My teeth have become sensitive lately and the pain can be intense. I’ve swapped my normal toothpaste for a ‘sensitive’ version but it hasn’t made a difference. What would you suggest?
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the sensitivity of your teeth and optimise your oral health.
Your saliva should be a pH of around seven, if it is too acidic then the enamel becomes weakened and porous, which not only contributes to sensitivity in the teeth, it also provides an optimal environment for decay to set in.
While an acidic environment can de-mineralise the tooth surface, healthy saliva will help to re-mineralise the teeth. Healthy saliva also assists in the balance of bacterial flora, hormone production, and digestive function. If your saliva is too alkaline, then your teeth are likely to have a higher rate of calculus build-up due to the excess calcium.
A salt rinse is a great way to quickly create a more alkaline environment in the mouth, as well as helping to get rid of pathogenic bacteria. Make your own salt rinse by combining five teaspoons of salt with 500ml of boiling water and leaving it to dissolve and cool. Swish and spit with this twice daily after brushing your teeth, and throughout the day following food if you are able.
The best way to optimise the pH of your saliva is through your diet. Since teeth draw their nutrients via their roots, diet is crucial in providing nourishment, preventing decay, and maintaining healthy saliva. Make sure you take in plenty of whole foods and avoid processed foods. Fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 are all key in dental health.
Stress and inflammation can change the composition of saliva significantly and impact the healthy flora of the mouth and gut.
If you choose whole grains and nuts, it is worth looking into traditional methods of soaking, sprouting, and fermenting to reduce the phytic acid content and improve oral and gut health. Leafy greens, sprouts, parsley, and coriander along with green superfoods such as spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, and barley grass are all wonderfully alkalising and provide vitamin K.
Grass-fed butter or ghee is a great source of vitamin K2 and vitamin A.
These greens along with chia seeds, hemp seeds, tahini, and herbs such as horsetail and nettle will provide bioavailable minerals for healthy teeth (along with skin, hair, nails, and bones). You may need to take a supplement to get adequate levels of vitamin D3, a precursor hormone rather than a vitamin. Take at least 5,000IU daily.
I’m 55 years old and have noticed a slight stiffening in my hand joints. Is there a herbal remedy or supplement I could take?
My all-time favourite remedy for joint stiffness is a simple concoction that uses items that you will typically find in your kitchen cupboard. Combine 15ml (one tablespoon) of apple cider vinegar, pictured, with a slice or two of ginger root, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and raw local honey to taste in a cup of hot water.
Ideally, you will want to find apple cider vinegar that is raw, unpasteurised, and organic if possible. Apple cider vinegar provides nutrients which help to reduce the stiffness and pain, and may halt the progression of arthritis. Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
You can also add a cinnamon stick or pinch of cinnamon to help with circulation and blood-sugar balance, half teaspoon of turmeric for additional anti-inflammatory benefit, and a clove of garlic if you want to boost your immune system.
Ginger root helps to improve circulation and reduce swelling.
It also helps with pain relief. If you are unable to source the fresh root, then powdered ginger will do. Use up to one teaspoon per cup.
Drink two to three cups of this brew daily, reusing the ginger root slices for up to three days before replacing with fresh ones.