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Natural Oral Care Essentials

Your mouth is a window to the health of your body. Instead of bombing it with antiseptic mouthwashes and chemical-laden toothpaste, go natural!
Mar 1, 2021 | Joy McCarthy

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!

  • Fluoride - A longstanding and very controversial chemical. There are various reasons you should avoid fluoride and one of them is that it takes the place of calcium in bones and teeth. As well, 68 studies have found a link between fluoride and reduced IQ and it has been strongly linked to osteoarthritis.
  • Triclosan - A toxic, hormone-disrupting to humans and negatively impacts immune cells, skin cells, and mitochondrial function according to a University of Maine study. It is also very toxic to aquatic organisms. A study in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology provided some startling evidence about just how much of the chemical can wind up in the bodies of pregnant women, babies, and young children. Even though triclosan has been on the hot seat in Canada since 2015, Health Canada has approved 64 marketed products that contain triclosan. These are not all hand sanitizers (where they used to be commonly found) ― some are soaps, hand washes and toothpaste like Colgate Total.
  • Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) - An industrial cleaning compound/detergent used as a foaming agent in toothpaste. It is a tissue irritant and strips away the mucous lining which is why it can lead to mouth ulcers. Also used as an insecticide SLS is definitely one to avoid! Equally as controversial as fluoride as many chemical companies say it's safe but not safe for putting in your mouth, that is for sure! Many toothpaste brands, even natural ones contain SLS. 
  • Other chemicals found in conventional oral care include propylene glycol, artificial colours and flavours, parabens, artificial sweeteners and diethanolamine (DEA). 

Here are my favourite all-natural products for oral care. 

Holisitic Oral Care Routine

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! 

Holisitic Oral Care Routine

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. For 15% off any Living Libations product, be sure to use this link.

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. 

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. 

Note: The floss in the photo above is no longer available. I've been using this plastic-free floss instead.

Holisitic Oral Care Routine

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!

Holisitic Oral Care Routine

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!
Joy xo

Erin   •   March 2, 2021

Thank you for this information! Do you and Vienna avoid fluoride treatment at the dentist too?

Joy McCarthy   •   March 2, 2021

Erin T.   •   March 2, 2021

What do you do at the dentist when they offer fluoride treatment for you and Vienna?

Joy McCarthy   •   March 2, 2021

stephanie fraser   •   March 2, 2021

Love this Joy. Thanks for sharing

Joy McCarthy   •   March 3, 2021

Diana   •   March 4, 2021

Thank you so much for the information! Sure I’m going to try some of them. Just wondering which toothpaste to use for children? Is the « wild child » enough to use it as a toothpaste for kids or should i use something else with it? Thank you!

Joy McCarthy   •   March 4, 2021

Jen G.   •   March 9, 2021

Thank you, Joy! I've been trying to find a good sustainable dental floss. Appreciate the post!

Joy McCarthy   •   March 9, 2021

Olivia   •   April 23, 2021

This is all very helpful, thank you! Have you found a biomedical dentist that you like in Toronto? Or do you visit a regular dentist?

Joy McCarthy   •   April 23, 2021

Gail Grant   •   March 6, 2023

I like the mouth care products in the Thieves line- it includes several essential oils that are so supportive to health. Thieves Whitening toothpaste is my fav. There are a few others plus a kids toothpaste. The mouthwash is also good and you only need a minuscule amt. I use regular dental floss - yikes- because I’m a hard user I find the thieves dental floss is too thin for me- but my friends like it. It is made of nylon that is coated in beeswax infused with essential oils. Well, I love and totally believe in natural products. I just can’t imagine giving up dental floss because it works so effectively for me as part of my dental program.


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