Healthy teeth and gums not only give you a beautiful smile, but also indicate good oral health and hygiene, which play a very important role in your life. Undermining a healthy oral routine can get you stuck with cavities, stained or yellowed teeth, and bad breath, all of which can negatively influence your general appearance and social impression.
Studies suggest that in addition to oral problems, oral bacteria and inflammation can lead to many other health problems, including heart disease, strokes, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease, diabetes, and oral cancer. Women with oral disease also show higher incidences of preterm and low-birth-weight babies. (1)
Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Teeth and Gums
Here are 10 remedies to preserve and protect your oral health:
1. Perform oil pulling technique
Oil pulling, also known as oil swishing, is an age-old practice used in Ayurveda that helps strengthen the teeth, gums, and jaw while preventing tooth decay.
It helps to draw out bacteria from the mouth, keeps your gums healthy, and brightens your teeth. (2)
According to a 2015 study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal, oil pulling using coconut oil could be an effective adjuvant procedure for decreasing plaque formation and reversing plaque-induced gingivitis. (3)
In addition, oil pulling detoxifies and cleanses the body, which is good for your oral as well as overall health.
How to perform:
- Put 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth.
- Gently swish it around for about 20 minutes.
- Spit it out.
- Rinse out your mouth with warm water. Use salt water for added antimicrobial benefits.
- Brush your teeth as usual.
- Do this daily in the morning, on an empty stomach.
You can also do oil pulling with coconut oil.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
2. Use turmeric paste to brush your teeth
Turmeric contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help keep the gums healthy and the teeth free from bacterial infection.
This was further corroborated by a study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, which found turmeric mouthwash to be considerably effective in controlling plaque and preventing gingivitis. (4)
How to use:
- Add a little water to ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder to make a paste. Brush your teeth with this paste a few times a week.
- Alternatively, prepare a paste with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon each of salt and mustard oil. Massage this paste on your teeth and gums once daily.
- You can also boil ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 cup of water. Allow the solution to cool and use it as a mouthwash once daily.
3. Chew on some guava leaves
A review of studies published in Pharmacognosy Review in 2014 expounded upon the potential of guava leaves for effectively treating a case of periodontal disease. (5)
As an excellent antiplaque, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant agent, guava leaves help maintain strong teeth and gums. (6)
They also help keep your breath fresh and clean. Herbalists recommend using tender leaves or tender twigs of guava trees for the promotion of oral health.
How to use:
- Chew on a few well-washed tender guava leaves thoroughly, and then spit them out.
- You can also grind some tender guava leaves and use it as toothpaste to brush your teeth.
- Another option is to prepare a mouth rinse by boiling 4 to 6 guava leaves in 1 cup of water for about 5 minutes. Strain the water and allow it to cool. Use it as a daily mouthwash.
4. Trust the healing potential of Indian lilac
A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene reported that a neem-infused mouth rinse was as effective as a chlorhexidine mouth rinse when used as an adjunct to toothbrushing for reducing plaque and gingival inflammation in patients with gingivitis. However, more extensive research is called for in order to equitably establish these claims in a nonpartisan manner. (8)
How to use:
- Grind 2 or 3 neem leaves into a paste. Use this paste to brush your teeth a few times a week.
- You can also rub the juice from neem leaves on your teeth and gums, allow it to sit for 5 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water. Do this daily.
- You can even use a twig from a neem tree to brush your teeth.
5. Drink a cup of green tea daily
A 2017 study published in the Journal of International Oral Health enumerated the antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-collagenase benefits of green tea for improved periodontal health. (9)
This was supported by the findings of yet another study, which reported that green tea can play a positive role in maintaining adequate oral health by reducing the incidence of dental caries through different mechanisms including enzymes activity and curbing bacterial growth. (10)
The natural fluoride, polyphenols, and catechins in green tea can destroy the bacteria that cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. They also prevent bad breath.
How to use:
- Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea every day. To promote oral health, drink green tea without sugar or honey.
- You can even chew sugarless gum made with green tea.
6. Brush your teeth with licorice root
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine demonstrated the beneficial anti-inflammatory, antiadhesive, and antimicrobial properties of licorice, all of which help counter the onset of oral diseases such as dental caries, gingivitis, periodontitis, aphthous ulcers, and oral cancer. (11)
Scientists attributed these health-promoting properties of licorice to two of its predominant compounds, namely, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, which help kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults.
How to use:
- Use a soft licorice stick like a toothbrush to brush your teeth daily.
- You can also use a little bit of dried licorice root powder to brush your teeth on a regular basis.
7. Reap the benefits of basil
Basil is good for oral health, too. It works as an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant. It can help destroy germs and bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for cavities, plaque, bad breath, and more. (12)
A study found a mouthwash containing holy basil to be as effective as chlorhexidine with respect to their antiplaque action, with no statistically significant difference reported between the two. (13)
In addition, its astringent properties help contract gum tissue, allowing for a tighter and firmer hold over the teeth.
How to use:
- Dry a handful of fresh basil leaves in the sun for a couple of days, and then make a powder from the dried leaves. Use this powder to brush your teeth.
- Chew 4 to 5 basil leaves daily.
- You can also use cooled basil tea as a mouth rinse.
8. Rinse your mouth with peppermint solution
The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in peppermint contribute to oral health by combating oral bacteria and keeping your gums and teeth in top shape for years to come.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry found that using a peppermint mouthwash can have a significant effect on the elimination of halitosis (bad breath). (14)
How to use:
- Put a handful of peppermint leaves in 1 glass of hot water for 30 minutes. Strain the water, and then use the solution to rinse your mouth. Do this regularly.
- Alternatively, put a few drops of peppermint essential oil in 1 glass of water, and then use it to rinse your mouth.
9. Add Indian gooseberry to your diet
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, also promotes oral health. The vitamin C and other nutrients in amla can help strengthen the gums, support connective tissue health, combat bacteria in the mouth, and prevent tooth decay and cavities. Additionally, it prevents bad breath. (15)(16)
How to use:
- Thoroughly chew 1 to 2 fresh amla fruit daily.
- Also, you can prepare a mouth rinse by mixing 1 tablespoon of amla juice in ½ cup of water. Rinse your mouth with this solution once daily.
10. Salt water mouthwash can help
Salt can also help strengthen the gums and teeth. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth. (17) Moreover, a saline mouthwash works as an effective astringent to bring down gum swelling and thereby accelerate recovery from gingival tissue damage.
How to use:
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 glass of warm water. Use this homemade mouthwash to rinse your mouth at least once daily.
- You can also prepare a mixture with ½ teaspoon of salt and enough mustard oil to make a paste. Use this paste to brush your teeth, and then rinse it off with warm water. Do this daily in the morning.
It is fairly simple to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy from childhood to old age.
For starters, you must adhere to a strict oral hygiene regimen that involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once or twice a day (preferably after dinner), rinsing your mouth after each meal, and using mouthwash at least once daily. This is only the bare minimum, but you can try other things to further preserve your oral health.
The above listed remedies are a step in that direction. They capitalize on the healing potential of various natural ingredients to strengthen, protect and repair your gums and teeth. It is far easier and cheaper to prevent oral health problems than it is to treat them.