has been the case for me with the use of natural products, the more I learn, the more zealous I become. I’ve come to think that there is something particularly enriching about using naturally based products that truly honor and support the healthy function of our bodies because I’ve noticed that the more I know, the more pleasing the experience is. In the case of brushing my teeth, the more I know, the more enthusiastic I am at every instance of brushing. It seems a little funny to me that using Rupam’s tooth soap and learning from her has made me such a tooth brushing fanatic, but it’s true.
Let me try and sum it up. Tooth soap supports our dental health by supporting the naturally occurring enamel that coats our teeth. That’s great. But there are a few things to bear in mind when switching from any other product (which by the way, seriously hinders, rather than supports, the naturally occurring cycles that support a healthy functioning mouth).
Apart from the ingredients that holistic folks consider to be harmful to our health, toothpaste consistently has two ingredients that are cause for concern: abrasive material that breaks down our enamel, and some sort of wax-like material that gives us a false sense of our teeth being smooth and clean (this business of wax will come to bear when I discuss skin care as well, stay tuned). Rupam’s tooth soap is completely free of abrasives which spares us the loss of our essential enamel. Even though it goes with out mentioning, I’ll state the somewhat obvious, that tooth soap is full of ingredients that support our natural enamel. Not only does using tooth soap arrest the enamel destruction that everybody using regular toothpaste (yes, even Tom’s of Maine) is unwittingly causing with each brushing instance; it actually supports healthy enamel, gums, and everything else important to a healthy mouth.
I think of regular tooth paste as a cheat. Most products give us a quick and dirty, albeit false, experience of clean teeth. When using tooth soap, one really needs to brush for a good long while, at least 5 seconds per tooth is Rupam’s recommendation if my memory serves me well. This also means that we need to take extra-special care to keep our pearly whites. Staining is something that can occur for many people. While it’s unsightly to those of us who are rapidly becoming accustomed the the absurdly white teeth that are chemically bleached, it is not an indication of how clean our teeth are. Depending on many factors, some of us are more prone to having stains on our teeth than others (smoking, coffee and tea, and ph level, all factor into the equation). The important thing that I learned from Rupam is that there is a way to get rid of the stains that does not sacrifice our overall dental health. Rupam recommends both baking soda on a cotton swab (once a week at most) and activated charcoal (beginning with an intensive course until the stains are gone and then weekly for maintenance).
Now, a word about plaque and brushing. Plaque is sticky stuff. Rupam likens it to olive oil on a porcelain plate. Anybody who washes dishes regularly knows that the oil will come off with soap (no bon ami needed), but that it will take a little while. The same is true when it comes to getting the plaque off our teeth. When I brush my teeth for a good long while, yes I’ve become rather obsessive in that I’m probably well beyond the recommended two minutes by now, my teeth feel smooth and clean. And while I would enjoy the same sensation were I to still be brushing my teeth with regular tooth paste, what I’d really be feeling would be a waxy coating that does more harm than good. Just the thought of that is upsetting now that I know what I do!
I think that’s all I’ve got for now on the subject of dental hygiene. I’ve got a feeling that I really ought to be using Rupam’s strawberry flavor on my boy’s teeth, up till now we’ve simply been using water. And I really must increase my flossing from once or twice weekly to daily. (Can you believe that I just admitted that in a public place? Oh dear!). There’s always some improvement to be made, but it is comforting to know that I’m on a healthy track.