Oral Health Alternatives
By Sarah Baker, CHN
When it comes to oral health alternatives, companies are taking note of the clean movement and creating holistic products that are free of fluoride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and triclosan, and instead focusing on natural ingredients like bentonite clay and charcoal.
If you’re cleaning up your hygiene routine, these oral health alternatives can give you strong pearly whites without the harmful ingredients.
Many health experts believe that over time, fluoride can build up within the body and contribute to various health issues. The use of fluoride is controversial as it's added to the water supply in countries all over the world—and when it’s used in toothpaste, there are likely additional ingredients that clean product seekers may want to steer clear from. To cater to the non-fluoride trend, there’s a slew of effective natural ingredients that are found in alternative toothpaste.
Activated charcoal helps remove toxins or any type of buildup as it is highly absorbent. Because it is so successful at binding to chemicals, it is also known to bind to any stains, thus helping to whiten teeth. Studies have shown that charcoal helps oral health by assisting with maintaining a normal pH, killing bad bacteria, and even preventing cavities. There are many fluoride-free toothpastes that use charcoal as the main ingredient, as well as charcoal products that are used specifically to whiten teeth.
Just like charcoal, bentonite clay also binds to chemicals and substances in the mouth, helping to remove buildup in our gums, tongue, and teeth. It also contains antibacterial properties which help to further kill germs that may be lurking in the mouth. It is widely used in natural toothpastes, as well as alone as a mouthwash treatment. Because it is also alkaline, it helps balance the acidity in our mouths.
Manuka honey isn’t just for tea! It is known to contain a specific enzyme that helps create hydrogen peroxide, which is a great antibacterial property for oral health. It’s ideal for the health of our teeth as it helps prevent plaque and bad breath. Its properties may also help prevent tooth decay and even cavities as well.
Some mouthwashes can be very irritating since a majority of popular brands contain alcohol. Alcohol can be extremely dehydrating for teeth and can also cause gum sensitivity, which is why many individuals who are looking for alternative options to mouthwash turn to oil pulling and gentler, natural products. Here are some natural ingredients that are a great alternative to mouthwash.
When used as a mouthwash, coconut oil helps sweep away germs and microbes by sucking them out when swished around our mouths. Coconut oil also has natural antimicrobial compounds, specifically from its lauric acid content. Studies have linked oil pulling with coconut oil to reducing gingivitis and plaque buildup, a common challenge when it comes to oral health.
Did you know that specific herbs can also help oral health? When used as a rinse, rosemary can feel soothing to gums and contains antibacterial properties. Peppermint gives off a fresh taste while also helping kill off germs. Neem, a popular Ayurvedic herb, acts as a strong disinfectant when used as a mouth rinse.
Additional Oral Health Staples
Besides brushing, flossing, and rinsing, there are many other ways that you can maintain the best oral health possible. From the foods you eat to the supplements you take; your mouth is the first entry point into the intricate system which is your digestive system. Here are two additional staples to keep in your medicine cabinet.
If you know about probiotics, you have probably heard of the wonderful ways they can help your microbiome. But, did you know that there are specific strands for specific purposes? There is even a specific probiotic strain that caters to the health of your gums, tongue, and teeth. Oral probiotics can help combat cavities, gingivitis, and any type of bacteria that could be lurking in your mouth.
A popular Ayurvedic practice, tongue scraping has a multitude of benefits. Tongue scraping helps remove any type of bacteria or toxin buildup on your tongue, it removes the coating on your tongue that can cause bad breath and can also help reset your taste buds.
With alternative oral health products popping up left and right, it can be extremely easy to migrate away from traditional products that contain harmful ingredients like fluoride and alcohol. Understanding how natural ingredients work to improve your health and wellness will help you decide what clean products will work for you!