As someone who has an autoimmune disease, I’m always up for ways to lessen the load on my immune response.
I was recently listening to Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s talk during the Healthy Gut Summit (if you haven’t heard of this great online event, check it out here: http://healthygutsummit.com. It is a WEALTH of awesome info!). I remember him speaking about how germs get into our bodies. There are multiple pathways. Our bodies have great defenses normally but things go awry after a couple decades (or with misuse) and weak spots develop. One of these is a leaky gut (intestinal permeability), hence the need for a summit.
I was surprised to hear him say that another pathway was through our gums. He said “if the water is pink when you brush, you have gingivitis”, and you gotta get that outta here. That germs can get in your bloodstream through gingivitis and wreak havoc in your body (and potentially trigger an autoimmune attack).
WHOA. This whole time I’ve been eating super clean and taking vitamins and reducing stress and doing positive self talk and I missed this big whammy.
But sometimes I need that biochemical imagery to get something through my head.
That biochemical gem follows closely behind my favorite advice from a dentist.
Since I’m a bit of a rebel, the whole “floss and brush twice a day” never made a huge impression on me. I needed a why. A more impressive, biochemical answer than just “to keep your teeth and gums healthy”.
Finally I met my current dentist who explained that it’s not about flossing or brushing. The point of the exercise, he said, was to break up the colonies of bacteria which were trying to take root. Furthermore, he said that when our gums bleed, it’s because our body can sense the bacteria trying to take hold and it sends more blood to the area to fight it off.
Now this I get.
I like to imagine the naughty bacteria setting up camp on and in my gums and wrap my head around the fact that I need to stop those suckers at all costs.
The best tool I have found for quickly busting up those colonies of bacteria is an oral irrigator. This was the suggestion of my dentist so I can’t take full credit for it 😉
BUT let me tell you, that thing works WONDERS.
Case in point: I had slacked off on my dental care as of late and when I heard Dr. O’Bryan talk, it sure prompted me to jump into action. Especially because I had noticed pink water when I brushed lately. No Bueno. So I brushed off the oral irrigator and went to work. This is the one I have:
It’s actually a kid one. But I like it and it works great for me. The nice part about this countertop model is that I can fill the reservoir with whatever type of water I want. I also have a shower model that screws right into the shower hose and you’re pretty much stuck with whatever temperature and pressure is coming out of there, which can be good and bad.
This model, the Waterpik kids water flosser, takes up less counter space than the typical “adult” models and holds less water but it’s plenty for me and super easy to fill up with more water. And honestly I think it was the cheapest one at the time of purchase which is why it came home to me.
It has 3 settings and I can tell you in my months of steady water flossing, I never even thought about using the 3rd one. It feels a bit like sandblasting your teeth (and gums) at that pressure.
I also like to put a couple drops of peppermint oil into the green chamber. Peppermint essential oil is antimicrobial and also freshens breath. I love the minty clean feeling I have after this routine. My peppermint oil came from TJ Maxx so it might not be the best quality but it still does the trick.
So back to my freakout about germs getting into my bloodstream through my poor bleeding gums. Out came the Waterpik, in went the warm water with peppermint oil.
And although my gums were happy about this (I’m assuming), man was that water pink. Even red.
BUT here is the amazing part. As bad as that was, my water flossing tonight, the second night in a row was about 1000 times better than the red disaster last night. Literally, there was no red, my gums were not burning from being soooo darn irritated by those dang germs, there was only a little pink water. Man, was I ecstatic about this.
This little gadget has made such a difference in my dental health, I recommend it to anyone who tells me they have bad teeth or at their dentist all the time. Because I used to be one of those people too. And really, I think just about any water flosser will do the trick. The trick of irrigating those lovely gums and pressure washing them. It’s kind of like taking a fire hose to those colonies which are trying to set up camp and getting them outta there!
In good dental health, take care!