In this article, we’re going to share a simple strategy to help you navigate to greater oral and whole-body health.
It’s important to begin our journey with this relatively easy step. Otherwise, any blind efforts to create positive change in our oral health might not produce any results, or they might even wind up leading us in the wrong direction.
So what’s this important yet simple strategy?
We must establish clearly defined feedback mechanisms.
In other words, before we begin our journey to greater oral health, we must come up with a way to determine whether or not an action we have taken is helping.
For example, let’s say you or your child fell and scratched a knee. The abrasion forms a nice scab over the wound.
Through visual assessment, we can determine whether the scab is healing well or if it needs further cleaning. We can keep an eye on the scab to look for signs of infection, like any pus buildup or discoloration around the area.
If it were more serious, we may even want to track the date of the initial injury on a calendar as well as any observations we may have regarding our healing progress.
That way, if the injury didn’t seem to be healing on its own and we felt the need to get medical attention, we would have notes to share with a medical professional. These notes would give the physician a good starting point so that they could more efficiently determine the best course of treatment to speed the healing.
Now let’s circle back to the topic of oral health. One thing we can each do is to use conscious flossing to help create positive change in our mouth.
When we practice conscious flossing, we pay attention and ‘read’ the signs on the floss. This is a very powerful feedback mechanism.
How to floss consciously
- Cut a piece of floss about 18 inches long. It’s important to use a piece that’s long enough so that you can use a clean segment between each tooth contact point. In this way, you can avoid spreading any potential infection to healthy areas of your mouth. This also helps you determine if there is any active infection between the two teeth you just flossed around.
- Floss between two teeth. Then look at the floss to see if there are any signs of infection on it, like red or pink (blood) or yellowish colors (pus).
- If you are brave 🙂 and really want to use this opportunity to collect even more information, smell the floss as you finish up between each two teeth. If you notice a bad or unpleasant odor, this is another sign of active infection.
- As you floss, feel for any pain, sensitivity or signs of swelling. If you note any color or bad smells on the floss, these are signs that you have an active infection in the gum pockets between those two teeth.
So, simply by bringing more attention to the act of flossing, we can gain much insight into what’s going on in our mouths.
For more information on flossing, we invite you to check out our article, “How to avoid the 4 most common flossing mistakes” and our video tutorials, “WHY is flossing such a critically important oral hygiene habit?” and “How to floss and NOT damage your gums“.
Additional feedback mechanisms…
Many of you are familiar with a crucial feedback tool that we offer for free: our OraWellness Mouth Map.
This is a unique self-observation tool to help you track what’s going on in your mouth. It takes about 20 minutes to fill it out.
For anyone who would like to create positive change in their oral health, we invite you to record your observations on the Mouth Map and put today’s date on it. Keep it somewhere safe so you have a dated record of your findings.
Then begin taking action to improve your oral health, and feel free to set yourself a reminder to fill out a new Mouth Map in 1 to 1.5 months.
Periodically tracking your progress in this way will help you remember where you started and see how far you’ve come. Also, noting your progress along the way will help you determine which areas need additional support.
Requesting copies of your records from dental office visits can also be helpful as we navigate to greater oral health. However, the empowerment that comes from tracking what we find in our own mouth can be even more helpful than a dentist’s notes.
After all, we are each in control of the efforts we’re making to create positive change in our own oral health. It is vital to track our progress so we know what’s working and when we need to adjust our tactics.
Again, we encourage you to fill out the OraWellness Mouth Map, date it, and then choose to do some action for a specified period of time.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you fill out your Mouth Map on April 1st. You record 8 spots in your mouth that bleed when flossed as well as a handful of spots that have sensitivity around the gum line.
Then you decide to brush with our HealThy Mouth Blend and use the Bass Brushing Technique (or oil pulling and/or whatever other strategy you want to implement) daily for a month.
After 30 days, you fill out another Mouth Map and date it. Now you can compare the two dated Mouth Maps.
This gives you feedback to see if the number of bleed and/or sensitivity points have increased, decreased, or stayed the same. By comparing these two records, you will clearly see whether or not your actions over the past month have helped you navigate to greater oral health.
Continuing on with our example from above, when you fill out your second Mouth Map, you find that the number of bleed points has reduced to only 2 spots between molars. This tells you that the techniques you’ve been using have helped to reduce the stress throughout your mouth, but you still need to provide additional support between some molars.
So, for the next month, you start adding HealThy Mouth Blend onto your floss each day to increase the support between your molars. The next time you fill out your Mouth Map, you may find that you have zero bleed points.
This is the power of using feedback mechanisms over time.
Using dated pictures to help track our progress
Another way to track your oral health improvement over time is to take dated photos of areas you want to keep an eye on.
For example, let’s say you have a spot that seems to have some gum recession. You aren’t sure if the recession is worsening, if it has stopped, or if it is improving.
By taking monthly photos of the area and saving them, you’ll have a visual track record to help you evaluate the actions you’ve been taking.
Photos are also a very powerful way to track changes in gum tissue coloration while using strategies like that ones that we teach in our HealThy Mouth System. Dated photos help you to see unhealthy, swollen gum tissue change color over time from dark red to a healthy pink color with healthy tissue texture.
Please consider filling out the OraWellness Mouth Map. It’s a very powerful process that tends to bring a sense of relief as we ‘shed some light’ on what’s going on in our mouth.
After all, most fears we have really boil down to fear of the unknown.
Taking 20 minutes to get to know our mouth is a worthwhile investment of our time. We can reduce so much stress simply by learning what’s going on in our own mouth.
How about you? What feedback mechanisms do you use in life to track your progress and know whether your actions are taking you in the direction you want to go?
As always, if you’ve benefited from this article, please share it with your loved ones.
In the next article in this series, we share another powerful feedback tool to help us continue on our path to optimal oral and whole body health.
Also, feel free to download our FREE Guide to Safe Dentistry, which explains some questions that can help you find a dental team who will work with you on your journey to greater oral health.
Thank you and Aloha!
Helpful, Related Resources:
Guide to Safe Dentistry [free eBook]
What is Conscious Flossing? [article]
How to avoid the 4 most common flossing mistakes [article]
WHY is flossing such a critically important oral hygiene habit? [video tutorial]
How to floss and NOT damage your gums [video tutorial]
The First Step to Dental Self Empowerment [article + free download]
OraWellness Mouth Map [free download]
HealThy Mouth Blend [product solution]
How To Brush Your Teeth To Reduce Gum Disease [[article & video tutorials]]
How oil pulling helps improve oral health and whole body wellness [article]
How to Maximize Your Benefit Using the HealThy Mouth Blend [video tutorial]
HealThy Mouth System [product solution]
Tracking your saliva pH (part 2) [article + free download]