In this modern world, there comes a time in every adult’s life when we have to focus on our teeth to be sure we can eat problem-free. With luck, that means just routine cleaning. But, with our societal diet being what it is, chances are there’s more.
Cavities, crowns, root canals, extractions, implants plus all the gum health (meaning, not-so-healthy) concerns. Not only uncomfortable and inconvenient, these issues cost big bucks.
No worries. There are natural products galore designed to help prevent these nasty tooth developments. Earlier this Fall, we sampled some of the newer and more “natural” alternatives to the feed-‘em-some-fluoride-and-keep-drilling approach of standard dentistry.
Curaprox definitely caught our eye. With their ultra-soft toothbrushes and a toolbox full of instruments for between the teeth, around implants and more, we wanted to go immediately to the sink and brush away.
Way off from mainstream is the intriguing (if a little gross) practice of oil-pulling and at least one vendor, the very cool European company AMANPRANA which mostly displayed a variety of healthy sugars and oils, carries oils with that technique in mind. We’d definitely try this if we had some.
Overall, most dental-oriented products start with the premise that oral bacteria is bad and must be killed. For instance, the Mouthwatchers toothbrush touted its antimicrobial bristles with silver (presumably nano-silver) designed to kill 99.9% of toothbrush bristle bacteria build up.
SilverSol, a tooth gel, likewise relies on silver to eradicate bacteria, as well as on Xylitol. Nice to note the gel is fluoride-free, has no parabens, SLS, or artificial colors and is non-abrasive, whatever the impact of nano-silver and the other ingredients. Earthpaste, “the amazingly natural toothpaste,” is also fluoride-free, relying on salt, Redmond clay, essential oils and xylitol.
In fact, Xylitol was clearly the number one natural tooth care trend we spotted. Spry, which makes toothpaste and oral rinse, is branded a Dental Defense System, and is all about the xylitol. The company actually calls itself The Xylitol Experts and makes Xlear, a xylitol nasal spray.
So what is xylitol? As we understand it, it’s a substitute sweetener, generally derived from corn (often non-GMO), and has apparently been the subject of a raft of studies that show that it may reduce dental decay. And it’s everywhere. In fact, we saw several packets of xylitol packaged just like sugar or those pink and yellow packets: XyloSweet and Xyla.
Which brings us to the other end of the spectrum. One product, standing out from the others, was revitin brand toothpaste made by CSBioscience, which says it helps “balance the oral microbiome for a clean and healthy mouth.” In stark contrast to the kill-all-the-germs approach, the idea is that our mouths, like the rest of our bodies, contains staggering numbers of bacterial communities, even in health, so killing is not the answer.
Estimates are that one millimeter of human saliva from a healthy adult contains approximately 100 million bacterial cells. [NOTE: For an enlightening, if creepy, look at what’s going on in your pie hole, check out the Human Oral Microbiome Database ] In a healthy mouth, over 700 species of microbes play nice and all is well. Disease is the result of an imbalance among these little critters. Huh.
We now know that antibiotics can wreak havoc on our GI systems… maybe the dental products designed to kill are going to do the same. At this point, we haven’t used the revitin long enough to assess (and those nice sample tubes are now history anyway) but we like the thinking. Oh, and as for xylitol, these guys called it “the margarine of tooth products.” (We agree that it is a little strange that the same stuff that is supposedly helping prevent decay is also found in candy and cake, right?)
While time will tell which products fare best, we sure like the idea of happier mouths.
We suppose everyone agrees, tooth problems bite!