Tag Archives: teeth

Gnashing my teeth…

I am feeling a little tense just at the moment.  As you might have picked up from my blog, I have a to do list with it’s own field of gravity on the best of days, but with a meeting with our social worker earlier this week, that list just developed its own asteroid field which is in grave danger of obliterating me if I stop to long to contemplate it.

stressed comic

Having extended that metaphor so tight it might snap, I know that one of the things I will do when I get stressed is that I grind my teeth.  This is called Bruxism, and I have done this at one time or another all my life.  Apparently stress is a common cause of it (sorry Hubby dear… you might need ear defenders on while you sleep!) but it can also be caused by a parasite!  Goodness!  I am pretty sure mine is stress though.

Is Bruxism dangerous though?  Well, only if your spouse decides to smother you with a pillow for the sound which is roughly equivalent to nails going down a blackboard.  But it can chip your tooth enamel.  Grinding can also wear down the jaw joint.  Bruxism can also cause headaches and pain in the face and jaw.

grinding teeth

So, according to my reference of choice this month, “Home Remedies from a Country Doctor”, there are several things you can do to help stop you from grinding your teeth.  Resting your neck is quite important apparently, and there are some contoured pillows which can help you to hold the bones between your shoulder and your chest, known as the cervical collar, in the right place.

You could also wear a mouth guard at night, which might not stop the grinding, but it will protect your teeth.  Although I am not sure about the fashion statement that would make.  Mind you, I am happy in fleecy pyjamas myself, so I am not exactly cutting edge on that score either!

water drop

Avoiding stimulants like coffee and chocolate makes a great deal of sense.  Not just because you will get a better quality of sleep, but you will also quite possibly be less on edge.  More relaxed equals less bruxism.    One surprising tip from the Country Doctors was to make sure you are keeping properly hydrated.  Apparently dehydration is one of the forms of stress which makes you grind your teeth.

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More autumn tree herb lore…

So I was at the kitchen sink today, doing the dishes, and I happened to glance at our little seedling oak tree.  We have been given one to grow, and it’s leaves are just changing at the moment and it is rather pretty.  It got me thinking about whether oak can do anything for us herbally speaking.

oak tree

Back to my rather lovely “Backyard Medicine” book.  This is the one that I picked up when we were on holiday in Canada.  I have been hankering after it for AGES and it was cheaper to buy over there then it would ever be over here.  Anyway, it has a lovely bit all about oak.

acorns

At one time the British Isles had lots and lots of Oak forests.  In fact, in days gone by, where my house is would have been in Sherwood Forest, (as in Robin Hood, Maid Marian and the Merry Men) with lots and lots of Oak trees around it.  Unfortunately, Oak is rather a victim of its own success and because it was fabulous for building with, has been used for houses and ships and all kinds of things.  Oaks produce acorns and they feed pigs; acorns also stand as a famine food and are a coffee substitute known as ersatz coffee.  Apparently it tastes quite palatable and it is low in caffeine.  The Oak galls, also known as oak apples, are constituents for ink and the bark can be used as an astringent.  In fact it is as an astringent, a tightener or a drier, that it is used for mostly in herbalism today.

Oak Leaf

Oak leaf tea is used as a diarrhoea treatment, as is the young oak bark made into a tea as well.  Another use is as a tooth powder made from the dried oak bark.  You can add fennel seed powder, cinnamon powder, and bicarbonate of soda and use it to brush your teeth.  I am quite intrigued by this.  I might look into it a bit more.

And if that weren’t enough uses for oak, you can also use the twigs to clean your teeth.  Amazingly versatile isn’t it?!

Methods of Cleaning your Teeth Naturally…

Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a tube of toothpaste?  Good grief!  Most of the words have 3 to 4 syllables and are synthetically manufactured chemicals.  I am not against using toothpaste or Listerine (other mouthwashes are available) , but I am interested to know if I can reduce the amount of those synthetically manufactured chemicals I am taking into my body.  I know that most of the world does not use toothpaste for oral hygiene (there are a variety of sticks which do the same job apparently) but I did wonder whether there was any thing I could use that might happen to be in my kitchen already.  Cue some researching.

toothpaste

Now, oral hygiene is incredibly important.  Not just because you do not want to get cavities and spend lots of time (and money) at the dentist.  There is also a link between bad oral health and heart disease.  All linked to the plaque apparently.  So, I will continue to brush twice a day, but if I can stop putting unnecessary chemicals in my body so much the better.

The first thing my research came up with was that you do not need to use anything other than a toothbrush.  Brushing thoroughly for 2 minutes twice a day, will be fine.  Flossing is important too, so you need to do that twice a day as well.  But no chemicals involved and clean teeth sorted.

toothpowder

I also found a recipe for tooth powder.  If you mix half a cup of baking soda and one eighth of a cup of salt in a glass jar, storing in a cool and dark place, it will keep for quite a while.  Dipping a dampened brush in this mixture will lighten and brighten your teeth (the baking soda) and get rid of the plaque (the abrasive salt).  You might also want to add some drops of peppermint oil to make it taste a little better.

If a powder is not your style, you can make this recipe into a paste by adding 3-4 teaspoons of glycerin and 10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice.  Common additions would be peppermint, anise or lemon.

homemade mouthwash

I love the feeling of having a clean mouth – I really feel like I could take on the world when I have fresh breath and clean teeth – but I really do not enjoy using the commercial mouthwashes.  They are so strong, it feels like you are eating a hot curry, rather than deodorising your mouth.  But, if you take 1 teaspoon each of rosemary, peppermint and lavender and mix the herbs well, then put one teaspoon of the herb mixture in a cup of boiling water, steep it for 15 minutes and strain, letting it cool before using it, you have a fabulous, natural and chemical free, mouthwash.

I am definitely going to make some of the tooth powder (with an option for the tooth paste if I decide I prefer it!) and the mouthwash sounds positively appealing.  What about you?