From the time we are young, we are taught to brush our teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste. In fact, some schools today have expanded upon the idea of having an oral hygiene presentation to having dentists come in regularly throughout the year to provide dental screenings. However, as more and more people are examining their overall health and the chemicals they are exposing themselves so, fluoride is under scrutiny. Here are four fluoride-free alternatives to help keep your teeth clean.
Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like: brushing with a dry toothbrush, without any additional water or paste. One benefit to dry brushing is that it can be done anywhere, as you don't need any materials other than the toothbrush itself. Friction is the most important element of brushing your teeth, as it dislodges the debris and plaque from around your teeth and gums, so a dry toothbrush can be just as effective if not more so than 'traditional' water and paste methods. If you miss that minty fresh feeling you typically get from a paste, consider rinsing with a mouthwash after dry brushing.
Originally practiced in ancient India, oil pulling is hailed to not only improve your overall oral health but also whiten your teeth. Oil pulling involves putting oil in your mouth and swishing it around for fifteen to twenty minutes. The bacteria on your teeth stick to the oil as you swish, which is why the method works. Many prefer to use coconut oil due to its mild and pleasant flavor; you can also add pure grade peppermint, clove or eucalyptus Young Living essential oils to further freshen your breath and leave your mouth feeling clean.
An additional easy, low-cost option for cleaning your teeth naturally is baking soda mixed with water. The gritty nature of baking soda creates a natural abrasive to clean teeth. When making your own paste, you want to have a mixture that is more paste than water. A good rule of thumb is to start with half a teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of water. You can always add more water if your mix it too dry. Other options are to mix baking soda with lemon or lime juice, hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar.
Turmeric - a relative of the ginger family - is a flowering plant with many notable health benefits, one of which applies to your teeth. After purchasing turmeric powder at your local grocery store or online, mix one quarter teaspoon with just enough mustard oil (also available at most food retailers) to make a paste. You will want to rinse thoroughly with water once you are done brushing as well. This option may have the most distinct taste, so keep that in mind before trying.
While it may seem counterintuitive to brush white teeth with a black substance, charcoal can help remove stains on your teeth due to its abrasive properties. Additionally, charcoal raises the pH level in your mouth, which can help neutralize the acids that build up in the mouth over time. If you decide to brush with charcoal, be sure to choose a toothpaste that includes charcoal, not charcoal itself. Finally, you will not want to choose this method if you have veneers or crowns on your teeth, as the charcoal particles can get stuck in the porcelain material and create stains.
According to Mayo Clinic, your oral health may be directly linked to your overall health, which is why taking care of your teeth and gums is such an important part of your healthcare regimen. As you consider trying a more naturally based option for keeping your teeth and gums in good standing, remember that no matter what you do, it is incredibly important to not only brush but to also floss between your teeth and keep up with routine check-ups with your dental provider.