The Mindful Mouth
5 Ways to Becoming Dentally Zen
Have you ever wanted to reach that dental state of enwhitenment? Here are 5 ways to reach your dental Zen goals.
1- Watching what you eat and drink. The mouth is the gateway to the digestive system. What you eat and drink can not only have detriment to your teeth but can play a part in overall gut health. Pay attention to sugar and additives in foods and drinks that you consume, read the ingredient labels and try to avoid the ever tempting lolly isle. Instead, increase fermented foods (like kimchi, kombucha or even natto if you are brave), fill your plate with fresh leafy greens that are in season, reduce your red meat intake and try No Meat Monday and remember to drink water.
2- Mindful Brushing and Flossing. Patients frequently report to me that they find their daily oral health routine boring, a chore or they don’t have the time, so why not use these few minutes as time to stop and be present. What I mean is… meditate when you brush, seriously. Meditation has proven benefits to not only mental health but to overall wellbeing. So next time you go to brush your teeth (that’s twice a day I hope), take deep breaths into your belly, through your nose and really focus on the action of brushing. Stay present, forget about what has just happened or where you’re going next, and just focus on the motions of the brush. Feel the sensations of the bristles over the teeth and gums, pay attention to the taste of the toothpaste and if your mind ever wanders, bring your attention back to the breath through the nose. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked on mindful brushing and those two minutes you spent doing so may just become your favourite time of the day.
3- Breathing Exercises- You may be wondering what breathing has to do with the mouth. But did you know that nasal breathing, tongue positioning and lip posture have huge effects on jaw development when we are young and may also help in reduction of allergies? Buteyko Breathing is a method of breathing that encourages the breath to come in and out of the nose, the tongue is to be postured on the roof of the mouth, and the lips are sealed. If we have these in mind as we breathe, especially from a young age, the jaw can grow in the correct position and can then influence the teeth to align correctly.
4- Water- water, yes water. You’ve heard, I’m sure, that you need to drink at least two litres or 8 glasses of water per day. Why, you ask? Not only to stay hydrated, but when it comes to your teeth, water can buffer any acids from foods and drinks. After eating and drinking foods that are sugary or have low pH levels, teeth are more susceptible to decay. With keeping up with water intake, you can buffer, or reduce these acid attacks and keep dental decay at bay.
5- Developing Positive Habits-How many times have you been to the dentist or seen your dental hygienist and they’ve told you that you need to floss more? And how many times have you answered, you try to but you always forget? Well this is where developing a positive habit comes into play. When it comes to good oral hygiene, habit or routine is key. Try keeping your floss or piksters in the shower, that way you will be reminded to do it daily (well let’s hope you’re showering once a day). Or if you’re new to flossing, try doing it at least three times a week. Then the following week, try flossing 4 times a week, then the week after 5 times. Then before you know it, you can’t live without flossing. Tooth brushing should be done twice a day- try doing it first thing as you wake, then last thing you do before bed. Take a water bottle with you at work or school to act as a reminder to stay hydrated. All these reminders are great to start developing positive dental habits.
Now that you know these secrets to becoming dentally zen, soon you will be levitating in a state of enwhitenment.