Dental health is an essential part of maintaining a healthy body. While we focus a lot on having shiny white teeth it is important not to forget the role our gums play. Unhealthy gums can lead to gingivitis and if left untreated can cause periodontitis.
There are long-term problems associated with this including receding gum lines that can ultimately cause loose teeth or even teeth loss. However, there are some easy ways you can prevent gum disease.
Most of the commercial toothpaste and mouthwash available are full of chemical ingredients, artificial sweeteners, and fluoride. If you are like me and try to avoid chemicals and artificial ingredients shopping for dental care products can be challenging. Even the “natural” brands contain questionable ingredients.
After much searching, I discovered that it was easy to make my own products. Once I realized how little time and money were involved in the process, I wondered why it had taken me so long to make the switch.
- ¼ cup Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup Baking Soda
- 10-15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
If your coconut oil is hard at room temperature, gently heat it in a double boiler until it is melted. Add the peppermint EO to the melted coconut oil. Mix the coconut oil and baking soda together until smooth and creamy. Store in a small mason jar. You will need a small spoon to scoop the toothpaste onto your brush.
Toothpaste isn’t the only thing that is full of artificial ingredients. Mouthwash is also full of artificial colors, flavors, and chemicals. I mean look at the color- that’s clearly not natural. But more disturbing are the antibacterial properties of mouthwash. Mouthwash is designed to kill the bacteria in your mouth but it has no way to single out just the harmful bacteria. Instead, it kills all the bacteria both good and bad. There are many beneficial bacteria in our mouths that help fight problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
In fact, studies have been shown that people who eat fermented foods high in probiotic lactic acid bacteria actually have healthier teeth with less tooth decay. Now, I’m not going to suggest you start washing your mouth out with pickle juice before bed but what you can do is to switch from commercial mouthwash to a natural mouth wash that provides more benefits to your dental health. Made with baking soda and salt, this mouthwash easy to make and costs way less than what you will find at the store, and helps improve your gum health.
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 10 drops EO for flavor (Peppermint, cinnamon, and clove are good choices)
Dissolve the baking soda and salt into the water. Add the EO. Mix well. Store in a mason jar with a lid. Shake vigorously before use to ensure the ingredients are mixed well. Swish a mouthful for 30 seconds every evening before bed.
Another option to improve gum health is to make a turmeric paste to apply to your gums. Turmeric is commonly used in many traditional Indian remedies. It is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. This turmeric paste can be rubbed into your gums at night before bed and again in the morning. It will help improve your gum health, stop bleeding gums, and remove plaque.
Turmeric Gum Paste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp mustard oil
Combine the ingredients together and massage into your gums.
It is easy to find natural solutions to help improve your dental hygiene. All you need to do is make simple changes to your current dental routine. Try making natural toothpaste, switching from an antibacterial mouthwash, or oil pulling. By following the small steps you can easily begin to rebuild your gums naturally.
Coconut Oil Pulling
You probably are already brushing and flossing before bed. Another solution to help repair gums is oil pulling.
An ancient Ayurvedic technique, oil pulling has been used in India for centuries. Oil pulling is said to “pull” harmful bacteria and toxins as well as clean your teeth, helping to improve gum health and the overall health of your body. Oil pulling is really quite simple. You simply swish a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth. Coconut and sesame oil are the most common oils used but you can also use olive oil as well.
Normally you swish for 15-20 minutes to achieve the maximum effects before you spit out the oil. It can be a bit difficult at first so if you can’t handle 15 minutes start with 5 minutes at a time and slowly work your way up to longer durations. You can do this in the evening before bed and it will help improve your gum health.
Though more specific research is needed, several studies point to the potential of cloves to prevent plaque and reduce inflammation.
That’s because cloves have antiviral and antioxidant properties. They may also help to relieve pain.
To apply cloves topically:
- Mince about 1 teaspoon of cloves
- Dip a damp cotton ball into the minced cloves, getting as much as you can onto the cotton ball
- Gently rub the clove-covered cotton ball onto your gums
- Let the cloves sit on your gums for about a minute
- Swish water around your mouth to collect all of the cloves
- Spit the clove water out
You shouldn’t use cloves in large quantities or for long periods of time.