Are Natural Dental Products Effective?

There used to be only one or two brands of “natural” products on the toothpaste shelf in your local store. Today we are seeing a lot more products available – but they are usually more expensive than the products we are used to and they may, or may not, be as effective.

The US Food and Drug Administration has different regulations for many of these products. Some full under food or cosmetics categories and thus, are not in the same regulatory category as other oral health care products. Plant extracts make up the “active” ingredients in most of these products. Here are a few that have been scientifically studied so that we know what effects they have and what they can be used for.

  • Aloe Vera has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that it can inhibit the growth of some oral bacteria.
  • Tea tree oil usually shows up in skin care products but it may also show up as an oral deodorant. It may also have an effect on some oral bacteria species that are associated with gum disease.
  • Echinacea may help destroy microbes but is dangerous for anyone with immune system problems.
  • Glycerin is used as the basis for some products that treat “dry mouth” or xerostomia. Depending upon the type of dry mouth you experience it may or may not prove helpful.
  • Peppermint is an ingredient that shows up in natural mouth rinses but there have been some reports of mouth sores following use.

The best tools for home oral health care include: a soft bristled toothbrush, a toothpaste that contains fluoride and good, old dental floss (waxed or unwaxed).  Brushing twice each day, flossing every day and visiting your dental hygienist every six months will help protect your smile from the damage caused by gum disease and tooth decay.

Contact Asheville, NC cosmetic dentist Dr. John Highsmith today at 828-627-9282 to schedule your next visit.

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Posted in: Oral Health

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