I wouldn’t want to take the time and care to prepare delicious, healthy, organic meals only to brush and wash out my mouth with a toxin-filled toothpaste or mouthwash. Many big-brand oral hygiene products contain a paragraph of ingredients with tongue-twisting chemical names. Hydrated aluminum oxides introduce heavy metal to your body. Sodium lauryl sulfate has been shown to cause skin irritation. And these are only a couple of offenders.
If we care about healthy food and healthy bodies, we can extend our concerns to oral care products. Many non-toxic, natural brands exist, but for the person wanting to create a self-sufficient life, making your own toothpastes and mouthwashes is refreshingly easy.
Used in combination with good basic dental care (brushing after meals with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing daily), healing herbs can bolster oral health. Herbalist Christopher Hobbs recommends taking diluted bloodroot tincture to protect teeth and gums against oral bacteria. Myrrh tincture helps strengthen gums and combat tooth and gum infections, and echinacea tincture helps the body fight oral bacteria, he says. Famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar tells her secrets for making tinctures here.
Aloe vera gel, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial healer, can help treat gum inflammation. Apply a small amount of aloe gel to the affected area several times daily. (Find out more about aloe’s multiple uses.) Neem, an herb with antimicrobial properties, can help strengthen gums and prevent plaque. Neem is found in some natural toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Finally, green tea is another potent herbal remedy. In addition to its antioxidant and other health benefits, green tea’s polyphenol compounds may inhibit the growth of oral bacteria. Drink two to three cups daily. Read Marguerite Lamb’s article True Brew for a more in-depth look at green tea’s antioxidant properties.
Make Your Own Mint Toothpaste
2 tablespoons baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Try this recipe for a toothpaste with a little extra bite.