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Pearls of Wisdom for Pearly Whites
by Amara Rose
Brush at least twice a day. Floss after every meal. And use a fluoride-enhanced toothpaste. These are the three keys to a healthy smile, right?
Open wide: you're in for some mental and dental enlightening.
Brushing And Flossing And Fluoride, Oh My!
While brushing and flossing are indeed age-old wisdom that still works, adding fluoride to the mix is hazardous.
Present in U.S. tap water by government decree since 1945, fluoride is actually a biological poison. It destroys 83 enzymes in the body and detaches gum tissue, which leads to gum pockets necessitating surgery, according to Dr. Gerard Judd, author of Good Teeth, Birth to Death.
And dental fluorosis a health condition created when a child receives too much fluoride during tooth development is on the rise. The tiny white specks or streaks many of us have on our teeth may be almost unnoticeable, but as fluorosis becomes more severe, it can cause mottling of the tooth enamel, as well as cracked and pitted teeth.
A 2005 U.S. Centers for Disease Control survey found an increase in fluorosis among American children over a similar survey conducted twenty years ago, prompting the American Dental Association (ADA) in 2006 to begin recommending that formula-fed infants under a year old be given only formula prepared with fluoride-free water, or water that contains levels of fluoride low enough to reduce the risk of fluorosis.
Just When You Thought It Was Safe
Cue the theme from Jaws II: the danger isn't just in the water. Even if you brush with bottled or reverse-osmosis water, what you put on your toothbrush can be equally detrimental to your oral health.
Glycerin, a seemingly innocuous ingredient found in virtually all toothpastes, is a second major offender. While glycerin is formed as a by-product in the manufacture of soap, when added to toothpaste it coats the teeth and prevents them from re-mineralizing. That's also why it works well as an ingredient in herbal tinctures. But in toothpaste? It's like brushing with candy.
Bacteria and sugar, long lambasted as the causes of tooth decay, are not the true culprits!
What's a health-aware consumer who'd like to save her pearly whites to do? Turn conventional wisdom on its ear: brush with soap, and clean your sink with conventional toothpaste (it makes an excellent abrasive cleanser).
Of course, brushing with soap is a less-than-appealing concept to most people, which is what led health-conscious mom Karen Van Cleef to create Tooth Soap in 2003. Van Cleef had never taken her two children to the dentist because she was strongly opposed to fluoride, and believed from all she'd learned as a longtime health and wellness researcher that any cavities they developed could heal on their own, given proper nutrition. Yet she also knew her daughters needed to keep their teeth clean. When she learned of Dr. Judd's recommendation that people brush with ordinary hand soap, she tried rubbing bar soap on her brush but found it, um, unpalatable, to say the least.
Get On a Soap Box, or Bottle
An entrepreneur by nature, she started experimenting with soap formulas while home-schooling her daughters. Then she met an artisan soap maker who was intrigued by the idea of making a good-tasting oral soap. After a few trials, Tooth Soap was born, and today comes in an array of flavors, from best-selling peppermint to passion fruit, made with nothing except organic saponified coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and essential oil flavors, all of which help teeth remain strong and healthy.
This year Van Cleef has launched an urban garden, which you can read about in her blog. Her enthusiasm for creating organic food with her own hands has yielded numerous gifts. She writes:
"The plants are like people, and just like people need to live in their own unique and individual way. Plants have their particular and correct ways of growing which are all different, and so do humans. For man, all paths have the potential to be correct, depending on our individual choices."
The proof of Van Cleef's smart dental health and food choices is in the proverbial pudding. Karen took her children to the dentist for the first time when her elder daughter was fourteen, six years after she'd begun brushing daily with Tooth Soap. She had no cavities. By comparison, the average 17-year-old has had at least eleven cavities.
So to keep from being down in the mouth, get on your soapbox (or soap bottle) for holistic dental care, free yourself from fluoride and glycerine, and your pearly whites will thank you with many years of faithful service.
Please pass the apples.
Copyright 2011 Amara Rose. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Transformational coach Amara Rose offers spiritually grounded guidance for individuals and businesses, as well as CDs, e-courses, and an inspirational monthly e-newsletter, What Shines. She writes regularly about personal development, health/wellness and positive aging. Visit LiveYourLight.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-862-0157 to learn more.