Natural oral care products are another way for us to get away from manufactured products which can contain chemicals. Many of these chemicals are things we probably don’t want to expose ourselves or our families to.
Potentially Harmful Chemicals Abound
Did you know there are a number of potentially harmful chemicals that can be found in manufactured toothpaste and mouthwash? These chemicals can cause everything from inflammation to possibly causing cancer with repeated exposure. Here are a few to look for in the list of ingredients of the products you are putting in your mouth.
Flouride- As far back as I can remember we were told that fluoride in our toothpaste and water would help us prevent tooth decay. However, recent studies have shown it can be neurotoxic and can lead to thyroid problems, memory problems and interfere with cognitive function.
Triclosan– This is an antibacterial ingredient. It is actually only found in 1 toothpaste brand sold in the US. However, in 2016 the FDA banned the chemical in soaps, antiseptic hand gels, and body washes. Studies have found that it may be harmful to the immune system, it may contribute to antibiotic-resistant organisms, and it was found to alter hormone regulation in animal studies.
Parabens– These chemicals are used as preservatives in cosmetic products, including toothpaste to prevent bacterial growth. Parabens can usually be identified by the name, such as Methylparaben. They usually contain paraben in the name. Studies show they may act like estrogen in the body and have been linked to possible cancer, developmental issues, and reproductive problems.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate– This is used as a foaming agent in toothpaste. Studies have shown it may be toxic to marine life and it has been linked to skin irritation and canker sores.
Preservatives– Some other preservatives used in toothpaste have been shown to release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing substance.
Alcohol- The alcohol found in mouthwash is what gives you that tingly feeling after you spit. But it has been found to kill the good bacteria as well as the bacteria that cause tooth decay. It has a drying effect on your mouth that can lead to a syndrome known as dry mouth. It also may be a cancer causing substance.
Why Go Natural?
So if we are putting all these substances in our mouth to be absorbed through the mucous membranes is it any wonder we could have adverse health effects? Is there a more natural alternative?
It turns out there is. Using natural substances and making your own DIY natural oral care products like tooth powder and mouthwash are natural alternatives. They can actually be just as effective for your oral health while helping you avoid dangerous chemicals.
Homemade Tooth Powder
This homemade tooth powder uses all natural ingredients that are good for your teeth and gums. Let’s look at each of them.
Baking Soda– Yes, that inexpensive white powder you keep in the kitchen is also great for the health of your mouth. Baking soda has an alkaline pH, so it helps to neutralize acids and make your mouth pH healthier. Baking soda can also help whiten teeth. The mildly abrasive quality of baking soda can also help to remove plaque buildup. The other side of that is that since baking soda has a mild abrasive quality it can wear down the enamel of your teeth with vigorous pressure when brushing.
Bentonite Clay– Bentonite clay is a form of volcanic ash. It is used in many skin care products. But did you know it is also great for your oral health? Bentonite clay has a negative electrical charge when wet that helps it to absorb and remove toxins and heavy metals from your mouth. It also releases minerals like calcium into your mouth that can help with the remineralization of your teeth. It has an alkaline pH which also helps to promote a healthy oral pH level. The detoxifying effects of Bentonite Clay are very beneficial for your oral health.
Ground Sage Leaf– Sage has an antibacterial effect against the bacteria that cause tooth decay. A study published in 2015 (1) found that the extract of Salvia officinalis (Common Garden Sage) was effective against Streptococcus mutans, which is the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Since Clary Sage essential oil has antimicrobial properties as well, it may also be effective to use instead of ground Sage. I could find no studies looking at the essential oil to show effectiveness.
Sea Salt– Sea salt contains trace minerals which may also help remineralize your teeth. The nutrients in sea salt can also help you maintain gum health, whiten your teeth, and help prevent tartar and bad breath.
Essential Oil– As noted before you could try adding Clary Sage essential oil to help fight bacteria in your mouth. You may also want to add other essential oils because they also have antibacterial properties. Besides, the taste of baking soda and clay could be off-putting to some. I like to add Spearmint essential oil to my tooth powder. But you can also add Peppermint, as well as any of the citrus oils to create your own great taste. We offer a full line of 100% pure essential oils in our online store.
Before I get to the recipe I wanted to address a common myth about bentonite clay. You will see everywhere the admonition to not use a metal spoon with bentonite clay and the warning that the metal will somehow deactivate the clay. I found this hard to believe, so I did some research. I found a great answer here (2). The author explains how bentonite clay is in contact with metal all through the mining and packaging process. So it seems a little silly to think the metal spoon in your kitchen will deactivate it when it was mined and transported with all-metal heavy equipment. But if you are superstitious just use plastic. And if you spill some sea salt be sure and throw a pinch over your shoulder.
Natural Oral Care Product- Natural Tooth Powder
- 1/4 Cup Bentonite Clay
- 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
- 1 Tbsp Ground Sage
- 1 Tbsp Fine Ground Sea Salt
- 15 drops Spearmint Essential Oil
Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add drops of Spearmint essential oil and mix completely. Store in a small jar.
If you want to add a little sweetness to the mix add in a small amount of natural sweetener like xylitol. Just keep it away from your pets because it is very harmful to cats and dogs.
Just wet your toothbrush and dip into the tooth powder and brush as normal. Don’t worry about the funny color when you rinse and spit. That is just the bentonite clay.
Natural Oral Care Product- Natural Mouthwash
To follow up your all natural oral care brushing, many people like to use a mouthwash to help keep their mouth and tongue clean of bacteria as well.
- 1 Cup Distilled Water
- 1 Cup 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
- 15 drops Spearmint Essential Oil
Combine the water and peroxide. Add 15 drops of essential oil to the mix. I like spearmint, but you can also use peppermint, sweet orange or other citrus essential oils. You can also add Tea Tree essential oil for a super antibacterial kick. However, all of these essential oils also exhibit antibacterial properties, so they are fine for use in your DIY antibacterial mouthwash.
Note that you should not swallow this mouthwash. Spit and rinse to keep from swallowing the essential oils. Be sure to shake well before each use. Store in a dark bottle away from sunlight because sunlight breaks down hydrogen peroxide.
Using these two natural oral care products you can avoid the chemicals found in commercial products. They use all natural ingredients so they are not only better for you, they are better for the environment.