The Importance of Natural Oral Care

Consumers are turning to natural options to support their oral health. Here's what can help.

We all want a pretty smile with pearly white teeth and fresh breath. But taking care of oral hygiene is about more than just looking good. The condition of teeth and gums can be tied to underlying health conditions, and science shows that early signs of many illnesses first appear in the mouth. 

Increasingly, consumers are turning to natural options to support their oral health. Indeed, the organic oral hygiene market is booming. According to an analysis from Global Market Insights, the industry is set to grow steadily through 2024. There has been “a rise in public awareness about health and safety, consumer cognizance concerning hazards of synthetic chemicals and go green consciousness.” The report specifies concern over parabens, petroleum-based chemicals, phthalates and aluminum salts as a factor driving consumers to products that are environmentally friendly and nontoxic

Some of the biggest trends in natural oral care:

Swishes that Support the Oral Microbiome

“The Functional Dentist” Dr. Steven Lin, author of The Dental Diet, says to get the best-smelling breath, what you consume is key. Dr. Lin explains on his website that popular options like alcohol-based mouthwashes may be doing more harm than good. “Daily use may be harming your oral microbiome,” he says. “In the long term, they could be making your breath worse. Sure, it might feel like you’re cleaning your mouth when you use such astringent products, but that’s precisely the problem. Your mouth isn’t meant to be sterile. When you use harsh antimicrobials, you actually harm the delicate balance that exists to protect you.” 

Instead, Dr. Lin suggests making homemade mouthwash. A few that he shares, which feature natural ingredients found in local natural products stores: 

  •  Spicy Ginger & Mint Herb: The ginger is a natural antibacterial, and turmeric and cinnamon in the mix both have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Turmeric is also great for combating gum disease, Dr. Lin shares.
  • CocoMint: This blend combines peppermint oil, coconut oil, baking soda, and sea salt. 
  • Stain Fighting: The key ingredient here is aloe vera juice, which is good for inflammation, gums health, and gingivitis. It also contains peppermint oil and optional cinnamon for flavor. 

Many experts also recommend oil pulling. Dr. Ginger Price started creating products that incorporate coconut oil after having patients continually ask about pulling. Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic method that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around in the mouth for about 15 minutes to help remove toxins and bacteria.

Toothpaste That Helps Rebuild Enamel

When it comes to toothpaste, what natural ingredients and properties deliver? Dr. Bonnie Feldman, DDS, MBA, recommends looking for two things:

  1. Microbiome-conscious antibacterial action. (For more on the oral microbiome, read Beauty Begins Within: Oral Health and the Microbiome.)
  2. The ability to rebuild enamel.

Dr. Bonnie notes that many people in the natural toothpaste industry are critical of the lack of fluoride, as it helps remineralize teeth. Traditional toothpaste contains sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol, which may increase the chance of getting canker sores, ulcers, and other health problems. 

Spry brand is also a toothpaste choice that provides oral care products with xylitol. The company says xylitol works to prevent bacterial adhesion to teeth and tissue, while also keeping the mouth moist.

Tea tree oil is another ingredient to look for. Tea Tree Therapy has created a whitening toothpaste that contains a low abrasive cleanser and makes use of the antiseptic properties of tea tree oil.

Floss That Fights Gum Disease

Perhaps the most important part of teeth care is daily flossing. Did you know 35% of plaque builds up between your teeth, causing sensitivity to gingivitis and bleeding gums? As vital as brushing is, the bristles won’t be able to reach those tiny areas between the teeth. Dr. Lin stresses“You must also floss to completely remove bacteria that are housed in plaque between your teeth. If imbalanced dental plaque is left untreated, it will lead to gum disease.”  He shares helpful strategies to help make flossing a habit.

Gum Disease & Other Oral Issues 

Stress can cause many Americans to suffer from hygiene issues. Stress has been linked to gum disease. Canker sores also can develop as a result of stress, forming white or yellow sores, usually on the tongue, cheeks, or lips. Another common issue is bruxism, or the grinding or clenching of teeth, which lead to headaches, jaw and tooth pain, and chipped or cracked teeth. Some simple tips to eliminate these stressors include eating a balanced diet, getting regular sleep and exercise and avoiding drinks that contain a lot of caffeine or alcohol. 

For more on helping your customers ease the stress that can contribute to oral health issues, or hinder their ability to stick to a healthy oral hygiene routine, check out our latest coverage on natural supplements and strategies that ease stress. And for a deeper dive, don’t miss the coverage from the Natural Informed virtual event Stress & Mental Wellness: Mastering the Market, available to view on demand. WF

 

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My name is Becca & I am the Communications Associate for WholeFoods Magazine (WFM). Food has always been something I take pretty seriously. Don’t believe me? On a trip to move my sister into her new apartment, I stood in line for three hours at a famous bakery, while the rest of my family moved heavy boxes and furniture into her new place. They couldn’t be too mad at me though, after I arrived home with a box of delicious sweets. Needless to say, I am definitely a foodie or whatever you want to call someone who plans day trips around food. Now that I’ve started at WFM, I am learning more about healthy, organic, natural food options. So now I am on a mission to explore healthier recipes, using natural and organic products. Join me as we explore some new takes on classic favorites + maybe some new recipes that have yet to be discovered (by me anyway).