Natural Oral Care Options:
With all of the information circulating about the benefits of organic foods and natural ingredients, many people are curious about natural oral care options. While natural products and ingredients are no replacement for proper oral health care: flossing, brushing, and mouthwash, there are some natural products that can improve the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth.
When in doubt, talk with your dentist. Read the ingredients on the label for any natural oral product and talk with your dentist about the potential benefits or risks for each ingredient. While most natural oral care products are safe to use, there is still much to be learned about which ingredients are the most effective in helping to prevent and fight against gum disease and cavities. One thing is for sure, fluoride is the only FDA-approved ingredient proven to fight cavities.
There are some natural ingredients and foods that can help to clean your teeth. Some of these might even protect your mouth against tooth decay and gum disease:
• Eucalyptol, tea tree, and menthol oils
• Vitamin D
• Baking soda
• Green tea
Some toothpastes include baking soda as an ingredient, however, mixing regular baking soda from your cabinet with a bit of water into a paste can work just as well! It is important to dilute baking soda as it can burn your gums at full strength.
One study found that people who drink green tea on a regular basis have healthier gums than people who don’t. Another suggested that rinsing with green tea has the same protective effect on your teeth as rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash.
Oils like tea tree, eucalyptol, and menthol are botanical antiseptics and can help to kill mouth bacteria, which fights against inflamed gums. In fact, there are toothpastes and mouthwashes that include these ingredients.
The natural ingredient with the best reputation for fighting against tooth decay is Xylitol. This herbal product is an alcohol that is used in place of sugar in gum and lozenges. In recent studies it has been shown to limit the growth of bacteria and also acts as a carrier of calcium and fluoride to help strengthen the teeth. Chewing suger free gum after a meal is a good way to “rinse” your mouth of the sugars and acids accumulated from the food and drinks that you’ve eaten. However, not all sugar free gums are the same. Chewing gum sweetened with 100% Xylitol will also help repair, remineralize and strengthen your enamel.
Vitamin D is thought to kill bacteria, and some studies show a correlation between low Vitamin D levels and gum disease. It is always best to talk with your doctor before adding a Vitamin to your daily consumption, however, you can get Vitamin D naturally from foods like tuna, eggs, salmon, and fortified juice or milk.