Do all these natural tooth remedies work? Teeth are something that we focus a lot on. If someone has bad teeth, we tend to notice it very early on in a conversation with them. As a result, it’s fair to say that most of us are mildly obsessed by our own teeth, wanting to ensure that there’s no cause for anyone to judge our oral hygiene.
In recent years, dental health has spread from being a personal matter to something that is widely discussed. The internet is full of a mix of genuinely good ideas and potentially damaging myths when it comes to teeth care. The debates tend to rage. Some people insist that fluoride is effectively little better than poison; others say fluoride is incredibly beneficial. Then there are the arguments about the efficacy of making your own toothpaste, and a thousand and one other topics besides.
Given that so much regarding oral health is now discussed, let’s try and cut through some of the chatter. It’s fair to say that most people would probably choose to use natural products over anything that has been synthetically manufactured– especially for something we put into our mouths. Due to this, there are now many natural items that are associated with claims of oral health. Let’s examine some of these and see if they’re good, bad, or just plain wrong.
Coconut oil is a favourite of natural health proponents for pretty much everything, so it comes as no surprise that it features prominently in natural oral health. Coconut oil is recommended as a mouthwash or for oil pulling, due to its “antibacterial” qualities.
Well, coconut oil isn’t really antibacterial in the true meaning of the term. If you enjoy using coconut oil for oral hygiene, that’s fine, but there’s no proven benefit to it.
Verdict: If you want to try it or to continue using it, there’s no harm to using coconut oil for oral health– but don’t expect miracles.
Bicarbonate of soda
This one is serious.
Bicarbonate of soda — which is also called baking soda — is often recommended for natural oral hygiene. There’s some reason to believe these claims, too; some manufacturers include bicarb in their toothpastes. Bicarb is very abrasive, which means it can help scrub your teeth of any unpleasant stains.
However, the same is true of any gritty substance; there’s nothing inherently good about bicarb for oral health. It could also be outright dangerous. The amount of bicarb used in conventional toothpastes is tiny, yet there are people online advocating rubbing the raw crystals directly onto your teeth.
This is a bad idea that, if you do it often enough, is going to wind up requiring a trip to see an emergency dentist. That bicarb might be scrubbing your teeth clean, but it’s also removing the protective enamel from your teeth. This can eventually be very painful and require rapid pain-management treatment– but there’s no real cure for lost enamel.
Verdict: DON’T use bicarb for oral hygiene.
Clove oil has long been associated with helping to ease pain from toothaches. Millions of people keep a bottle in their medicine cabinet for just this very purpose.
For the most part, there’s no harm to using clove oil, provided you don’t exceed the recommended dose. However, there’s no scientific proof of its efficacy either. Clove oil is a known antibacterial so might be helpful if you have an infection, but you should also be seeking conventional medical treatment for such an issue.
Verdict: If clove oil gives you relief from clove oil, there’s no harm to continuing to use it. If it doesn’t work for you, then don’t use it; the effect it has seems to be largely subjective.
Natural tooth remedies can be good but exercise caution: do your research!
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be cautious about the products you put into your mouth, it’s important to keep the above in mind when considering natural oral hygiene products.