Please note: Just for the record, I am a nutritionist, not a dentist. This advice does not substitute for your dentist's advice. As always, speak with your healthcare practitioner when starting a new routine.
In today's post, I'm sharing some natural ways to support the health of your mouth, but more accurately, the health of your oral microbiome because ultimately it's the microbes who are in charge and they can impact the health of your entire body.
The mouth is a window to your overall health and one that is all too often overlooked.
Let's look at how this is possible. Your mouth is teeming with billions of bacteria consisting of around 400 to 700 different species plus a variety of viruses and fungi. The majority of them are found on your tongue and there are around 100 billion bacteria per gram of plaque! They also live on the inside of your cheeks and in every nook and cranny of your mouth.
There are health conditions linked to the health of your mouth from cardiovascular disease to premature birth and low birth weight, pneumonia, and endocarditis.
And on the flip side, there are health conditions that impact the health of your mouth including diabetes, immune deficiency diseases such as HIV/AIDs. Even being pregnant impacts the health of your mouth.
I remember when I was pregnant with Vienna, I developed periodontal pockets in my gums. It was pretty gross! Pregnancy lowers your immunity which can increase inflammation in your mouth due to the increase in opportunistic bacteria. To combat this, I did oil pulling daily and it disappeared in a couple of weeks. Yay for natural health remedies!
Ever since I got into natural health, I've been using natural toothpaste, ditched the harsh mouthwashes, use plastic-free floss, tongue scrape occasionally, and use essential oils in my mouth. It's been well over a decade since I've been using natural oral products and yes I still go to the dentist every 6 months. I'm proof it works because I've never had any issues with my teeth or gums since going natural!
Why go natural when it comes to oral care?
So you can easily avoid these chemicals, that's why!
Here are my favourite all-natural products for oral care.
First up are toothbrushes. You likely already know there is far too much plastic waste in our oceans contributing to the damaging levels of microplastics (MPs). Everywhere microplastics have been searched by scientists, they've been detected from the seafloor to the north pole and south pole sea ice in aquatic life, to our food and our drinking water as well as the air we breathe. This is damaging to the environment and humans as MPs are long-lived and do not easily degrade.
This is why I don't recommend plastic toothbrushes and instead use either highly sustainable toothbrushes made of bamboo, like these lovely adult and kiddie ones from Oth. Bonus! They have added charcoal to the bristles that help to whiten teeth.
Or, consider using an electric toothbrush that you'll have for many years. Of course, there's plastic waste from the head of an electric toothbrush but it's less plastic than a full toothbrush - every little bit counts!
These are some clean toothpaste options from a few brands I love and I have used them all!
Living Libations Tooth Truth Powder + Polish and Frankincense Paste for sensitive teeth. These are both excellent products with key ingredients to support oral health. If you're a newbie to using natural stuff then the toothpaste is a better one to start with than a powder which takes a bit of getting used to. The frankincense paste has a unique taste (not bad) and it's an incredible blend of biome-friendly essential oils and ingredients. Your mouth will feel fresh and clean. Use code JOYOUS for 15% off any LL product.
Green Beaver. This is a good place to start if you're currently using Crest or Colgate because it's less of a transition to using something more natural. It feels like toothpaste, tastes like it without the fluoride or any of the chemicals mentioned above. It's a Canadian company and the founder Alain has been on the Joyous Health Podcast talking about the Dirty Secrets of the Beauty Industry. You can find Green Beaver toothpaste at any health food store, or big-box grocery store.
OTH Pure Body Care. I'm a huge fan of the Classic Mint tooth powder and I love the convenience of it. You don't need that foamy feeling in your mouth to clean your teeth. The bacteria-fighting and mineral-rich ingredients are all you need in a natural tooth powder.
You can also make your own with this DIY toothpaste recipe.
Now let's talk dental floss. We've all seen the images of marine life with dental floss in their digestive system or floss washed up on the shore. This stuff either ends up in a landfill or ends up in our oceans. It contributes to microplastic waste on our planet. Please stop using plastic dental floss - I beg you!
Dental floss has also been linked to PFAs, which can cause liver damage, harm to the immune system and even cancer. Plus they persist in the environment forever. Yes, this is the same toxic chemical that was used in non-stick cookware from the '80s and '90s.
OTH dental floss is amazing. I've been using it for over a year now and I absolutely love it. It's made of sustainable mulberry silk, candelilla wax, and peppermint oil. No petroleum wax to worry about and it works like a charm. Side note, my teeth are VERY close together and this slides in and out of my teeth nicely!
I absolutely love Living Libation's Happy Gum Drops and Wild Child Gum Drops for kids. This is what I use instead of mouthwash for instant fresh breath! I put one drop on my finger and rub it on my gums - same for Vienna! If ever I'm too tired to brush my teeth (which I don't recommend and happens very seldom but it does happen from time to time) I just rub this on my teeth and gums. The essential oils are naturally antibacterial and supportive of the oral biome. Use code JOYOUS to save 15%.
This is a great DIY mouthwash too with two of my fave essential oils for oral care - cinnamon and cloves! I have a bottle of clove oil in my medicine cabinet - one of my faves because it has so many uses from toothaches to promoting a healthy oral microbiome.
There you have it! My favourite natural oral care products made by truly fantastic local Canadian companies. I hope you love these products and it inspires you to try something new!
I also recommend tongue scraping. I didn't show a photo of mine only because I'm not using it these days. I used to do it all the time several years ago when there was always gunk on my tongue in the morning, but that doesn't happen to me anymore.
Wishing you a sparkling smile!