Alkaline is a word that is bandied around a lot in wellness circles but I hadn’t actually given it much thought regarding oral health. I was recently invited by Arm & Hammer to learn more at The Dentist Gallery, the funkiest dentist slash gallery I’ve been in!
The star ingredient in Arm & Hammer toothpaste is the very alkaline baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda aka sodium bicarbonate). There’s a long history dating back to the Egyptian empire of it been used for cleaning and dental care. To avoid the toxic cocktail in many cleaning products, I often use baking soda for household cleaning tasks at home.
Dr Jerome Sebah, co-founder of The Dentist Gallery, gave an overview of why baking soda is a good idea for teeth. Basically it kicks the butt of bacteria by neutralising the acidic conditions bacteria thrive in. It also dissolves in saliva, meaning it’s gentle on our tooth enamel and can reach under our gum line where other more abrasive products can cause damage. I alternate between using all natural toothpastes and Arm & Hammer.
In addition to keeping our mouths and saliva alkaline for our oral health, we were given an overview of the benefits of alkaline living for our overall wellbeing by Tomaz Mueller, holistic and Ayurvedic medicine practitioner at the well-known Joshi Clinic. The Joshi Clinic’s founder, Dr Nish Joshi, helped established the alkaline diet concept and celebrity clients have included the Princess of Wales, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes and more A-listers than you can shake a green smoothie at.
The first thing to realise is that it can be confusing and counter intuitive. Lemons, for instance, despite being acidic are an alkaline food as it about their alkalising effect on the body rather than being alkaline products themselves. Also all acidic foods aren’t automatically bad, it’s about the proper balance in the right part of the body. The food I eat, which is mostly fresh and unprocessed, happens to tie in to the Alkaline Diet principles though not through conscious intention.
It’s not just our food that can be too acidic. Most of us live rather acidic lifestyles caused by stress with all the knock on effects such as lack of sleep. When stressed our bodies don’t absorb or use nutrients properly so you can be eating all the right alkaline and healthy food but still not be functioning at your best. A couple of tips shared by Tomaz:
- Hot Water: start the day drinking hot water with lemon or lime, which helps the body detox. An Ayurvedic practice is also to sip warm rather than cold water during the day, as it aids digestion alongside other health benefits.
- 4-2-6 Breathing: use breathing practices to counteract stress. When stressed we tend to take shallow breathes which doesn’t properly release toxins. Try the ‘4-2-6’ technique, which is to breathe in for four seconds, hold for two seconds, breathe out for six seconds.
It’s always good to be reminded that what happens in our mouth has a major impact on our overall health. From how we breathe, to what and how we eat, even how we chew our food! All basic functions that most of us don’t give much thought to and haven’t been taught how to do properly. Maybe there should be breathing lessons in school?!
Do you do the alkaline thing?