Taking Care of Your Teeth – The Holistic Way

that's the most adorable toothache I've ever seen

that’s the most adorable toothache I’ve ever seen

Anything that interferes with eating is bad news in my opinion. Hell, I barely tolerate talking at dinner time.

Imagine my horror then when I woke up with a niggling pain in my back molars last week. Ugh. Toothache is such a buzz-kill at mealtimes.

What’s a girl to do? Well, in this instance, shun the dentist and dig into the natural medicine cabinet.

I'm still waiting on one of my wisdom teeth to make an appearance. Does that make me 75% wise?!

I’m still waiting on one of my wisdom teeth to make an appearance. Does that make me 75% wise?!

Treating toothache

Lucky for me and my sore gums, we had a bottle of clove oil in the house.

In a 2006 study from the Journal of Dentistry, volunteers were divided into groups – one group was told to apply clove oil to their gums and the other benzocaine (the numbing ingredient in conventional toothache remedies like Orajel). Both were pricked with needles at the treated site and clove oil was found to work just as well as benzocaine in numbing the area.

I apply a small amount to sore teeth and gums with a cotton swab, but if it’s your first time using it you might want to dilute the oil as it’s very potent.

The other great thing about clove oil is that it’s antibacterial so you know you’re not only masking the pain, but also killing any lingering bacteria.

brushing technique is important! Go up and down, not side to side

brushing technique is important! Go up and down, not side to side

Maintaining your molars 

The clove oil worked wonders for my tooth and the pain cleared up within 48 hours. Why? I can’t be certain but I believe it was because I went heavy on bone broth and doubled up on my fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) supplement for those days.

According to a Japanese study, people with low levels of the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are 1.5 times more likely to have tooth decay or gum disease. It’s no coincidence that Dr Weston Price, the man behind  the WAP Foundation which touts the benefits of FCLO, was a dentist.

The WAP Foundation is also a keen advocate of bone broth (as I am myself). Tooth decay is a symptom of a breakdown of connective tissue and bone so it makes sense that drinking mineral-rich broth is a great way to start rebuilding that bone and tissue.

And finally, it probably doesn’t need to be said but avoiding sugars and grains will also help keep your mouth healthy.

make time (and make time to floss too)

make time (and make time to floss too)

Go natural

I don’t use conventional toothpastes or mouthwashes because I don’t trust that long, sinister-sounding list of ingredients. Also, they are pricey and I am nothing if not cheap frugal.

It’s very, very easy to make your own toothpaste. To get started, check out these options:

And it’s the same story with mouthwash. Frugally Sustainable has a great post on the basics and how to customise your own.

and a crazy look in its eye

and a crazy look in its eye

Knowing when to call the dentist

From all the above, you might get the idea that I’m anti-dentist. Not at all.

Dentists are very useful people in the right context. Although I don’t follow the recommend every-six-months schedule, I have benefitted from the occasional visit. I am not a dentist. If you think you have a serious problem with your teeth, please go see one.

Having said that, there are many people out there who believe that it is possible to heal and reverse tooth decay without resorting to medical help.

A good starting point for further research is the Healthy Home Economist’s fascinating tale of how she healed her child’s cavity within days and how she believes you can even heal root canals through diet.

Whole Health Source also has a good summary on reversing tooth decay with diet.

Weigh in: How do you treat toothache? Do you make your own toothpaste? Are you diligent about looking after your teeth? Do you believe you can heal root cavities through diet alone?

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3 thoughts on “Taking Care of Your Teeth – The Holistic Way

  1. I grew up using baking soda or even salt to clean my teeth when we ran short. My grandmother, born in 1912, showed me how she took a small limb/twig from a sassafras tree and chewed an end into a brush and used it to clean her teeth.

  2. Having developed ye nasty ole infection in toothy peg first stop was the dentist. That resulted in heavy duty antibiotics and an hour and half in the dentist chair! But I’m not sure that the natural sort of approach would have worked on a dead nerve after a trauma incident. I could have seriously lived without the needles though!!

  3. Pingback: Why I’m Giving Up Nuts (and it’s not for the obvious reason) | Things My Belly Likes

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