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Recommended Self-Care Steps for Better Dental Health

According to functional medicine, the gut is at the center of autoimmune disease. This is why there’s often a focus on symptoms of intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and other digestive distress as possible indicators of autoimmunity.

What most people don’t realize, though, is that the gut isn’t just the stomach and intestines but the mouth, too. When we consider the many potential triggers of autoimmune thyroid disease, we have to think about our mouths—especially the teeth and gums.

An abscess, infection, root canal, dental surgery, dental X-ray, fluoridation procedure, amalgam fillings…all are possible igniters of autoimmune disease. Could an unknown or unaddressed dental issue have triggered your thyroid condition?

I recommend beginning to think about your dental timeline to see if you can trace any decline in your health to a dental procedure. In the meantime, let’s look at some of the potential dental triggers of Hashimoto’s and how you might address them so that complete healing can happen.

Recommended Self-Care Steps for Better Dental Health

Of course, one of the most vital factors in maintaining healthy gums, teeth, and mouth is our own self-care practices. Some consistent, focused effort here can minimize the need for invasive dental work (anything beyond a cleaning) and reduce inflammation.

Let’s look at a few strategies you can implement on an ongoing basis that will help improve and maintain oral health.

Create an alkaline environment

Dental cavities are related to the pH of our mouth, which allows for specific bacterial species to proliferate, as well as the nutrition we take in. Cutting back on sweets, soda, tea, and coffee, and following any of my Root Cause-approved diets, can help reduce the acidity in the mouth.

You can also try brushing your teeth with baking soda for one week to help create an alkaline environment in the mouth, making it more difficult for the pathogenic bacteria to survive.

Use a proper tooth-brushing method

Many of us are not familiar with proper brushing techniques. While brushing your teeth, aim at the gum line, as that’s where most of the pathogenic bacteria live. You can do this by angling your toothbrush up to reach upper teeth and angling it down to reach lower teeth.

The most helpful way to brush is through applying gentle pressure and a jiggling motion; Sonic toothbrushes can do the work for you. Flossing is also an important daily habit to start as this will help to dislodge food particles (aka, food for the pathogenic bacteria).

Eliminate pathogenic mouth bacteria

Eliminating pathogenic mouth bacteria can be challenging as the mouth bacteria form biofilms, also knows as dental plaques, that protect them from the usual methods of removal. Some strategies that may help eliminate bacteria are:

Water picking: Using a waterpik may be helpful in displacing pathogenic bacteria, allowing for their removal.

Oil pulling: Oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic remedy of swishing around sesame oil or coconut oil in the mouth and between the teeth.

To try: First thing in the morning, put one tablespoon of either sesame or coconut oil in the mouth and swish around for 5-20 minutes until the oil turns white. Then, the oil is spat out along with the toxins in it.

In theory, this method helps to break down the “homes” of bacteria, which are usually made of microcapsules of oil. While water won’t penetrate those microcapsules, sesame oil can, and mixes readily with the bacteria and becomes white in color.

Cranberry juice: Cranberry juice has been found to have anti-adhesion properties which prevent the attachment of the bacteria to our body’s surfaces and may also help to dissolve the protective coats that store the bacteria.

Oral probiotics: Oral probiotics are an accelerated way of getting beneficial bacteria into our mouths so that they can displace pathogenic bacteria and reduce inflammation in the mouth.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hillman was able to identify strains of probiotic bacteria from volunteers with healthy teeth and gums. He isolated these bacteria and put them together in a probiotic mix called ProBiora3, which can be found in EvoraPlus.

This type of bacterial mix works to crowd out the pathogenic bacteria and has been reported to whiten teeth, reduce gum bleeding, inflammation, and biofilms of pathogenic bacteria. The probiotics are available as orally dissolvable mints that are to be taken twice per day for 30-90 days.

You can also try a probiotic toothpaste. Designs for Health makes PerioBiotic toothpaste, a special probiotic toothpaste that is free of fluoride and triclosan and packed with probiotics.

The key to getting the most benefit from this toothpaste is to forgo rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth, allowing the beneficial bacteria to stay in your mouth longer. It feels strange and first, but eventually, you will get used to it.

I recommend trying and continuing with some of the self-care steps I’ve introduced here. If you find you want a more comprehensive routine, visit page 326 of Hashimoto’s Protocol for the Root Cause Basic Dental Protocol.

Next Steps

Dental triggers of Hashimoto’s are frequently overlooked, but you now know that dental history must be considered when thinking about potential igniters of autoimmunity.

by Izabella Wentz

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