Walk down your grocery store’s oral health care aisle and you’ll see a smorgasbord of options. Besides everyday items like toothpaste and floss, these include a variety of mouthwashes and whitening products that promise a Vanna White smile. Before you try a store-bought product, consider an all-natural solution that you can create in the comfort of your own home without the use of harsh (and sometimes harmful) ingredients. Below are some natural alternatives to common oral care products.
Berry Good Tooth Whitener
Maybe you’d like to whiten your teeth, but the cost is not budget-friendly. Then consider the natural whitening power of strawberries. The Swedish frequently use strawberries to clean their teeth because strawberries have been shown to have whitening as well as plaque-removing properties.1
Try a berry-based whitener for an inexpensive and effective alternative. You will need one ripe strawberry and ½ teaspoon of baking powder. Mash the strawberry to a pulp and then mix in the baking powder. Apply the solution to your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Leave it on for at least five minutes, and then brush and floss to clean your teeth thoroughly. Rinse with water. This can be repeated once a week.2
This is an easy-to-make mouthwash that has antiseptic properties. The only ingredients you will need are ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, then add the apple cider vinegar. Let the solution cool and then store it in a cool, dry place.3
Easy Remedies for Bad Breath
It is estimated that Americans spend over $200 million a year on products that combat bad breath.4 Although bad breath is usually temporary, below is a quick way to be extra sure it doesn’t stay for long.
Maybe you are out at a restaurant and the fish you just ate gave you rather odoriferous breath. Try sucking on a lemon wedge (or chewing the rind if the lemon is too sour) that came with your water.5
If lemon is not your thing, then try saving your decorative parsley for last. After you have finished your meal, chew on the parsley sprigs to freshen your breath.6 The chewing motion will awaken your salivary glands, and the parsley will give your breath a fresh scent.
Relief for a Canker Sore
Canker sores are caused by bacteria or viruses, chemical irritants such as alcohol and tobacco, or gastric upset.7 Here are a couple of methods that you can use to alleviate the pain without medication:
Boil a tea bag in water and apply the tea bag to the affected area for five minutes.8
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over a teaspoon of thyme. Let it steep for 15 minutes. When the water has cooled sufficiently, swish the solution in your mouth, concentrating it on the affected area.
Natural Pain Relief for a Toothache
A toothache should always be evaluated by a dentist because it can be indicative of infection or another serious problem. The following remedies are intended only to provide temporary relief until you are able to meet with your dentist.
Apply a few grains of cayenne pepper to the tooth and gum. As the pain from the cayenne pepper subsides, the toothache pain should also decrease. (Note: The cayenne pepper may make you feel worse before you feel better.9 )
Another tried and true method is to soak a cotton swab in oil of cloves. Apply the wetted cotton swab to your tooth. The clove oil will act as a topical anesthetic.10
Alternative to Making Your Own Oral Care Products
If you are interested in taking a more natural approach to oral care, but you don’t have the time to spend concocting your own remedies, research the products your local health food or grocery store carries. There are a number of options available for consumers who prefer to use natural products.
Be an Informed Consumer of Oral Care Products
- Look for products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. These have been shown to be both safe and effective according to ADA standards.11
- Discuss the natural oral care products with your dentist. Ask questions and see if he or she has any recommendations.
- Try searching online for consumer reviews, professional opinions, and product websites related to natural oral care products. Do your homework so that you can make an informed decision.
As a consumer, one way to feel like you have more options is to make products yourself. Concocting oral health care items is an easy method of ensuring the safety of the products you use—and a way to have fun while doing it!