These days, more and more people are taking a natural approach to self-care, including the way they care for their teeth and gums. While everyone can agree that cavity prevention is a good thing, there are many people who prefer to avoid fluoride completely. In addition to seeing a holistic dentist in Austin for regular checkups, there are 5 natural ways to prevent tooth decay that don’t involve the use of fluoride. Learn more below!
HERBAL TOOTH POWDERS
Many health food stores carry herbal tooth powders, which can be a great substitute for conventional toothpastes. In addition to thoroughly cleaning your teeth and gums, herbal extracts can also counteract bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease, and bad breath, and even reduce inflammation in the mouth.
Baking soda has been safely used as a toothpaste for a long time! After mixing it with a bit of water to create a paste-like consistency, you can also (optionally) add 1-2 drops of essential oil for breath freshening and gum health. Peppermint, cinnamon, myrrh, and clove are all good choices, but they’re very strong so, again, use no more than 1-2 drops.
Coconut oil naturally contains antibacterial compounds and there have been studies showing it can fight cavity-causing bacteria and reduce plaque. It can be used as a toothpaste on its own or you can add essential oil (the rules mentioned above also apply here). Alternatively, you can gently swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes after brushing and then spit (commonly referred to as oil-pulling).
GOOD ORAL HYGIENE
It seems basic, but good brushing and flossing habits are one of the most important things you can do to prevent tooth decay. There are many tools on the market that can help you be more effective such as electric toothbrushes, oral irrigators, floss picks, interdental brushes, etc. Find what works for you and talk to a hygienist or dentist in Austin at your next checkup about any tips or tricks that may be helpful.
A LOW-SUGAR DIET
Unfortunately, sugar seems to be in everything these days, including foods that you wouldn’t suspect like yogurt and breakfast cereal. Here are some things you can do to reduce your sugar intake and keep your teeth cavity-free:
- Stay aware of your sugar consumption and read labels whenever possible (keep in mind that sugar can be labeled as many different things, so keep an eye out for words that end in –ose such as fructose, dextrose, etc.)
- Focus on whole foods like fresh fruits and veggies, grains, nuts, dairy, healthy oils, etc.
- Remember that low-fat foods are usually higher in sugar.
- As much as possible, limit things like juice, dried fruit, sodas, candies, cookies, etc.
Cavity prevention doesn’t have to include fluoride. With these 5 guidelines, you can naturally keep your teeth healthy for life!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Candace Bruno is a holistic dentist in Austin who graduated with honors from the Temple University School of Dentistry. As part of her commitment to holistic dentistry, she helps her patients find natural, fluoride-free strategies to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other problems. If you have any other questions about cavity prevention or fluoride in general, she can be contacted via her website or at (512) 372-8484.