If you’ve read or heard about preventing cavities, you’ve likely heard the buzzword “fluoride.” The American Dental Association endorses fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. There is also fluoride in many toothpastes and mouthwashes. Many dentists also recommend fluoride treatments for children. However, many practitioners believe that fluoride is toxic and does not decrease tooth decay.
In recent years, holistic dentistry has gained popularity as an alternative to traditional, mainstream dentistry. While regular dental checkups and maintenance are supremely important to your health, you do have some natural options for dental care. If you’ve made the choice for holistic dentistry, you can still prevent cavities and protect your oral health.
The easiest way to prevent cavities is by brushing your teeth and removing plaque at least three times a day, especially after eating and before bed. Fluoride-free natural toothpaste is available at natural stores, as well as many major store chains. You can also make your own toothpaste by mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Make sure that you do not swallow this mixture. Dry brushing is another option to clean your teeth. Remember to floss in order to remove plaque.
After a lifetime of brushing, you’ve probably become accustomed to the taste of minty toothpaste. If so, you can mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 teaspoon of sea salt and add a few drops of wintergreen or peppermint oil. Mix the solution and store it in a sealed container for about three weeks.
If you’re over the age of 21, you can also try this unique mouthwash recipe. This will also help prevent and reduce the spread of cavities. Boil water and vodka, adding 12 drops of peppermint essential oil and five drops of myrrh essential oil once the liquid has cooled. The vodka will kill cavity-causing germs and bacteria, while the myrrh protects your gums.
Finally, here’s one more simple mouthwash idea. Mix one teaspoon each of rosemary, peppermint and lavender. Mix the herbs well and then place one teaspoon of the mixture in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes and then strain. Cool and use as a mouthwash.
If you were never a huge fan of mouthwash, turn on the teapot. Green tea has been used for years as an all-natural alternative to typical mouthwashes. The tea’s natural antioxidants create an effective oral rinse that’s completely safe and all natural. Studies have shown that drinking green tea greatly reduces plague formation, which leads to cavities and gum disease.
To freshen your breath, try chewing on parsley, mint leaves or anise seeds. You can also mix clove oil and olive oil to naturally freshen your breath. If you like the sensation of chewing gum, look for one that contains xylitol, which is a naturally occurring sweetener that does not affect insulin levels in diabetics. Xylitol actively repairs cavities and prevents future tooth decay.
Concerned about removing tartar? Take lemon rind and rub your teeth and gums. This is one step you can take to remove plaque and tartar.
Your diet can also do a lot to maintain your oral hygiene. Reducing the amount of sugary foods you eat can reduce the risk of cavities. Vitamin C is also a powerful tool for oral health. Cheese contains natural cavity-fighting agents, as well as vitamins, to strength the teeth and enamel. Also, try to eat natural unsweetened yogurt on a daily basis. Yogurt has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that can rid the mouth of harmful yeast, germs and bacteria that cause cavities. Fermented vegetables like pickles and sauerkraut contain beneficial bacteria that promotes a healthy mouth. For healthy teeth, keep your diet rich in minerals and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K2). Avoid grains and whole grains, unless soaked, sprouted or fermented.
Guest blogger Jennifer Vishnevsky is a writer for Top Dentists, an Everyday Health website, as well as other lifestyle media sites.