When there is something stuck in my teeth, I floss.
When I feel guilty about not flossing, I floss. Sometimes.
Four days before I go to the dentist, combined with feeling guilty about not flossing, I floss. A lot.
And when I cleanse, I floss.
Sorry, Dr. Dentist, but there it is.
During a cleanse, lots of toxins and bacteria will be coming into the mouth, onto the tongue, and into any little hiding places they can find. You can get bad breath from toxins building up on that filmy white layer that grows on the tongue overnight. So in addition to brushing your teeth regularly and flossing, add a tongue scraper to your shopping list. They are just a couple of dollars, it's a little plastic or metal loop that you can scrape across your tongue - from back to front, along both sides and the middle, several times - and then give the scraper, and your mouth, a quick rinse. Lots of people brush their tongues with their toothbrushes, but the bacteria can stay alive in them, so change your toothbrush often, or scrape.
Then there's oil pulling. Oil pulling is said to pull toxins out of the entire body through the mouth, and according to the big percentage of web sites that advocate for pulling, they claim it can cure almost every disease. There seems to be an equal number of websites out there saying it's a hoax, so I put it here, in the mouth cleaning section, because the one thing most sources agree on, and I know from experience, is that it does make your teeth noticeably cleaner, whiter, and brighter. I first heard about it from my sister-in-law, but when I did some research on it, there are some sources who say it is an ancient Ayurvedic practice, so maybe it's a yoga technique, maybe not. I tested it for 30 days last year and didn't feel healthier, but as a detox tool, I thought it was interesting enough to try again this week.
The first time, the oil was very different in my mouth for 3 or 4 days. Don't expect to love this right away, by the way, if you try it. First thing in the morning, you swallow a tablespoon or two of oil and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes, then spit it out, rinse, brush, floss, and scrape. Drink lots of water.
When I spit out the oil the first few days, it was colored, and had a slightly rancid taste. After a few days, it became a white foam, tasted clean, and stayed that way. That made me feel pretty clean, and so a week or two of pulling every once in a while might be a very good thing. The mouth is a dark, damp cave - there's all kinds of stuff hanging out in there. It seems reasonable that oil could pull out different things than the more abrasive toothpaste - just like household cleaners.
So grab an oil - safflower or sunflower are generally recommended; coconut oil is nice, too. Nut oils are on the super food lists now; I'm not sure the nutritional value of pulling, but they taste good! I used almond oil for my 30 day experiment, and this time, I'm using a locally made pecan oil from the Wimberley Valley Nut Company. I'm kind of a nut for shopping local, and what's not to like about pecan oil? It can stay in the fridge and not thicken, so it's a little bit cooling in this heat.
As we start the week into the cleanse, pay a little extra attention to mouth care, and if you feel like walking on the wilder side - grab a bottle of nice oil, and swish.