Only just a few years ago, natural oral care products were few and far between. While people have been using other traditional health remedies for eons, mouth care hasn’t always followed suit—and the centuries-old idea of using natural ways to support healthy teeth and gums had lost its momentum in favor of the relatively recent trend of making everything antibacterial.
Of course, we now know that this approach is incredibly destructive to your health in general, given the critical role that microbes play in wellness, and the market is starting to shift to reflect this new knowledge.1
But, some questions remain for consumers looking to make the change to natural products. How exactly should you support your oral health if traditional toothpastes are off the table? Can you really have good breath if you give up your old mouthwash? What are the most effective natural dental products?
As microbiome and natural health evangelists, we couldn’t be happier about the shift to natural, and we’re here to give you all the information you need for a beautiful, healthy smile!
Our 6 Favorite Products for Natural Oral Healthcare
Long gone are the days when natural oral care products were something you had to seek out at a specialty store––you've got lots of options for maintaining healthy teeth and gums these days. (Some might even be in your kitchen cabinets right now!) Try these six products to keep your pearly whites happy and healthy.
Your oral health, like that of the rest of your body, depends on having a good balance of bacteria. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to weight that bacterial balance in the favor of unwanted bacteria, given our modern, Western lifestyle. Many of our daily routines (even those that are meant to help us stay healthy) are devastating to our beneficial bacteria without us even realizing it.
For instance, ingredients in traditional toothpastes and mouthwashes often destroy bacteria indiscriminately, creating an environment where unwanted bacteria can thrive.2 Similarly, exposure to pollutants and antibacterial cleansers and even spending a lot of time indoors can disrupt your bacterial balance. Since your ears, nose, and throat are gateways to your body and major players in your immune function, this can lead to some seriously unwanted effects––and while you can reduce your exposure to certain bacterial stressors, it’s nearly impossible to regain bacterial balance without supplementing with a premium probiotic like PRO-Dental.
PRO-Dental contains two strains of S. Salivarius, both of which are clinically shown to support oral health from multiple angles. S. salivarius M18 actually produces an enzyme that dissolves the biofilm that can form on your teeth and harbor unwanted microbes, while both S. salivarius M18 and K12 strains crowd out the bad guys and repopulate your mouth with beneficial bacteria. This helps keep your breath fresh and gives your oral microbiome a chance to do what it does best: support your digestion, immune function, and dental and overall health.
2. Activated Charcoal Probiotic Toothpaste
The perfect pair to PRO-Dental, Activated Charcoal Probiotic Toothpaste lets you avoid the unfriendly ingredients in many toothpastes while still giving you a sparkling smile and nurturing the delicate ecosystem in your mouth: your oral microbiome.
Made with L. paracasei (which has been clinically shown to increase the number of probiotic bacteria and reduce the amount of unfriendly microbes in your mouth), this natural toothpaste targets bad breath and supports oral health at the source.3 Plus, it contains activated coconut charcoal to gently but thoroughly lift stains off teeth to brighten your smile, coconut oil to promote healthy flora, as well as spearmint essential oil and xylitol, which give it that fresh, minty flavor and some extra protection against undesirable bacteria.
In addition, Activated Charcoal Probiotic Toothpaste is free from all the most common harmful ingredients you will find in many toothpastes, including SLS, fluoride, foaming agents, triclosan, and artificial colors and flavors—so you don't have to worry about upsetting your bacterial balance and you can rest assured that all the good ingredients it contains can really take effect. Combine it with PRO-Dental and you are well on your way to optimal oral health and the whole-body benefits that it entails.
In theory, flossing is fantastic: after all, even the best toothbrush can struggle to reach pieces of food in out-of-the-way places. But most flosses are made with artificial fibers, which are too harsh for delicate gum tissue.
You see, your gums are one of the gateways into the rest of your body; when they become damaged due to temporary bouts of inflammation or they're cut by fibers, this creates small openings for undesirable bacteria and bits of food to get into the rest of your bloodstream. From there, they can travel throughout your body, creating bouts of low-level occasional inflammation that can put everything from your immune system to your hormones out of whack.4
Cocofloss is a good way to work around this and get a better floss while doing so. Made from soft coconut fiber that has a greater surface area than traditional flosses, it’s also coated in coconut oil, which makes it more gentle and targets unwanted bacteria.
4. Coconut oil.
Used for centuries to maintain oral health, oil pulling with coconut oil is one of the simplest natural ways to support your teeth and gums. The lauric acid found in coconut oil is a natural antibacterial that has been found to reduce the bacteria that cause dental issues, including S. mutans and P. gingivalis––two strains associated with some of the most common, most undesirable oral health outcomes.6 (Think: bad breath, irritated gums, and the kind of problems that have your dentist reaching for the drill.)
And in addition to reducing your chances of an unpleasant oral checkup, reducing the number of unwanted bacteria also clears the way for beneficial bacteria to come in and repopulate your mouth, restoring balance to your oral microbiome and giving your teeth and gums the bacterial support they need to thrive.7 To experience the magic of this ancient ritual, try swishing a spoonful around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes a day.
5. Wheatgrass juice.
Alternatively, if the idea of oil pulling doesn't particularly appeal, consider using wheatgrass juice instead. Absolutely packed with vitamins and enzymes that are necessary for good oral hygiene, wheatgrass juice also makes a great natural mouthwash. In fact, it's been clinically shown to reduce the number of S. mutans bacteria in your mouth.8
What's more, wheatgrass contains vitamin A, one of two crucial vitamins that combines with vitamin K2 to maintain strong enamel (the other being vitamin D), as well as magnesium and calcium, both of which are essential for building teeth, and vitamin C, which helps your body absorb calcium. Additionally, it's a good source of vitamin E, a natural anti-inflammatory that can help calm irritated gums.
6. Xylitol mints and gum.
Sugar and sweeteners have gotten bad reputations that are mostly deserved––they have a number of unwanted effects on teeth, and many of them actually feed the bacteria that can damage teeth and irritate gums. (Undesirable bacteria often love artificial sweeteners just as much as they do sugar.)9
Xylitol's an exception though. While it tastes sweet, its molecular structure is actually different than other sweeteners, and undesirable bacteria can't get any nutrition from it. They're still attracted to it because of the taste, but since they can't get any energy from it, they keep eating more and more, eventually starving to death, all the while leaving the good guys in tact. This makes xylitol mints and gum an excellent means of giving your oral health a boost––because remember, the fewer unwanted bacteria there are, the more room you have for the good guys to flourish.10
The Secret to Supercharging Your Oral Health Efforts
If you really want to take your oral care to the next level, try using these products while also making a few nutritional tweaks––specifically, adding more vitamin-rich butter and high quality organic meat to your diet.
It might seem a little out of left field, but your oral health depends on you meeting some very specific nutritional needs. In fact, studies show that those who are able to meet these needs can sometimes maintain good oral health without using modern dental products at all. Dr. Weston A. Price, a researcher in the early 20th century, found that people in societies that eat nutrient-rich, unprocessed foods tended to have great oral health, despite not having access to things like modern toothpaste and mouthwash. After years of study, the reason why finally became apparent: they were getting lots of vitamin K2 in their diets.5
Vitamin K2 helps your body use calcium appropriately, making sure it ends up in the places it should, like your teeth and bones. It also helps your body pull phosphorus (a crucial mineral for building enamel) from your saliva, and it even makes other vitamins necessary for oral health more effective. And––you guessed it––some of the very best sources of vitamin K2 are high quality, vitamin-rich butter and meat from grass fed animals.
The stakes are high with oral health: with such a broad range of influence on the rest of your body, it's important that you get it right. But the next steps are easy––just choose your favorite from the six tips above to incorporate into your daily routine and see how quickly it becomes your new normal. If you're looking for a particularly convenient way to get started with natural oral healthcare, try our Oral Wellness Starter Pack. With both PRO-Dental and Activated Charcoal Probiotic Toothpaste, you can support your dental, upper respiratory, and general health with a simple daily tablet and a switch away from traditional toothpaste––and that's certainly something to smile about!
1. Dewhirst, F.E, Chen, T., Izard, J., Paster, B.J., Tanner, A.C.R. . . . Wade, W.G. (2010). The Human Oral Microbiome. Journal of Bacteriology, 192(19). doi: 10.1128/JB.00542-10
2. Blinkhorn, A., Bartold, P.M., Cullinan, M.P., Madden, T.E. . . . Seymour, G.J. (2009). Is There a Role for Triclosan/copolymer Toothpaste in the Management of Periodontal Disease? British Dental Journal, 207. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2009.669
3. Chuang, L-C., Huang, C-S., Ou-Yang, L-W., Lin, S-Y. (2011). Probiotic Lactobacillus Paracasei Effect on Cariogenic Bacterial Flora. Clinical Oral Investigations, 15(4). doi: 10.1007/s00784-010-0423-9
4. Han, Y.W., Wang, X. (2013). Mobile Microbiome: Oral Bacteria in Extra-oral Infections and Inflammation. Journal of Dental Research, 92(6). doi: 10.1177/0022034513487559
5. Price, W.A. (1939). Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects. La Mesa: Price-Pottinger Nutrition Foundation.
6. Peedikayil, F.C., Sreenivasan, P., Narayanan, A. (2015). Effect of Coconut Oil in Plaque Related Gingivitis — A Preliminary Report. Nigerian Medical Journal, 56(2).
7. Asokan, S., Emmadi, P., Chamundeswari, R. (2009). Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque Induced Gingivitis: A Randomized, Controlled, Triple-blind Study. Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, 20(1).
8. Jeong, E-Y., Sung, B-K., Song H-Y., Yang, J-Y., Kim, D-K., Lee, H-S. (2010). Antioxidative and Antimicrobial Activities of Active Materials Derived from Triticum aestivum Sprouts. Journal of the Korean Society for Applied Biological Chemistry, 53(4), 519–524. doi: 10.3839/jksabc.2010.080
9. Linke, H.A. (1983). Adherence of Streptococcus Mutans to Smooth Surfaces in the Presence of Artificial Sweeteners. Microbios, 36(143), 41-45.
10. Nayak, P.A., Nayak, U.A., Khandelwal, V. (2014). The Effect of Xylitol on Dental Caries and Oral Flora. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, 6. doi: 10.2147/CCIDE.S55761
Rachel Allen is a writer at Hyperbiotics who's absolutely obsessed with learning about how our bodies work. She's fascinated by the latest research on bacteria and the role they play in health, and loves to help others learn about how probiotics can help the body get back in balance. For more ideas on how you can benefit from the power of probiotics and live healthier days, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.