Today, many individuals wish to limit their exposure to chemicals by switching to natural household, beauty and personal hygiene products—oral health products are no exception. While all patients should consult with their dentist or hygienist about their oral health needs, one should look for products that have received the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance; this means that a product not only has met approval for safety and effectiveness, but that the packaging and advertising are scientifically supported as well. Some manufacturers choose not to seek the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and although they may be safe and effective, these products’ performance has not been evaluated or endorsed by the ADA.
That being said, many patients have chosen to not have or limit the amount of fluoride in their toothpaste and instead go for natural brands like Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine, Jason, Kiss My Face and Miessence. NaturalCosmeticSupplies.com lists fennel seeds, cinnamon, acacia gum, ginger, eucalyptus, turmeric and nettle among common natural toothpaste ingredients; some patients even prefer home made products that are natural and tend to be less expensive. Something as simple as mixing baking soda and water and applying it to your teeth with a toothbrush has become popular, as it is a very safe and effective way to clean (plus whiten) teeth due to the natural abrasive quality of the baking soda.
Patients now are also interested in having more natural ingredients in their mouth washes as well as most conventional brands contain significant amounts of alcohol, sugar, artificial colors, fluoride and preservatives. Natural mouth rinses use vegetable juices such as red cabbage, purple carrot, beet and tomato to add color. Meanwhile, they are sweetened with vegetable glycerin, stevia or xylitol, none of which foster bacterial growth – as a matter of fact, xylitol, a natural sugar from birch trees, has been clinically shown to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Essential oils such as anise, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, fennel, lavender, rosemary and spearmint are used to flavor natural mouth washes, freshen breath and reduce bacteria in the mouth. The Natural Dentist and Tom’s of Maine, the most popular oral rinse brands, have both earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance and have been clinically proven to kill germs and reduce gingivitis as well as sore throat.
Best of all, many of the brands mentioned in this article are sold at retailers such as Rite Aid and Walgreens, and are reasonably priced.
About the expert
Dr. Weiner, a partner at Great Neck & Mid-Island Dental Associates, excels in all phases of general dentistry and his concentrations include cosmetic smile makeovers and dental implant restoration. Prior to joining Great Neck & Mid-Island Dental, he managed a successful solo practice in Fresh Meadows, Queens for 16 years. Dr. Weiner graduated from NYU College of Dentistry in 1990 in the top 5% of his class, achieving certificates of excellence in pediatric dentistry and removable prosthodontics (the fabrication of dentures). He was also one of just a few students selected for an internship at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center’s Facial Architecture Center (F.A.C.E.). Upon graduation, he was accepted to a one-year, post-graduate residency program at Montefiore Hospital/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Weiner was awarded the distinguished Diplomate status in the International Congress of Oral Implantology in 2009.