With all the focus on straighter, brighter smiles these days, it’s not surprising that many natural, at-home remedies are popping up as an alternative to traditional methods. People are now being encouraged to brush with everything from baking soda to activated charcoal, or to swish with certain oils to naturally fight decay. But, which and how much of these remedies actually work?
Regardless of all the claims in favor of natural remedies, there’s no substitute for regular dental checkups. The following natural remedies are intended as an addition to a fully comprehensive dental care plan, not as a replacement.
Many social media “influencers” claim that brushing daily with activated charcoal will make teeth whiter. True to some extent, teeth will appear to be temporarily whiter because of this substance’s abrasiveness – but beware before you use this. Activated charcoal literally scrubs stained (and white) layers of enamel away, revealing whiter teeth initially – but this practice can reveal the dentin layer underneath enamel from prolonged, continued use. Activated charcoal use is only a short-term solution, with long-term risks and dangers – and therefore not advised.
Baking soda is an ingredient in many brands of toothpaste and can be used sparingly as an added step in brushing to whiten teeth. It’s not as abrasive as charcoal, but you should use baking soda no more than once a week or two at a maximum, as its abrasiveness also can scour away tooth enamel. Be sure to brush with regular toothpaste following the baking soda if you decide to use it.
Following numerous studies, researchers found that rinsing with aloe vera proved just as effective as rinsing with mouthwash. Aloe vera kills the plaque-producing streptococcus bacteria, as well as candida albicans yeast – protecting teeth and gums from decay.
Clove oil use is an ancient method to combat oral infections. You can use a cotton ball containing a few drops of clove oil to ease the pain of a bad tooth. Bite down on the cotton for 15 minutes to get relief. Clove oil also helps fight receding gums, as it’s an antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal agent. Frequent use can actually stop and heal a bacterial infection. People with gum issues can massage the oil into the gums daily.
Coconut Oil Pulling
This other ancient practice has the ability to cut through plaque and reach the actual tooth surfaces from where it pulls bacteria out, which can help prevent tooth decay. Upon waking each day, take a teaspoon of organic coconut oil and swish it around the mouth for 20 minutes. The time spent and the motion of swishing causes the oil to bond with bacteria and toxins in the mouth. To create a really effective bacteria-killing oil, add a drop of tea tree or clove oil to the coconut oil. At 20 minutes, spit out the oil so that the toxins don’t get reabsorbed back into the mouth.
Though helpful, these treatments are not meant to replace a traditional dental care regimen. But as a complementary routine, they can show positive results. Check with your dentist before adopting any type of at-home treatment so your doctor can offer information on frequency, technique, and possible risks.
Dr. Ernie Soto and his professional dental team can advise you of any home remedies that are deemed safe, as well as how to properly adapt them to your dental regimen. Call us at (954) 368-6264, or schedule your appointment securely online.