We all want a radiant smile. While much of the radiance of a smile comes from within, whether we are letting our ‘Light’ shine or not, many of us still want a physically nice smile too. So when we turn our attention to dental braces, we come across another highly controversial subject in the oral health world.
We recently discussed at length how to naturally whiten teeth without destroying our enamel. We also have discussed how to stop two common habits that cause crooked teeth.
In this article, let’s dive into answering the following two questions:
“So, my teeth are already crooked, what can I do to straighten them?” and “My teeth are pretty straight but I feel them shifting. What can I do to keep them straight?”
Let’s start by stating an obvious fact but one that many of us don’t think about commonly.
Our teeth can and do move. While we don’t want to encourage our teeth to be mobile, they can shift in the mouth.
The unhealthy way teeth shift is through either abrupt or repeated pressure.
For example, an abrupt shift of the teeth is graphically demonstrated in the comedy movie, the Tooth Fairy, (which, by the way, we very much enjoyed). If we fall or are in a car accident and the mouth is struck, teeth can shift to the point of being knocked out.
Obviously, this isn’t heading in the right direction.
Repeated pressure would be like trying to make our teeth move by doing sets and reps of bumping them. This does cause teeth to become loose, but not in a good way. A common example of this is bruxism (chronic grinding of the teeth). This regular habit of grinding causes the teeth to become loose and the gum to recede from the tooth. Again, not heading in the direction of optimal oral health.
The healthy way teeth can shift.
Teeth shift in a safe, controlled way by gentle pressure over a long period of time.
Examples of this would be how we can cause our teeth to become crooked over time like we discussed in the previous article or how braces function to shift teeth. Slow, incremental pressure is a safe, healthy way to cause teeth to shift to a more ideal position in the mouth.
The problem with braces
So if braces use this slow, safe method to shift teeth, what’s wrong with braces?
First, let’s be clear. We aren’t suggesting that all misalignment can be fixed with the following strategy. Sometimes braces may be helpful.
However, we see several issues with braces to cause closer consideration prior to going this route.
1. Traditional metal braces risk challenging the immune system
Dr. Hal Huggins stated it well to us, “Metals and mouths don’t do well together”.
Two main issues come to mind when we ponder metals in the mouth.
When we put two different metals in the mouth, an electrical current is created which can challenge and otherwise ’scramble’ the subtle electrical currents that flow through our bodies. (Traditional braces are made of metal alloy which is multiple metals.)
For more information on the currents in our mouths and the various internal organs impacted by these currents, check out our interactive meridian tooth chart.
The second issue with metals in the mouth again comes from the research of Dr. Huggins. He shared with us in our interview with him (that you can view for free here) that metals seem to cause otherwise normal bacteria in the mouth to morph into atypical bacteria that produce atypical toxins. Normal bacteria not exposed to metals in the mouth produce normal toxins that our immune systems have been dealing with for many, many generations.
However, once some bad bugs are exposed to metals in the mouth, they ‘morph’ into atypical bad bugs which produce atypical toxins. The rub is that our immune systems are much more challenged by these atypical toxins. We think that dental metals will be recognized as one among many causal influences in the explosion of autoimmune issues our global culture is just beginning to realize. (Autoimmune diseases are a very hot topic of discussion in the cutting edge of functional medicine these days. Some more well known autoimmune diseases are: multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.)
2. Plastic braces
We think that plastic braces like Invisalign are a step in the right direction as they avoid the issue with metals in the mouth.
However, before we can recommend plastic braces, we have to do some heavy research on what plastics are used. The problem as we see it is most oral health/dental products are not made from the mindset that the mouth is connected to the body. One obvious red flag would be if the plastics used contain BPA, which is a well-documented carcinogen.
3. Traditional braces and oral hygiene
We have heard a number of stories through the years of friends and customers sharing with us how braces either directly damaged their teeth or limited their ability to give their mouths the regular oral hygiene necessary to create optimal oral health.
While it’s confusing enough to know whether to brush, swish or floss first, traditional braces make regular oral hygiene that much more challenging.
Incidentally, we have a number of testimonials from happy customers whose children have braces, and they have reported that our awesome Bass brushes are a superior tool to help clean in and around braces. So, if you know someone with braces, consider sharing the info about our Bass brushes with them.
Ok, with all this info in place, let’s dive into the two-step strategy how to straighten teeth without braces.
Step one to straightening teeth: Align upper palate
The first step is to provide the structural support to align the teeth in the upper jaw.
Thankfully, we already have all the tools necessary to do this in our mouths! All we need is the knowledge of how to use the God-given tools.
Incidentally, this information originates from our studies of the Chinese longevity arts for the past 30 years. We pay attention when there is common ground between ancient wisdom and modern science. Both traditional Chinese qigong (chi kung) and modern science of myofascial restructuring say the following guidance is supportive for not only straight teeth but greater mental clarity and a calmer, less anxious personality.
Providing support from the outside
Our lips provide the support to gently apply pressure to teeth that you’d prefer to have more inward. The most common example of this is the child who sucks their thumb for years and causes their front teeth to protrude.
It’s critical for this child to learn the habit to close their lips over their front teeth.
Incidentally, it’s very common for the child with this facial structure to habitually breathe through the mouth rather than through the nose. Establishing the habit of closing the lips over the teeth and breathing through the nose will allow the lips to put the necessary pressure on the front teeth to provoke a slow shift of the teeth back to a more preferable placement. It will also teach the child to breathe through the nose, which provides much more support for optimal oral (and whole being) health.
Providing support from the inside – finding ‘home’ for your tongue
By a long margin, most of us deal with teeth ‘falling’ into the mouth rather than protruding like detailed above. In fact, Weston A Price found this to be the prevailing way teeth ‘crowd’ in native peoples who are not eating their traditional diets. It’s as if the dental arch is collapsing and the teeth are ‘falling into’ the mouth.
To provide the slow, gentle pressure to support our teeth to be straight, simply rest the tongue ‘where it belongs’. Before you click off this page thinking, “What are Will and Susan talking about?!?” let’s get you to be able to easily find the spot where your tongue was designed to spend most of the day.
Right now, take your tongue and place the tip on the back of your upper front teeth. Now, while paying attention to what you feel, begin to slowly drag the tip of your tongue away from the upper front teeth along your upper palate. You’ll feel a number of bumpy ridges on your way to the soft upper palate.
Now go back to your front teeth and go through this again. This time, feel for the biggest ridge in your upper front palate. This largest ridge easily spans at least your front four teeth. Just ‘above’ this biggest ridge is a long, thin ‘ditch’ (for lack of a better word). This ditch is where the blade of your tongue is meant to sit.
The blade of your tongue is the leading edge. The very middle of the blade of your tongue is what we would call the tip. Try placing the tip of your tongue in this main ditch, then let the rest of the blade, that leading edge of your tongue, fill in the rest of the ditch.
Now that you have your tongue blade in place, using gentle suction, allow the rest of your tongue to curve and fill the upper palate. The whole tongue ‘rests’ in this space of the upper palate. The sides of the tongue gently press outward on the roots of your molars. The blade gently supports the front teeth outward.
By placing the tongue in this ‘home’ position as a regular habit, we support the upper teeth from ‘falling’ into the mouth so common in these nutritionally deficient modern times.
Let’s comb through this again just to be sure that you have the placement correct.
1. Find the biggest ridge in the front upper palate. You know you’ve gone too far feeling for it if you get to the smooth upper palate.
2. Place the tip of the tongue in the middle of the ditch just ‘above’ this biggest ridge.
3. Let the rest of the blade of the tongue fill in the rest of this main ‘ditch’.
4. Curving the remainder of the tongue into the upper palate, let the tongue rest on the roof of the mouth.
Making this place ‘home’ for your tongue when we’re not eating or talking will provide the long, slow, gentle outward pressure to normalize the alignment of the upper teeth.
Finding ‘home’ for your tongue combined with keeping the lips closed over the teeth supports ‘both sides’ of the upper teeth.
Aligning the bottom teeth
Aligning the bottom teeth is natural once we support our upper teeth in their ideal alignment.
We accomplish straightening bottom teeth simply by using them against our aligned upper teeth.
Another dentist friend of ours put this simply, “How to keep teeth in alignment is to use them”. In other words, chewing food that requires some work to chew is a great way to put the necessary demand on the teeth to help keep them well anchored in the jaw and aligned with one another.
Foods with lots of resistance to chewing, like veggies and jerky, provide plenty of demand for our teeth to get the work necessary to help straighten out misaligned lower teeth.
Will this fix my extreme misalignment?
Again, we’re not suggesting that this technique will straighten the most misaligned teeth in our culture. There is a time and place for braces.
However, learning where ‘home’ is for our tongue, making that resting spot the habitual spot to keep our tongue, and putting our lower teeth to work under aligned upper teeth will go a long way toward not only helping us keep our teeth straight, but also toward supporting realignment of teeth that are misplaced.
What about you? Do you find this information helpful? Have you had your teeth straightened using traditional braces or alternative, holistic methods like this? Last, we’ve thought about making a video tutorial to visually share this strategy. Would you find that helpful? Please let us know in the comments.
Helpful, Related Resources:
How to Make Your Teeth Whiter (Without Destroying Your Enamel) [article]
How to Stop Two Common Habits that Cause Crooked Teeth [article]
OraWellness Meridian Tooth Chart [free educational tool]
Interview with Dr Hal Huggins [free expert interview]