Tend To Your Smile: 3 Oral Health Tips From A Regenerative Dentist
We simply don't talk about oral care enough in beauty. Your smile is, arguably, one of your most important features—and yet the content real estate it's allotted is paltry in comparison to skin care, hair, makeup, and the like. Perhaps one of the reasons beauty editors don't talk about it as much is because we've been led to believe that oral care is straightforward—while the woes of skin care are far more complicated.
However, after speaking with biologic restorative dentist Gerry Curatola, DDS, in this episode of Clean Beauty School, I realized that I had much to learn about oral and smile care. Be sure to tune in—we talk about an assortment of fascinating topics like how breathing affects your skin, the mouth-body connection, and how to actually care for gums. Here, three unexpected oral care tips from the episode:
Balance the oral microbiome.
You know how much we love to talk about both the gut and skin microbiome around here—well, add the oral microbiome1 to the list. "We know an acidic environment in the mouth is conducive to causing an imbalance in this natural colony of organisms called the oral microbiome, and it shifts the balance to more acid-loving bacteria like that," Curatola says. That imbalance in bacteria can affect the health of your teeth.
You can help nurture your oral microbiome by eating a robust diet (more on that in a second), consuming prebiotic and probiotic foods, and practicing good hygiene habits. On that last point, be sure to use a well-formulated toothpaste free of SLS, such as Curatola's recommendation Revitin or mindbodygreen's favorites.
Eat an antioxidant-rich diet.
Just like you feed your body and feed your skin antioxidants, you can feed your smile the free radical scavengers, too.
"Depending on whether we're under stress or other environmental factors, we oxidize a lot," he says, noting why it's so important to consume antioxidant-rich foods, and a wide variety of them. A few of Curatola's favorites for gum and oral health: "vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, and vitamin D3.'*
Another point of oxidation, according to Curatola? Teeth whiteners, which is why you need to be particularly careful around the gums during this process. "A lot of teeth-whitening products work by a process of oxidation—they use hydrogen peroxide and carbon peroxide. So in our office, we isolate the gums when we whiten the teeth. And then we also use an antioxidant gum mask," he says.
We know stress and mental health play a huge role in beauty. "It is really important to improve how we deal with stress because what happens when you're under stress, saliva dries up, it also shifts the balance of the oral microbiome," he says, noting meditation is his go-to modality.
"You can do that a number of different ways—yoga, meditation, whatever works for you," he says. "We just want to take the sympathetic mode of the nervous system that's in fight or flight and we want to move the body into a more rested and regenerative state."
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.