In addition to regular dental visits, a solid brushing and flossing routine is vital to good oral hygiene. Most people reach for a tube of minty fresh toothpaste, ready to check off their morning and night duties. However, a closer inspection of the ingredient reveals its not-so-great contents. With ingredients like carrageenan, artificial colors, and sodium lauryl sulfate, an organic patient might wonder how to balance a healthy dental routine without compromising on the ingredient list. Following these tips can ensure the perfect dental routine for the organic patient.
Brushing is more than the product used. The effectiveness of brushing relies heavily on the technique; brush for two to three minutes while making sure to cover all surface areas of the teeth, gums, and tongue. As for the cleaning product, there are two options:
- Powder: Tooth powder is less common than toothpaste but equally effective. Often made of baking soda, salt, and sometimes essential oils, tooth powders are extremely easy to make as well as inexpensive.
- Paste: While toothpaste can be homemade, there are many organic and natural toothpastes available to purchase. Look for toothpastes that are all-natural and avoid ingredients such as artificial flavors and dyes.
Avoid products with the following ingredients: sodium laurel sulfate, artificial dyes and flavors, triclosan, propylene glycol, and microbeads.
Healthy gums and fresh breath are dependent upon good flossing. However, not all floss is created equally; conventional flosses may be coated with synthetic waxes and flavored with artificial flavors and sweeteners. When choosing a new floss, opt for floss with:
- Vegan wax: Flosses, such as TheraNeem floss, are coated with a vegan wax.
- Neem extract: Also a vegan wax, many flosses also include neem extract in the coating. Why does it matter what ingredients are in the floss? Floss does more than just remove food from hard-to-reach places. Floss removes plaque and debris and helps prevent inflamed gums. In fact, as the floss slides between teeth, neem extract helps to reduce gum inflammation.
- Tea tree oil: Like neem extract and clove oil, tea tree oil is a powerful ingredient in organic oral care products. Tea tree oil reduces gum bleeding as well as gingivitis.
Rinsing and freshening breath
The grand finale of an oral routine is to rinse, usually with mouthwash. Like toothpaste, many conventional types of mouthwash contain questionable ingredients including artificial flavors and colors. Naturally, derived mouthwash is harder to find, but it is possible. Other options for freshening breath include:
- Tongue scraping: Tongue scraping freshens breath by removing bacteria and food particles from the surface of the tongue. There are special tongue scrapers available, but some toothbrushes even have a special bristle on the brush head to carry out this task.
- Oil pulling: While it might seem counterproductive to rinse with oil, oil pulling is an ancient practice that is gaining popularity. Place a piece of coconut oil in your mouth. As the coconut oil melts, swish in for at least 30 seconds. Oil pulling draws toxins out of your mouth, which creates a fresher, cleaner mouth.
No matter what products that fill the medicine cabinet, good oral health depends on a consistent routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing. If, at any time, you have any concerns regarding organic oral care products, speak with your dentist.