Everyone is taught as a small child to brush twice a day, floss, and see a dentist for regular cleanings. There are many conventional products available in stores to choose from that will improve your dental care.
However, there are some little known, possibly odd, ideas that can be used to improve dental hygiene. Using these choices can help one to live greener, use more natural products, reduce fluoride exposure, or possibly even save money.
Coconut Oil Is Not Just for Cooking!
Coconut oil has already found its way into the kitchens of many health conscious people. There are a couple of ways that one can work coconut oil into an oral care routine. The first is a traditional Ayurvedic method known as oil pulling. This technique involves swishing oil around the mouth, sucking and pulling in between the teeth for around 20 minutes, before spitting it out and rinsing the mouth. Scientific studies have shown that it can be effective to reduce plaque, halitosis, and gingivitis. Both of these studies use sesame oil. Many natural health experts advocate coconut oil due to its lauric acid content, which is highly antimicrobial.
Coconut oil is also a great base for making toothpaste. Extremely simple homemade toothpaste is equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Essential oils can be added for flavor and additional antibacterial properties or sweeten with xylitol for further protection against plaque.
Desserts for Dental Care
With the right food choices, eating and drinking sweet foods can actually improve dental health, especially after a meal. This is true as long as the sweetener used is xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that looks and tastes like table sugar, but will not feed the bacteria that creates plaque biofilm. Not only will xylitol keep from feeding bacteria, it helps to maintain a neutral pH level in saliva, which encourages enamel to harden and re-mineralize. Xylitol gums and candies are already endorsed by several dental organizations to help prevent cavities.
These can be a tad expensive, but bulk xylitol can be purchased online or in health food stores. One great way to get some xylitol in your system is to make a super simple lemonade recipe. Take the juice of half a lemon, a heaping spoonful of granulated xylitol, and enough water and ice to fill a 16 ounce glass. Google and Pinterest searches can also provide some ideas on how to substitute xylitol for sugar in your diet.
Essential Oils are a Secret to Success
Listerine claims the secret to its success is essential oils. Many commercially made products contain essential oils. This is due to the fact that essential oils can be analgesic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-fungal. Some oils are labeled food grade and are safe to ingest. Others, such as tea tree oil are only safe to use in a mouthwash. Peppermint, lemon, wintergreen and clove are some of the more popular essential oils for mouth care. Clove oil especially has high analgesic properties and can help numb a toothache.
Look for products containing natural essential oils or create your own products using the oils of your choice. Try adding a drop of peppermint or lemon essential oil to a tall glass of water and sip the way to better dental health.
These are a few simple ways to change your diet and lifestyle that will contribute to better overall health. Some may seem a little odd, but the results may be worth the weirdness factor.
Author Eva Kelly is a health blogger and resident of College Station, Texas. She loves sharing her tips about oral health, College Station Dentists, and other offbeat health oddities.