How to Achieve Oral Health Naturally

By Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Many scientists have suggested that our teeth play a vital role in our overall health. In the last couple of years, a number of studies have shown a link between poor oral health and the development of diseases.

For example, one study demonstrated that people with dental problems were more likely to get heart disease.1 A more recent study even linked poor oral health to an increased risk of cancer and death.2

Fortunately, nature has given us the tools we need to keep our mouths in good shape.

Not only can natural ingredients help us keep our teeth clean and healthy, in certain instances, they can be gentler and more effective than the typical ingredients found in your “everyday” dental products.

Now, “going natural” doesn’t mean you should discard your toothbrush and toothpaste (we wouldn’t want that). Instead, what it means is this: You can improve your teeth by eating right and by switching to dental products that contain natural ingredients.

Now that we know that oral health can be improved naturally, let’s look at some tips on how to do just that.

Natural Ingredients for Good Oral Hygiene

The foundation of oral health is brushing and flossing after every meal. So, let’s start there.

Here are some natural ingredients to look for when selecting a natural toothpaste:

  • Tea tree oil kills cavity-causing bacteria.3 It also stops gums from bleeding.4

  • CoQ10 can help heal inflamed gum tissue.5

  • Xylitol (a natural sugar found in several fruits) may prevent cavities. According to one study, it was more effective in preventing cavities than fluoride.6

  • Hydrogen peroxide blocks plaque development.7

Vitamins that Support Oral Health

Apart from brushing and flossing, getting the right nutrition is extremely important. Just like the rest of your body, your teeth also rely on vitamins and minerals to stay strong and disease-free.

Calcium and phosphorus are essential building blocks of teeth. But our teeth also require nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

These vitamins protect gums from plaque build-up8 and inflammation,9,10 which could otherwise lead to tooth decay.

Foods That are Good for Your Teeth

We tend to think that foods damage our teeth rather than preserve them. But some foods might actually protect your gums and teeth. Here are a few examples:

  • Cranberries keep bacteria from sticking to your teeth.11 This is important because bacteria first need to stick to teeth before they can form plaque and cavities.

  • Pomegranate eases gum inflammation12 and kills plaque causing bacteria.13

  • Green tea prevents bacteria from eating their preferred food source, sugar,14 and blocks the growth of plaque-causing bacteria.15

  • Results are mixed, but there is some research showing eating apples may reduce the amount of plaque on teeth.16

Healthy Alternatives to Store-Bought Mouthwashes

Mouthwashes can also be a helpful addition to your mouth care routine. Often skipped during our nightly teeth-cleaning rituals, using a mouthwash can help to kill bad bacteria and soothe inflamed gums.

However, a number of store-bought mouthwashes are harsh and have even been linked to cancer.17

Want a mouthwash with safe and effective ingredients? Make your own at home. Key ingredients to use include chamomile, propolis, aloe, grapefruit seed extract, clove, peppermint, tea tree oil, green tea, and even cinnamon.

Below is a homemade mouthwash recipe courtesy of Breath MD18:

Recipe: Baking Soda Mouthwash:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 4 drops of pure peppermint oil
  • 4 drops of tea tree oil
  • Mix ingredients

What You Need to Know

Remember — good health starts in your mouth. By taking care of your teeth, not only will you look better, but you could make a long-lasting impact on your overall health and prevent disease.

Practicing good oral hygiene and making appropriate dietary changes are the foundation to oral health. And you should always remember that the use of natural ingredients is a safe and effective way to protect your teeth.

References:

  1. J Am Dent Assoc. 1997 May;128(5):554.
  2. BMJ Open. 2012 Jun 11;2(3).
  3. Schweiz Monatsschr Zahnmed. 2000;110(11):125-30.
  4. Aust Dent J. 2004 Jun;49(2):78-83.
  5. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1976 Aug;14(4):715-9.
  6. Am J Dent. 1995 Oct;8(5):231-5.
  7. J Clin Periodontol. 2001 Mar;28(3):270-6.
  8. J Periodontol. 1976 Nov;47(11):667-8.
  9. Proc Finn Dent Soc. 1993;89(1-2):51-9.
  10. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;82(3):575-80.
  11. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2012 Apr;23(2):160-7.
  12. J Clin Periodontol. 2005;32(Suppl 6):57-71.
  13. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):79-92.
  14. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1990 Mar;38(3):717-20.
  15. Int J Dent Hyg. 2011 May;9(2):110-6.
  16. Nahrung. 1986;30(9):907-12.
  17. Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Nov 15;166(10):1159-73.
  18. Available at: http://www.breathmd.com/homemade-mouthwash.php. Accessed August 23, 2012.

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16 comments:

Find Dentist said...

Nice blog, I was searching for the same post to update my knowledge about natural oral health tips.

Life Extension said...

Find Dentist- Thanks - glad to hear that it hit the mark!

john devis said...

I could only say... wow such a nice post i found ever. Really Maylin the way you points out the dental problems and their issues is appreciating. Thanks Maylin for making us conscious for our dental care.
Dentist in Northridge CA

LifeExtension said...

john devis - Thanks so much for the kind words! We appreciate them.

Calvin Fred said...

Poor oral hygiene leads to bad breath because when food particles are left in your mouth, they can rot and start to smell. The food bits may begin to collect bacteria, which can be smelly, too.
This further results in. So you need to Stop gum disease at its primary stage.

LifeExtension said...

Calvin Fred - Good points! Thanks for sharing.

Houston Dental Clinic said...

Keeping up a good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups can help prevent most dental problems. Thanks for sharing the valuable post.

LifeExtension said...

Houston Dental Clinic - Our pleasure!

Smi line said...

Dentist Hyderabad
I am really glad that I have found this post and I thank you for letting us know about this information.This is a big help for sure!! Thanks!

Tot Dental said...

Some very useful tips that will surely help to keep our oral health in an optimal state.
I really enjoyed the article.
Best wishes.

Life Extension said...

Tot Dental - Thanks! Glad you enjoyed reading the article.

Parra Dental said...

Great article. Nice information shared. By keeping oral naturally we can be infection free. By taking proper care of teeth it will look good and younger. Regular dental check-up can prevent the oral problems. Thanks a lot.

Daniel said...

Very informative article! Exactly the info I was searching for. You mention Tea tree oil as an effective gum disease treatment. Where can I get this product? Thanks!

Life Extension said...

Daniel - You can find tea tree oil in health food or supplement stores. Glad you liked the article!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article and amazing tips. Earlier, when I was 25 I had to undergo root canal procedure, it all happened because of my bad habit of not keeping good oral hygiene. When my dentist told me about root canal I was afraid, but I had no other option. Since then I am very cautious toward good oral hygiene and I am always looking for natural products for my teethes

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - Anytime! You may also want to check out this article for further tips: http://bit.ly/1p4olnq

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