Have you ever looked up the ingredients of your toothpaste & oral care products? It might actually take you a bit of effort to find the list of ingredients. Many dental products are regulated as a drug and they have therefore managed to bypass the necessity of providing a complete list of ingredients. When information is hidden from you, it’s time to take a peek under the rug.
There are a lot of grand claims on the web both for and against natural dentistry. I believe that these claims should always provoke a skeptical reaction until you have been diligent and done your homework on the subject. Someone rather clever once said;
Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.
What can You Do?
A practical approach is to read labels and avoid products that contain ingredients that clearly do not belong on or in your body such as; sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) and triclosan. If you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably worth looking up. Look for natural ingredients that you are familiar with and the less ingredients in a product the better. From there you can decide if you want to take it to the next level and make your own products. An act that is far simpler than you might imagine.
We follow a natural dental regime and have done so for many years. We don’t have dental coverage anymore so caring for our teeth is incredibly important. When making decisions about what methods to use, we tried different things that made sense, and incorporated the ones that worked best.
The Shift To Mindful Dentistry
Our oral care went from being a mindless practice to a mindful one. There was a natural shift in perception that came from replacing white tubes of mystery paste with lovely products in glass vials. Oral care feel luxurious now, because it is.
What do I know?
After years of following a 100% pure, fluoride free, self dentistry regime I can proudly report that I have healthy teeth and no cavities.
I have spoken to dentists, hygienists and even an orthodontist and there seems to be a shift in perception about fluoride use (it wasn’t even offered to me at my last cleaning. There is a lot more open minded discussion when you bring up natural methods with the professionals these days.
Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil
When we started natural dentistry an article was circulating online about how it was possible to heal cavities through good diet and regular oil pulling. Coincidentally, I thought I had a cavity developing in one of my molars so I jumped on the chance to try and reverse it.
I oil pulled twice a day for the first year. My teeth felt cleaner and they were obviously whiter. My gums appear healthier. I had no pain or sensitivity but the cavity was certainly not “healing”. Four years, an x-ray and a dental examination later and there is no cavity and there never was one in the first place. I was being paranoid. What I was feeling was just ridges and bumps on the molar. My husband and son also use oil pulling and I can’t say that we’ve had the pleasure of healed cavities in our family. I am not at all convinced that this really does happen.
In my families experience coconut oil does not heal cavities but it is amazing all the same!
Oil pulling with coconut oil has added to our overall dental experience. It safely kills bacteria in the mouth and can be considered a safe natural mouth wash. It reduces sensitivity and pain and can aide in whitening teeth. You can add a few drops of clove essential oil if you suffer from sensitivity. Clove oil is amazing. You can also add other essential oil blends that are antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial.
Why Coconut Oil
The coconut was hailed as the “Kalpavriksha” in the ancient Sanskrit texts of Ayurveda. This translates as “the tree that provides everything necessary for life”. Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India.
When you look at the properties of Coconut Oil, this starts to make a lot of sense. Coconut Oil is the most nutrient dense part of the coconut. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antioxidant and antifungal properties. It helps in the absorption of other minerals and it is an incredible source of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which reportedly have many health benefits. If that wasn’t enough, Pure coconut oil contains about 50 percent lauric acid, reportedly the most abundant natural source of lauric acid available. Many mainstream studies are revealing positive analysis of the health benefits: you don’t have to dig too deeply anymore.
Here is an extensive list of studies related to coconut oil.
How to Oil Pull
Take a tablespoon of coconut oil – organic, cold pressed and stick it in your mouth and let it dissolve. Swish, and swish for 15-20 minutes. It might seem like a long time at first but you can shower, read the paper and go about your business while doing it. Spit the oil out into the garbage. It is not advisable to spit oil into your sink. We keep our coconut oil in the fridge in the summer so it is solidified, but that’s just our preference. You can also mix a few drops of essential oils into the oil before swishing with it.
Natural Tooth Paste
Your teeth absorb what you put on them. You mouth absorbs what you put into it. So, when you are using commercial chemical based cleaners and mouth washes, you are putting these chemicals into your body.
Choosing natural products that are safe, used as food ingredients, and come from nature, you can feel better about your dental care regime. You really don’t need anything fancy. I know big business spends a lot of money on commercials and advertisements that depict smiling people with shiny white teeth in a grassy field: they want your money.
If they wanted you to be healthy, their products would not come with warning labels.
Simplicity is best. One of my favourite all natural toothpastes is Frankincense Truth Toothpaste from Living Libations followed by Weleda Salt Toothpaste. That said, making your own toothpaste is simple, inexpensive and there are dozens of great recipes for homemade toothpaste. They range from the simplest one ingredient, to complex.
Natural Baking Soda Paste
1 container of Natural Baking Soda
Wet your toothbrush and dip it into the soda. Brush. You can also place a few drops of essential oils on your brush with the baking soda. I personally find baking soda too abrasive and will only use it once a week at most.
Baking Soda & Sea Salt Paste
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt, finely ground
1 drop peppermint essential oil
1 drop clove essential oil
A few drops of water
Mix ingredients into a paste. Scoop onto your brush and brush as usual.
Bentonite Clay/Sea Salt Toothpaste
4 tbsp Food Grade Redmond Clay
¼ tsp sea salt, finely ground
2-3 tbsp filtered water (adjust to desired consistency)
6 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
5 drops Menthol
5 drops Tea Tree Oil
3 drops clove essential oil
Mix ingredients and combine thoroughly until a thick paste is formed. Scoop it on to your toothbrush and brush as usual. This is my preferred recipe.
About Natural Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Some of the companies that sell baking soda use a chemical process to make their product while others sell pure sodium bicarbonate in its natural form, the way the earth made it. We use Bob’s Red Mill Pure Baking Soda.
Ideally, you should be brushing and flossing twice a day. Flossing means gently scrubbing up and down between each tooth and around the gum line, thoroughly removing particles and gently massaging the gums. Flossing is a really important step. There is no better cost effective way to clean out lingering bacteria and food debris from the contact points between your teeth.We put a few drops of essential oils of our finger tips and run it down the string of floss. My favourite floss is Dr Tungs Smart Floss, which can be hard to find but it is worth searching for.
Not all essential oils are created equal. This is a lengthy subject, but one of the criteria that you should look for is a specification sheet. You supplier must be able to provide the following for each oil: Common name, Latin name (exact genus and species), Country of origin, Part of plant processed, Type of Extraction (distillation or expression), how it was grown (organic, wild-crafted, traditional).
Essential Oils in Oral Care
Apply few drops of oil on your toothpaste, mixed into your coconut oil or even a few drops on your finger tips to run down the length of your floss before flossing. Here are a few of the beneficial oils for use in oral care, I have provided a link to the supplier and product that we currently use.
Peppermint – antibacterial, antiviral
Clove– reduces tooth aches, antibacterial
Cinnamon – antiseptic and antibacterial
Tea tree – antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial
Fluoridating our water is an act of forced medication, which is a violation of our basic human rights. In humans, acute ingestion of fluoride can result in nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, drowsiness, coma, convulsions, cardiac arrest and death. Here is a PDF of Heath Canada’s Research Document grossly outdated (last updated in 1997).
Public resistance to fluoridation has existed as long as fluoridation itself, and it is a complex subject. The best solution is to stop administering it to people in drinking water and allow people to apply it topically through toothpaste or dental procedures. Everyone wins this way. There are numerous medical studies that now support this idea.
“Fluoride is most effective when used topically, after the teeth have erupted.”
SOURCE: Cheng KK, et al. (2007). Adding fluoride to water supplies. British Medical Journal 335(7622):699-702.
“Current evidence strongly suggests that fluorides work primarily by topical means through direct action on the teeth and dental plaque. Thus ingestion of fluoride is not essential for caries prevention.” SOURCE: Warren JJ, Levy SM. (2003). Current and future role of fluoride in nutrition. Dental Clinics of North America 47: 225-43.
The tides are changing, and many communities are stopping their fluoride water treatment programs If you are concerned about fluoride in your drinking water, there are water filters available that can remove contaminants including fluoride and arsenic from your water.
You can read my update: Four years, no dentist, perfect teeth Here!