The past couple of years have made us all very aware of what we choose to put into our bodies. Whether it’s a small change in diet or an all-out pantry pillaging, what enters our bodies—and, more importantly, what doesn’t—has never been more important.
While the increase in health and wellness awareness is definitely a good thing, trying to find natural and organic alternatives to everyday products can be a little challenging. Oftentimes, organic products have misleading labels and are, in fact, even more processed than their regular counterparts. Similarly, while organic products might have fewer side effects, they are often also less effective—or, worse yet, less tasty.
Fortunately, when it comes to oral care, there are tons of organic toothpastes and natural ingredients that can be safe and effective substitutes.
Baking soda is good for more than just making light and airy red velvet muffins. While you should definitely continue using baking soda in your baked goods—and then drop some off at our clinic—it also makes for great natural toothpaste.
By this point, it’s no secret that baking soda can and does whiten teeth. Household names like Arm & HammerTM and Colgate alone offer more than 20 baking-soda-based toothpastes marketed towards everything from teeth whitening to sensitive gums. It’s also possible to combine water and baking soda at home to make your very own teeth-whitening solution.
It’s important to note, however, that baking soda alone might whiten your teeth, but it doesn’t kill bacteria or significantly improve oral health and hygiene. For that, additives are required.
Adding essential oils—such as peppermint oil or coconut oil—can improve the efficacy of homemade and DIY baking soda toothpastes. Studies have shown that coconut oil is effective at fighting thrush (an oral yeast infection) but more research is still needed to determine whether or not it is effective at fighting regular plaque buildup.
A common additive to homemade toothpaste is, of all things, salt. This common household product does temporarily balance your mouth’s pH level, thusly discouraging the growth of cavity-forming bacteria.
Other additives to a baking soda toothpaste could include cocoa nibs and cinnamon. But when it comes to homemade toothpastes, it’s important to consult your dentist first. You’ll have to consider closely monitoring the pH level of your homebrew so as to not encourage the growth of bad bacteria and ensure that nothing in your paste is so abrasive as to damage enamel.
Activated charcoal toothpastes are also a great alternative to the average tube. The abrasive nature of charcoal whitens teeth and removes plaque. That very same abrasiveness, however, could damage enamel or erode gums so avoid overuse of activated charcoal toothpastes.
Charcoal also has the added benefit of a balanced pH level. It can reduce the acidity in your mouth and discourage bad bacteria from proliferating.
Before you go and scoop up a pailful of clay from the Scarborough Bluffs and tell the park authorities that your dentist told you to do it, we don’t mean just any type of clay.
Bentonite clay is a naturally-occurring and abundant mineralized clay that mostly forms from weathered volcanic ash and glass. There’s no need to worry—by the time bentonite clay reaches store shelves, it has cooled.
Most bentonite toothpastes are 100% organic—and even paleo-approved. Similar to charcoal, the abrasive nature of bentonite clay whitens teeth and removes plaque while its rich mineral content balances your mouth’s pH level. Bentonite clay is less abrasive than charcoal so overuse isn’t as much of a concern. Nevertheless, those with sensitive teeth may opt for a subtler clay.
Kaolin clay is another mineral-rich clay that has numerous uses in health and beauty products. Those who have experience with either kaolin clay or bentonite clay as skincare products for sensitive skin will see the benefits of using these clays for sensitive teeth. Marketers tout their ability to remineralise tooth enamel but, to date, no studies have confirmed these claims.
Talk to Your Dentist
Finding natural or organic alternatives to your regular toothpaste is a lot simpler than finding a healthy version of your favourite bag of potato chips. There are as many alternatives on the shelves at your local pharmacy as there are bristles in a toothbrush. Similarly, you can customize homemade toothpastes using baking soda and natural ingredient additives in as many ways as you’d like as long as you consult your dentist first.
The most important thing to remember, however, is that your dental and oral health and hygiene are the most important ingredient in the making of a beautiful smile. If you’re considering switching to natural or organic toothpaste, no one will know your needs better than your dentist.
Book your appointment with Portrait Dental today and ask us about your options.