Traditionally, we are taught that fluoride, chemical toothpastes, and mouthwash are the way to care for our teeth. To a degree, that is correct. However, there are natural alternatives to these products that can also keep your teeth and gums healthy without using so many chemicals.
Natural tooth care is similar to traditional methods of oral care in theory. Keep the level of harmful bacteria down and keep the teeth clean. One place to start is with sugar. Sugar comes in many forms, including fruit, some vegetables, and processed carbohydrates. Xylitol is an alcohol used to replace sugar. It may help reduce cavities marginally, but may also boost the production of saliva in the mouth. A dry mouth is an invitation for bacteria, so more saliva can help prevent tooth decay. Overall, reducing the amount of sugar in the diet will expose the teeth to fewer bacteria. Some healthy foods such as eggs, salmon, tuna, and real orange juice are loaded with Vitamin D, which has been shown to help your body kill bacteria. Oils such as tea tree, menthol, and eucalyptus are frequently used in toothpaste and oral care products because they may help kill oral bacteria. Peroxide is another bacteria killer, and baking soda helps fight tooth decay and polishes teeth. Together, they also whiten teeth. Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, and frequently used for oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that claims to whiten teeth and heal gum disease by swishing the oil back and forth between the teeth for 5 to 20 minutes.
One of the most important changes you can make to improve your dental health is to eat a healthy diet. Indigenous people didn’t experience tooth decay, and the key to that can be traced back to their diet. Pure, healthy food acted as a kind of natural dental care, actually preventing problems before they started. The Western diet, filled with sugar, carbohydrates, and processed food stripped of beneficial vitamins, introduced us to oral disease. It is possible to re-mineralize your teeth and rebuild tooth enamel through a healthy diet, but the real culprit is the body stealing minerals such as calcium from our teeth and bones to replenish low levels in the blood. Sugar alters the pH levels in the blood, so the body must supplement it with calcium from other parts of the body.
Regardless of what information is out there about natural tooth care, the most important thing to do is keep the mouth and teeth clean and remove destructive bacteria through proper brushing and flossing. This includes regular cleaning visits with a dentist to remove built up deposits below the gum line. Improving your diet by limiting artificial additives and refined sugars, while adding fruits and vegetables, will improve all aspects of your health- including your teeth. If you take good care of your teeth, they will take care of you.