Okay, let’s paint the picture for those of you who always prefer the “natural” way to do anything. You shop at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. You used to drive a Prius, but now, you drive a Fusion. You don’t eat red meat; you might not eat any meat at all. There are all sorts of assumptions that could be made about you, but by and large, the one that sticks is that, if there’s a more natural way to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you want to know about it. That’s the bottom line here. Fair enough—there are actually loads of products available to you that can help you accomplish this with only natural ingredients. All that really matters is that you still need to brush, floss, and preferably rinse regularly.
The first thing on most people’s minds when trying any new product is whether or not it’s safe to try, so lest there be any confusion about the safety of natural, oral care products, rest assured that there’s nothing to fear. The dentistry community is still trying to determine what other natural ingredients are out there that can be used for a variety of oral hygiene purposes, and they’re also still determining which ones are most efficient for which purposes. In particular, they investigate the effects of natural products on preventing cavities and gum disease; the jury’s still out on whether or not natural products actually do a better job. What we can all know, though, is that fluoride is definitely a naturally occurring, anti-cavity substance, and all toothpastes that have the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association contain fluoride.
Natural and Herbal Substances
There’s a rather lengthy list of herbal and natural substances like oils, tea, and peroxide that can work wonders when it comes to cleaning teeth. One of the most popular, natural substances people use is sodium bicarbonate, commonly referred to as baking soda. People often brush with it to fight off tooth decay. Peroxide can also be very good for defending against bacteria of various sorts; although, you do have to make sure it is diluted because it can burn the gums if used at full concentration.
Research suggests that you may be able to prevent the erosion of enamel by rinsing with green tea. The rationale behind this is that green tea may very well keep cake, crackers, and other starchy foods from decaying your teeth. There’s also a study that suggests the gums of people who drink green tea regularly tend to be healthier than those of the average joe, and poor Joe’s just fighting the good fight all by his lonesome with processed products. Average Joe bears no relation to Trader Joe, so he didn’t know any better.
In terms of oils, there’s always tea tree, which can help you kill the bacteria in your mouth; however, you can use menthol and eucalyptol for the same purpose. In so doing, you protect your gums from inflammation. You can go to stores and find mouthwash and toothpaste that rely on these ingredients fairly easily, too. Now, there’s also a form of alcohol that gets used as sugar sometimes; it’s called xylitol. Some pundits believe it may be able to assuage or even prevent tooth decay. Usually, xylitol can be found in the form of a lozenge, or you can chew it as gum. Just know that the research on xylitol’s effects are still inconclusive so far. That being said, a published study does produce results that lead one to believe it would reduce adult cavity frequency by 10%, which isn’t too shabby albeit not the largest figure imaginable. Still, xylitol’s also good for dry mouth because it’ll definitely get your saliva pumping.
Be sure to get your vitamin D, too, because it helps your body kill bacteria. Studies are looking at vitamin D as possibly being a significant factor to whether or not you’re susceptible to gingivitis or periodontitis. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, there is a yet unconfirmed correlation between that lack and the manifestation of gum disease.