With the onset of cold and snowy weather, we’re willing to guess that supporting your immune system – and avoiding the latest office bug – is top of mind right now.

You’re downing vitamin C, taking your supplements, drinking plenty of H2O, and getting plenty of rest during these chilly days, but there might be one unexpected area you’re not considering when it comes to your overall well-being: your oral health. You might be thinking, what do my teeth have to do with cold and flu season? Turns out, a lot. While focusing on proper dental hygiene is crucial for avoiding cavities and gum disease (and bad breath), supporting oral health also has a direct correlation to our overall health, an important factor year-round but especially during a time of year when it seems as though a new bug is making the rounds every week. Here’s why…

Like the rest of our bodies, our mouths contain a wealth of bacteria. Some of it good (probiotics) and some of it bad. When that bad bacteria gets out of control, it can cause a host of detrimental conditions, like gingivitis, gum disease, cavities, bad breath – and more. But that bad bacteria isn’t just relegated to the mouth – an infection or overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth can travel quickly to the rest of the body, leading to all sorts of harmful conditions, the least of which is contributing to cold and flu. Poor oral health can actually lead to some pretty scary – and usually totally preventable conditions – like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and bacterial pneumonia. While some bad bacteria will always be present in and on our bodies – and that’s totally OK – the good news is, there are plenty of completely natural ways to support better oral health. Here are our top five:

#1 – A toothbrush you’ll actually want to use

We’ve all experienced the disappointment of a less than effective toothbrush. Choosing a toothbrush you’ll actually want to use is key in maintaining regular brushing. Whether you choose a charcoal-infused toothbrush, one with an ergonomic handle, or an electric timed brush, a great brush makes you actually want to brush your teeth. We happen to think these bamboo toothbrushes from Mable are absolutely gorgeous. Whatever brush you choose, make sure you brush for the proper amount of time: two minutes.


#2 – Non-toxic toothpaste

A good toothbrush is nothing without a great toothpaste, but did you know most conventional toothpastes contain gnarly ingredients that could lead to hormone disruption and other issues, like reduction of good bacteria in the mouth and the gut – ingredients like Flouride, Triclosan, Sodium Hydroxide, and Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate? Choose a toothpaste that relies on natural bacteria fighters and breath fresheners, like tea tree and eucalyptus and baking soda. We love Bite for their clean ingredients and plastic-free packaging.


#3 – Tongue scraper

Scraping down your tongue may sound, uh, kinda gross, but trust us, this Ayurvedic practice is key for keeping your mouth and body feeling its best. Our digestive process begins in the mouth and with the tongue, which sends signals to our stomach for how much stomach acid to produce, the problem is our tongues are often coated with bacteria and even dead cells, which can impede the communication process. Here’s where tongue scraping comes in. Research shows that tongue scraping is even more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush. To get started, pick up a copper or stainless steel tongue scraper and gently scrape your tongue from back to front, about 10 times. This one is a great option from Zero Waste Store.


#4 – Healthy floss

We should all know by now, flossing your teeth daily is key to better oral health. It removes plaque and tartar buildup, extricates debris that your toothbrush can’t reach, and stimulates your gums – but the type of floss you use matters! Choose a floss that includes tea tree oil, which could reduce gingivitis, or natural peppermint/spearmint and coconut oil, which both naturally fight bacteria. One that is compostable and comes in a refillable container is even better!


#5 – Oral probiotic

Probiotics? For your mouth? Yes! You probably already take a daily probiotic and enjoy fermented foods like kombucha and sauerkraut to support gut health, but what about probiotics for the mouth? Turns out a daily oral health-focused probiotic could help prevent cavities and other oral health issues by supporting the good bacteria in your mouth and may support ear, nose, and throat health, too!


How are you supporting your oral health naturally? Share with us on social by tagging @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine!

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