Adventures in Oral Hygiene

Oh hello friends, we are back! Cristiana and I had a lovely Sunday of catching up and making all sorts of fun things for you folks to take a crack at, so keep an eye out in the next few days for a barrage of blog posts. This first recipe may be one of my favorite things that we have made thus far. Homemade mouthwash! The recipe was essentially lifted straight from here (with a few small adaptations). We love her blog by the way, tons of fantastic recipes!

Admittedly, I don’t have the best oral hygiene regimen (go ahead, JUDGE ME). I don’t floss (ain’t nobody got time for that, although apparently some people find time for that).  I brush twice a day, sure. However, I’ve been plagued by some bad gum recession on a few of my teeth. Dentists have never been outright ALARMED by it, however, they also aren’t super helpful with telling me what to do about it. They just seem to mark it on their little chart and move on with their lives. However, since I value keeping my teeth in my face I am trying to be more proactive about taking steps towards gum health (still probably not going to floss, sorry, I’m not sorry).

A few things that you can do to promote good gum health and healing is by making sure you are chock full of Calcium, and Vitamins A, E, and C as well as folic acid. So you know, eat right or take a multi vitamin (check). Other things include using a soft bristled brush or an electric toothbrush to make sure that you remove all of the plaque without irritating the gum line. And of course, there is flossing (ugh).

Studies have shown that another great treatment for things like bad breath, oral candidiasis, gingivitis, inflamed gums and plaque, is…wait for it….TEA TREE OIL! Betcha thought I would say baking soda, which is of course magical and also in this recipe, and also great for promoting gum growth (making a paste of baking soda and water and massaging it into gums is thought to increase circulation and promote growth).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One cup filtered or bottled water (if using tap, make sure to boil it first)
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops birch essential oil
  • ½ tsp xylitol (optional: to sweeten, you can also use a packet of stevia)
  • A mason jar (because you know, what’s more obnoxiously Brooklyn than your own homemade mouthwash in a mason jar?)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Mix that business up, shake and enjoy! Make sure you shake it every time you use it to get all of the ingredients properly mixed.

I’ve only been using it for a few days and already my mouth feels cleaner. It’s such a refreshingly minty and wonderful rinse and I am really looking forward to seeing what effects it has on my ailing gums.

That’s all for today folks, stay tuned for more fun things to come, including but not limited to: toilet bowl cleaner! And dry shampoo that doubles as a foundation (what?!)

Happy swishing.

{the fixins'}

{the fixins’}

{add whatever flavors you like best, and feel free to wing it if you want it more pepperminty, or perhaps more lemony}

{add whatever flavors you like best, and feel free to wing it if you want it more pepperminty, or perhaps more lemony}

{somebody get this girl in a mouthwash commercial quick!}

{somebody get this girl in a mouthwash commercial quick!}

{the final product. warn your roommate that it exists so he/she doesn't think you are saving a jar of your own urine.}

{the final product. warn your roommate that it exists so he/she doesn’t think you are saving a jar of your own urine.}

Chicken Skin, or Why I Don’t Wear Shorts Ever

Hello and welcome to another edition of: Ashlee’s body is weird, and here’s why. Keratosis Pilaris or “Chicken Skin” is a fairly common skin disorder among humans (40% of adults worldwide, WTF). It is described as a genetic follicular condition that is manifested by the appearance of rough, red bumps on the skin. It most commonly can be found on the backs of the arm and thighs, although many other places on the body may become affected. It occurs when the body produces excess keratin (a natural skin protein) that then becomes trapped in the hair follicles, and causes the formation of hard plugs (read: rough, red bumps).

ANYWAY. It’s unsightly. And I don’t wear shorts because of it. And there is seemingly nothing that can be done about it. Mine waxes and wanes, but I can’t seem to figure out any triggers that make it worse. When I initially asked a dermatologist what it was, she was like, oh yeah, Keratosis Pilaris, just exfoliate and moisturize. So you mean, just keep acting like a human woman, is what you are saying. Thanks doc.

It wasn’t until today when I stumbled upon a little something something that suggested coconut oil for the treatment of Keratosis Pilaris. Oh, coconut oil, what CAN’T you do?! The site claims that coconut oil accomplishes the following: soothes inflammation, reduces redness, moisturizes and sanitizes. All the things that are good for treating ya chicken skin.

The author of this article also had a few other tidbits to share in things that may aid in the treatment:

  • Exfoliate – Just like the doctor ordered, you can loofah the coconut oil right in to your skin in the shower.
  • Moisturize – Apply small amounts of coconut oil to damp skin after shower and wipe away excess.
  • Avoid Trans Fats – This is a no brainer, because you should be avoiding excessively oily foods anyway. Also eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index have been shown to improve KP.
  • Take Omega-3 Supplements – Omega-3 deficiency can apparently worsen KP, additionally the author suggests ingesting 1-3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. And honestly, that’s super easy to do because the shit is delicious. I put it on some toast with a little bit of salt, oh yeah, so good.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals – Basically avoid all the nasty chemicals in soaps and body washes, you know the things that we yell about in this blog. Personally, I use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap in Rose. I have definitely noticed an improvement since I made the switch to it a few months back.

So looking at all of the above, I do essentially all of them. Except where coconut oil is concerned. Perhaps it is the missing link towards turning my chicken skin, into lady skin. I would like to wear shorts. I hear they’re in fashion during some of the warmer months.

You can use coconut oil straight up without a chaser, or you can whip it up into something fun. I made a “lotion”.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • one tsp of honey (as an emulsifier)

Here’s What You’ll Do:

  1. Furiously mix together until you inevitably give up and angrily put in whatever container you can find.

This ended in disaster because I could not for the life of me get it to blend. Like I tried most things, whisk, hand mixer, fork, coddling. The only thing I didn’t bust out was the stick blender, and honestly that’s because I was just really lazy and didn’t want to clean it. Given that the coconut oil is basically fine on it’s own, and by the smell of it some of the vinegar joined the party I just dumped the excess vinegar and used it as is.

I rubbed it into the affected areas after my shower, and I must say they look better already. I’ll include a before picture below, and follow up in a couple weeks after having used the concoction everyday and employing some of the other tips as well.

Also, to anyone who reads this and CAN get the ingredients listed above to emulsify into one homogeneous substance, please document, and share. I will send you a prize. Really, because I don’t think it can be done.

{the fixings}

{the fixings}

{this is a disaster}

{this is a disaster}

{this is my chicken thigh}

{this is my chicken thigh}

{this is my chicken wing}

{this is my chicken wing}