Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires time, commitment and the right tools. Brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing and limiting your sugar intake are all important aspects of oral hygiene.
But some oral hygiene products like toothpaste contain many harmful ingredients, such as titanium dioxide, sodium lauryl sulfate and artificial sweeteners, which can be bad for your oral health.
This is why many people are looking for natural alternatives to toothpaste. In fact, there are some simple and inexpensive natural products that you can use in place of toothpaste to brush your teeth and keep them white and shiny for years.
Here are the top 10 natural alternatives to toothpaste.
Baking soda is one of the best toothpaste alternatives that you can use on a regular basis to clean your teeth. In fact, many commercial toothpastes contain baking soda as one of the main ingredients.
Baking soda acts as an abrasive agent and helps whiten and brighten your pearly whites. It even neutralizes acids in the mouth, which in turn reduces the chance of bad breath.
A 2008 study from the Journal of Clinical Dentistry reports that baking soda is effective at cleaning teeth and removing plaque to fight off tooth decay.
Note: Make sure not to eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after brushing your teeth with baking soda. Also, don’t use baking soda on a regular basis as it may gradually erode the tooth enamel.
Indian lilac, also known as neem or margosa, is one of the best toothpaste alternatives that you can use. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties help kill the bacteria that cause cavities, plaque, gingivitis and other gum diseases.
A 2008 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research reports that neem has almost miraculous properties when it comes to treating gingivitis.
It also provides long-lasting fresh breath.
Twigs of eucalyptus, orange or lime tree can also be used as chew sticks to clean your teeth.
Turmeric promotes overall oral health and you can use this yellow spice powder to brush your teeth occasionally.
Its antiplaque, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help keep dental problems, such as toothaches and gingivitis, at bay.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology reports that turmeric mouthwash is effective in controlling plaque and preventing gingivitis.
Extra-virgin coconut oil is another great natural toothpaste alternative, due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties that come in handy for mouth cleaning.
This oil can help reduce the plaque on your teeth and prevent problems like toothaches, bad breath and gum disease.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology reports that coconut oil can be used as a valuable preventive agent in maintaining and improving oral health.
Another study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal in 2015 reports that oil pulling using coconut oil is effective at reducing plaque formation.
Note: Do this first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Another good toothpaste alternative is activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal can reduce stains and plaque on your teeth. The microporous charcoal aids in adsorbing plaque and other substances that cause stains on your teeth.
In addition, it improves the pH balance in your mouth, removes toxins, and helps fight bad breath.
Note: Activated charcoal should not be used by people who have caps on their teeth.
Bentonite clay is another excellent natural ingredient to brush your teeth with. Being rich in minerals, it supports tooth mineralization. Plus, it has detoxifying properties that fight gum disease and help freshen your breath. You can also use white clay on your teeth to make them stronger and more resistant to decay.
Brush your teeth with this mixture at least once daily.
You can also add other ingredients like clove powder, cinnamon powder, even eggshell powder in your homemade toothpaste or tooth powder to fight tooth decay and maintain oral health.
Normal table salt or sea salt can also be used to brush your teeth to keep them clean. In fact, salt is a common ingredient in many commercial toothpastes.
Salt particles help get rid of plaque from your teeth, which in turn reduces the risk of many oral problems. It also helps replenish lost mineral content in the teeth to keep them healthy.
Salt is even effective at killing the bacteria inside your mouth, thus preventing bad breath.
Note: When using salt, be gentle as it can damage your gums and tooth enamel if used roughly.
Licorice root promotes oral health and can be used as an alternative to your regular toothpaste.
Its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties can prevent formation of plaque. It also prevents the growth of cavity-causing bacteria and keeps your teeth and gums strong and healthy.
A 2012 study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products highlights the oral health benefits of licorice root, thanks to its compounds licoricidin and licorisoflavan.
Hydrogen peroxide is known for keeping your teeth clean and white, and you can use it instead of your commercial toothpaste.
The mild bleaching effect of hydrogen peroxide can help make yellow teeth white again. Also, its antibacterial nature helps kill bacteria in your mouth.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology highlights the efficacy of a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash in removing stains and plaque.
Note: Do not use hydrogen peroxide if you have amalgam fillings, as it may leach mercury from your fillings. Make sure you use food grade hydrogen peroxide, not the regular variety.
You can use orange peels to remove stains from your teeth and keep them white and shiny.
The limonene in orange peels helps break down plaque. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Dentistry found that toothpaste containing d-limonene was significantly effective in reducing smoking stains on teeth and d-limonene alone inhibited the development of further smoking stains.
Also, the vitamin C in orange peels helps prevent growth of microorganisms inside your mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay as well as other health problems.
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