We sat down with dental assistant and naturopathy student Dominique McGuire, founder of The Pillars Naturopathy, to gain professional insight in how to maintain and optimise the oral microbiome. As well as the importance of eliminating chemicals to obtain synergism within the body.
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Dominique, I’m a student naturopath in the final stages of my Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) degree. I have always had a huge interest in health and the human body, so when I left high school, I did a few years of a Bachelor of Medical Sciences before finding my absolute passion – holistic health! I have always worked while studying and was a dental assistant for many years before making the shift to working in integrative/allied health practices. I’m currently managing an amazing integrative health clinic which is providing me with experience in the field to prepare myself for when I graduate shortly. I’m an active person who loves the gym, being outdoors, watching the sun rise and spending time with my dog!
How did your interest in naturopathy start?
I’ve always been really interested in the human body and its incredible innate ability to heal itself. I (like many others) have struggled with hormonal and mental health issues in the past, and I (also like many others) have had countless disappointing experiences in our healthcare system.
I have been put on medications as first options for last resort situations, and I used to find myself looking for alternative methods to assist my body in healing itself.
What concerned you about commercial toothpaste?
I started to research some of the ingredients that commercial toothpaste usually contains, and it opened a can of worms! Commercial toothpaste is usually laden with potentially harmful ingredients which have the ability to disrupt our endocrine system as well as the oral microbiome.
What are the key ingredients you avoid in toothpaste?
Like all my skincare and healthcare products, I aim to use reputable natural brands with the least toxic ingredients. Using an app like “Think Dirty” or “Chemical Maze” can be a great way to identify ingredients which can be potentially hazardous to our health.
Generally, I avoid commercial toothpastes that contain
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
With your dental and naturopathy experience, what do you recommend to maintain good oral health?
Good oral health is important for overall health and wellbeing. Prevention is always better (and cheaper!) than cure. Having functional teeth is imperative for enhancing quality of life.
Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day is a good starting point. TIP: avoid brushing straight after eating/drinking acidic substances (think coffee, chewable vitamin C tablets, apple cider vinegar, citrus fruits, etc.), as the acid can make teeth more porous and brushing immediately can consequently damage enamel.
To avoid this, you can drink a glass of water afterwards to help stimulate saliva production to neutralise the acid, or you can use a mouthwash such as the LOVEBYT mouthwash which doesn’t compromise your mouth’s natural pH.
Regular flossing is super important too (sorry! I know it’s a chore), as no toothbrush will clean in between your teeth. I’m a big fan of tongue scraping, and I do this every day - there are numerous benefits of doing this too! A high-quality diet rich in fresh and unprocessed foods, as well as limiting simple carbohydrates and sugary foods will also help maintain healthy gums and prevent tartar build up and/or decay. Regular (6 monthly or at least yearly) dental check-ups are also necessary to avoid preventable issues and improve overall health.
What do you think about fluoride?
From my time working as a dental assistant, it’s hard to deny the benefits of fluoride for dental health. Fluoride is typically used to strengthen teeth and prevent demineralisation of the outer structure of the tooth (enamel), as well as aiding in the remineralisation of teeth damaged by decay. Its role in the prevention of dental caries is significant, however tooth decay is still rampant in Australia, and it does not resolve the root cause of tooth decay – our westernised diets. There are issues with excessive exposure to fluoride; topical localised application is recommended as opposed to being constantly exposed to it in our drinking water, toothpaste, and foods.
For example, fluoride is a halogen on the periodic table and because of this, it competes with iodine, also a halogen, for uptake into the thyroid gland. This can contribute to the development of hypothyroidism as iodine is a mineral essential for normal thyroid function, defining fluoride as an endocrine disruptor. Excessive exposure to fluoride can also result in dental fluorosis, brittle bones, and neurological issues.
Published Date 30.6.22