You CAN take control of your own mouths’ microbiome! Holistic dental hygiene practices such as water flossing with hydrogen peroxide, flossing with beeswax coated floss, oil pulling, and making your own remineralizing toothpaste puts YOU IN CHARGE of your dental health! I based this blog post on a six part holistic dentistry video interview I did with Dr. Stanley – a holistic dentist of Marble Falls, TX.
The Goal of Dental Hygiene
The goal of dental hygiene is to optimize the environment or biome of the mouth! Did you know your mouth has its own microbiome? Unfortunately, common grocery store toothpastes contain many ingredients that are harming instead of boosting and protecting our mouth’s biome.
Most grocery store toothpaste contains surfactants and foaming agents including propylene glycol that make the mouth feel clean but aren’t therapeutic. Some toothpastes even contain a trace amount of antibiotics! (Eek!) Because the bacterial environment of the mouth is sensitive, these agents disrupt the biome of the mouth. Instead of grocery store brands, Dr. Stanley recommends a simple baking soda and salt toothpaste that won’t harm your mouth’s biome. I recommend getting busy in the kitchen and making your own homemade DIY remineralizing toothpaste. It WAY outperforms chemical laden store-bought toothpaste. It’s also a lot more friendly to your oral biome than regular toothpaste. This toothpaste has been specifically formulated to help remineralize your teeth.
The Main Cause of Dental Decay- Not a Lack of Flossing!
Interestingly, a recent study proves that flossing has little effect on the progression of dental decay, Dr. Stanley reports. This is surprising seeing as regular flossing is one message we hear over and over again as being a critical element in dental hygiene. Studies that have reviewed the effectiveness of flossing do not offer any more evidence that flossing is effective at plaque removal. The point is not that we should all stop flossing (see holistic options below), but that dental decay is more about diet and lifestyle choices (including organ health). Contrary to conventional wisdom, diet and lifestyle choices are the main culprits when it comes to tooth decay, not oral hygiene! It’s best to view hygiene as an assistant to lowering acidity levels and improving the mouth’s biome and not the only agent for change in dental health.
In an article titled “The systemic theory of dentistry,” Ken Southward DDS explains that “something more significant is happening internally beyond the oral or external acid attack. The same sugars and refined carbohydrates feeding the oral bacteria wreak havoc with the internal environment. They and are also major factors in diabetes and obesity.” Tooth decay isn’t only an outside force (acid attack) but an internal oral microbiome issue.
Determining the Health of the Oral Biome
Bacterial analysis of the mouth can be used to guide a patient as to how healthy their mouth environment is – i.e. is there an overbalance of high-risk pathogens in the mouth? For those who have high pathogen counts in the mouth, Dr. Stanley suggests using oil pulling, hydrogen peroxide, ozonated oils, essential oils, baking soda, and electric water flossers as part of their dental hygiene routine. He suggests that water flossers are great for reaching small pockets in the gums that flossing can’t reach.
Water Flossing with Peroxide
In line with Dr. Stanley’s recommendation, our holistic dentist recommends using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution in an electric water flosser instead of using regular floss. Another reason not to use regular floss is that floss contains synthetic fibers containing PTFE (Teflon). It is then coated with PFOA coated wax. These are linked to increasing your “risk of specific types of cancers, including bladder, thyroid, prostate, testicles, and kidney.” Gum tissue is thin and can easily absorb these toxins from regular flossing. If you feel you must floss, consider a beeswax-coated floss where at least exposure to unhealthy Teflon fibers and PFC containing wax can be avoided. We’ve enjoyed using both a water flosser and this naturally coated beeswax tea tree oil floss over the past number of years.
Research confirms Dr. Stanley’s message that ozonated oils are “an effective agent in maintaining and improving gingival health”. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist, recommends coating your (natural) dental floss with a couple of drops of ozonated oil. You can find ozonated olive oil here.
Essential oils – Clove oil
Clove essential oil is a first-rate ingredient to add to homemade toothpaste where dental sensitivity or pain is an issue. Clove oil can “minimize the oftentimes painful inflammation required to cope with oxidative stress in the tooth…all other examples of commonly recognized antioxidants… pale in comparison to cloves.” In my DIY Sensitive Teeth toothpaste recipe, I include clove essential oil for this reason. Oregano and tea tree oil contain antibiotic, antibacterial and anti fungal properties. These oils are potent should only be used until you get your oral health on track. Because they are antibacterial, they will strip both the bad and the good bacteria from your mouth. For recommendations on sourcing high quality essential oils, check out my recent blog post, “Guide to Choosing an Essential Oil Brand“.
Green Tea for Preventing Acid Erosion
Emerging evidence now demonstrates that antioxidants in green tea (ECGC) “…are significantly more effective than sodium fluoride at preventing acid erosion.” Wow! The health authorities encourage fluoride as the ‘be all and end all’ of oral health! Like many other substances encouraged by conventional health theories, fluoride is a toxic option. Fluoride is linked to cancer, sexual development problems, brain problems, hypothyroidism, bone fractures and diabetes! It’s a relief to know there is a natural option that’s even more effective at reducing dental erosion- green tea! I enjoy drinking loose leaf green tea in the morning. I can now recommend it as a cavity preventing habit and I created an acid control toothpaste by incorporating matcha green tea powder into my free DIY Erosion Control remineralizing toothpaste recipe.
Why Xylitol is NOT Recommended
Dr. Stanley cautions against using xylitol. The majority of xylitol on the market today comes from genetically modified corn laced with pesticides. Pesticides are something you clearly don’t want to have in your mouth! Some xylitol manufacturers use birch bark to make xylitol, but that is the exception, not the rule. Birch bark is more expensive to produce and you will see a ‘birch bark’ label on a xylitol product made from it.
Remineralizing Toothpaste Recipe
I’ve been successfully making my own toothpaste for our family for years and we’ve had very few issues as long as we’re eating well and our stress levels are low. The only times we’ve had cavities while using this toothpaste were when we weren’t able to follow a whole food/nourishing traditional diet and we’ve had additional stressors in our lives. (We weren’t following the seven steps to remineralizing cavities!) I’ve adapted this toothpaste recipe from Wellness Mama’s DIY remineralizing toothpaste recipe and Healthy Home Economist’s remineralizing toothpaste recipe. I’ve also created a ‘Sensitive Teeth’ version and an ‘Erosion Reducing’ version based on this study on the ‘systemic theory of dentistry’ mentioned above. (Video tutorial plus free printable recipe below!)
Suggested Daily Dental Routines
How to incorporate these suggestions into your or your family’s daily dental hygiene:
If You Don’t Struggle with Cavities:
- Make your own toothpaste using a simple salt and baking soda combo! If you’d rather buy it, Primal Life makes an awesome clean, ‘toxin-free’ toothpowder.
If You’re Cavity Prone:
- Try my DIY remineralizing toothpaste recipe!
- Use a few drops of 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide in the water cavity of your water pik with filtered water and water floss daily. (During the years my husband and I followed this recommendation, we had zero cavities!)
If Your Mouth is a Mess!:
If your mouth is a mess due to poor diet, medications, or mouth breathing, or you simply want to double down on prevention, put your routine in high gear with these ‘get after it’ suggestions:
- AM –Erosion Control Matcha Peppermint toothpaste recipe in the morning. I recommend only using this toothpaste in the morning due to its caffeine content.
- PM -A Sensitive Teeth Clove oil toothpaste recipe in the evening, especially if your teeth are in pain when you brush.
- Ozonated oil on your dental floss.
- A drop of Lugol’s iodine on your toothbrush. Iodine is antibacterial and antifungal; is an important nutrient in thyroid health, and has even been shown to reduce Covid 19 transmission!
- Oil pulling using coconut oil and essential oils. I really enjoy Jodi’s article on why and how to oil pull for dental health!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and believe in!
Check out the video interview Part 7 with Dr. Stanley and hear directly from a holistic dentist what protocol are best for holistic dental hygiene!
Knowing that you can take control of your own mouths’ microbiome is empowering! Make the diet changes you need to and learn to make your own toothpaste! You will be improving and not harming that delicate balance of bacteria in your mouth. You can avoid toxins found in commercial brand products and introduce proven natural ingredients to your arsenal of natural dental health strategies.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!