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Tooth and gum health

By Nadia McMorran

Commercial toothpaste and mouthwash often contain a lot of chemicals and unnecessary ingredients – there is a reason you’re not supposed to swallow it! There are many more natural alternatives that don’t contain dangerous additives and work just as well (if not better) at maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent substance – it is even used in hospitals in cases of poisoning. Toxins adhere to the surface of charcoal, and as the body does not absorb charcoal, those toxins can then easily be flushed out.

Brushing your teeth with charcoal has the same effect – it removes toxins and surface stains from your mouth, and when used regularly is effective as a tooth whitener.

Charcoal can also be beneficial in adjusting the pH and health of the mouth, preventing cavities, tooth decay and bad bacteria from proliferating.

Supplements that remineralise your teeth

It is possible to heal cavities that have formed in teeth by eating a healthy, specific diet minimising sugar and phytic acid and supplementing with minerals and vitamins, specifically the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Phytic acid is largely responsible for preventing the absorption of vitamins and minerals, so it stands to reason that minimising this in your diet means that you will absorb many more vitamins and minerals, and therefore your overall health will improve, not just your mouth health.

Dr. Weston A.Price (a dentist) spent many years researching this very topic and has written books detailing how to achieve optimum oral health.

Herbs for tooth and gum health

Manuka: Using manuka as a mouthwash works by killing bacteria that causes bad breath, as well as helping to fight infections in the mouth.

Myrrh: A tincture of myrrh is an excellent pain reliever for toothache. It can also cure bleeding gums and fight bacteria.

Echinacea: Echinacea reduces inflammation, modulates the immune system and fights infection in the mouth.

Goldenseal: This strong herb is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. I find that it is incredibly helpful for particularly stubborn infections that are difficult to get on top of through other means.

Oil pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic remedy used to clean and detoxify the mouth while also whitening teeth.

Swish 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil or sesame oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes (you may need practice to build up to this length of time). When finished, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth with warm water. The oil draws toxins and bacteria out of the teeth and gums so it’s important that you don’t swallow the oil when you’re finished. This technique also works really well if you have a toothache or infection in your mouth and can produce pretty miraculous results.

Remember, you should always opt to use a soft toothbrush - using a firm toothbrush can actually exacerbate gum and tooth issues, because the hard bristles can irritate and cause receeding gums and wear away the enamel on your teeth. A soft brush with flexible bristles actually works much better to clean harder to reach areas of your mouth.

The foam produced by commercial toothpastes is not necessary for cleaning your teeth – this foam is created by nasty additives such as sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) which are actually very harmful to your health.

Using some of the alternatives I've mentioned, or other natural toothpastes will be beneficial to your teeth, gums and your overall health.