Using herbal remedies in your dental care
Incorporating herbs into your regular dental hygiene is a fantastic way to maintain healthy teeth and gums without the use of toxic and harmful chemicals.
There are a few herbs in particular that are useful, and these can easily be found in your local supermarket/ health-store, or you may even have some of them in your kitchen!
- Neem: the bark of this plant has been used traditionally through the ages as a natural toothbrush. It is also used extensively in the practices of Ayurveda and homeopathy. People today still chew on the bark for its antibacterial properties. Various studies prove the medicinal properties of neem, such as reducing cavities, decreasing plaque formation and preventing gum disease. This ingredient is also incorporated into toothpaste because of its many healing properties.
- Echinacea: is a flowering plant from the daisy family. Echinacea is used commercially in many immune-boosting formulations to protect against cold and flu. Its immune-boosting property makes it perfect in fighting oral infections and preventing inflammation in the mouth. Herbalists often recommend echinacea supplements to keep teeth and gums healthy.
Herbalists often recommend echinacea supplements to keep teeth and gums healthy
- Peppermint: is not only useful for treating and preventing halitosis (bad breath) but also helps to keep teeth white and sparkly. Chewing on peppermint leaves also decreases dental pain. Peppermint oil, when incorporated into a homemade mouthwash, is a great practical way to achieve a healthy mouth, and be eco-friendly at the same time!
- Spilanthes or toothache plant (scientific name: Acmella Oleracea): the plant is native to Brazil but is grown in various tropical areas of the world now. It exhibits pain-numbing properties and improves the immune system. The different compounds in the plant also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This herb is often combined with other ingredients to make mouthwash that relieves oral inflammation.
- Ginger root: is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory herb used to treat gum pain, toothaches and inflammation in the mouth. For treating a painful tooth merely place a slice a fresh ginger root onto the affected tooth, bite gently and allow the juices released to coat the tooth and work its magic!
- Turmeric: traditionally, this superstar plant has been used in many ailments. It works by reducing inflammation and infection in the body. Turmeric has been used dentally as a fissure sealant and mouthwash, amongst other applications. When used as a mouthwash, it was shown to be comparable to regular chemical mouthwash. Only make a paste with some turmeric powder and water. Apply this paste to the inflamed area in the mouth for rapid relief from pain and swelling.
- Chamomile: is an herb most often consumed as a tea and chamomile tea bags are easily found in stores. When you add some vanilla extract and lemon to the chamomile tea to make mouthwash, it will reduce the pain and swelling of any inflammation present. Chamomile is also an excellent antibacterial agent.
- Cloves are fantastic antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and pain-numbing agents. Mix 2 ground up cloves mixed a small quantity of oil, like olive oil. This mixture can be applied to the inflamed and painful area with a cotton ball. Soon after the application of the mix, the infected area will heal.
- Garlic: this versatile and famous plant is not only excellent at cooking but can also be used in dental care. Although garlic bulbs are strictly classified as a vegetable, they have potent antibacterial and antiseptic properties that have significance in treating toothache. Bite a slice of garlic with the affected tooth and allow the healing properties to decrease the pain. Alternatively, it can be made into a paste by crushing with a bit of sea salt and packing this onto the tooth. Soon after treatment, your toothache should disappear.
- Thyme: is another herb used widely in the culinary world, but it also has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. This makes it ideal for preventing tooth cavities and gum disease. It can either be used on its own or in combination with other herbs like peppermint to keep the mouth healthy. Alternative medical practices, like Ayurveda, always have and still do rely heavily on herbal remedies to achieve good health without the various side-effects of conventional chemical medicines.
The list above is by no means a complete one but use the above information as a starting point in your quest for peak oral health using safe and non-toxic ingredients.
Dr. Nabil Mockbil received his DDS in 2001 from Umea University in Sweden, regarded as having the best dentist programme in Sweden for undergraduates. He’s now the founder of Swedish Dental Clinic in Dubai