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Some argue that conventional medicine isn’t working adequately in treating oral problems such as tooth decay, bad breath and bleeding gums. A simple natural oral care routine can be created using herbs and items readily available in most kitchens.
Most dentists advise that poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing or rinsing enough is the main cause of gum disease and tooth decay. Avoiding sugar, smoking and chewing betel nut help to keep teeth healthier by minimising decay, gum disease and damage to tooth enamel.
Natural Toothpaste Recipe
An effective toothpaste can be made at home using simple ingredients. The following recipe is easy to use and can be flavoured with a drop of spearmint oil if a minty taste is preferred.
- three tablespoons baking soda
- one tablespoon salt
- half teaspoon turmeric
- aloe vera gel
- Combine ingredients into in a small bottle or jar with a well-fitting lid.
- Close and shake well. If you prefer a toothpaste type consistency then add a spoon of the powder to a dish with about half a spoon of aloe gel.
- Add more gel if it appears too dry.
- Brush teeth with vibrating short strokes to ensure the toothpaste gets in between teeth.
The dry ingredients can be kept ready mixed (and should not be exposed to water or moisture). This mixture can be used alone as a tooth powder by applying to a wet toothbrush. The aloe vera needs to be mixed around the time of use to work properly.
Lemon or lime rind can be rubbed on teeth and gumline to help remove plaque and tartar build-up and even some plaque deposits. This can be done before brushing. Strawberries are excellent exfoliators and can be used on a fortnightly basis to whiten teeth. Mash up a strawberry and mix with a teaspoon of baking soda. Use the mixture on toothbrush and brush gums and teeth very gently. Floss afterwards to make sure the seeds are removed from mouth.
Home Remedies for Mouthwash
Homemade mouthwash can be effective and free from artificial additives such as saccharin and sodium lauryl sulphate reducing the exposure to potential allergens and toxicity. Essential oils can be used to add flavour such as cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, anise, fennel, peppermint and spearmint. Here are some simple mouthwash ingredients with some suggestions for use:
- Salt is a cheap and effective way freshen the mouth and kill bacteria; use mixed in a glass of warm water. Use this as toothpowder frequently.
- Echinacea has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system helping to combat infection.
- Green tea contains antioxidants it helps to remove and wash away bacteria.
- Sage is an astringent and works well tightening and soothing sore gums.
- Tea tree fights bacteria and kills germs that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Safety of a Homemade Mouthwash
As homemade mouthwashes contain no chemical preservatives, they have a shorter shelf life than conventional alternatives. They also need to be made more frequently which people may not have time to do. Stop using a natural mouthwash if any discomfort or allergic reaction is experienced. It is recommended to inform dentists about any use of complementary medicine.
Natural Mouth Fresheners
Cardamom seeds can be chewed to freshen and sweeten breath. The chlorophyll in parsley is a very effective breath freshener and has a history of being eaten to mask pungent odours of garlic and onions. Aniseed is also popular with Indians to sweeten breath and is often eaten after meals. Small sticks of cinnamon or cloves can be sucked to keep breath fresh.
Making home remedies to maintain oral hygiene is easy and sometimes useful for those sensitive to sodium lauryl sulphate, fluoride or alcohol. Many of these recipes have a long history of effective results in different cultures.