Should I do it myself? Or Not?
The internet is exploding with D-I-Y projects, home remedies, and self care. While it’s a great way to save money, and avoid damage to your mouth, it is not recommended to D-I-Y your oral care. The key is preventative care and that is where home remedies come in.
Oil pulling(1) is an ancient folk remedy practiced for centuries in India and Southern Asia which involves putting an edible oil into the mouth and pulling in through the teeth for 5-20 minutes. The current trend is to use coconut oil as it has various health benefits and has a pleasant taste. The practice of oil pulling is said to reverse the effects of cavities, prevent gum disease, whiten teeth, and get rid of bad breath. So, does it work?
There aren’t any current scientific studies to support the use of oil pulling. While it might not be harmful to harm your teeth, it’s benefits aren’t proven, according to the ADA.
Clove or clove oil(2a) has been traditionally used to prevent the spread of a cavities and to ease oral pain. It’s said this can be done by chewing on a clove leaf, or using clove oil directly on the ache or cavity. However, it isn’t recommended for extended use. Actually, if you experience enough oral pain to need an over-the-counter pain reliever or remedy, you should seek out a dentist.
Instead of drugstore toothpaste and mouthwash, it’s become popular to rinse the mouth with peroxide and make homemade toothpaste. While peroxide has always been a great cleanser, and there are some great options for natural health toothpaste (2), it shouldn’t replace dentist-recommended toothpaste (3). Fluoride toothpaste is a study-based solution for cavities and tooth decay, which is why toothpaste contains fluoride, and most cities opt to put fluoride in their water system.
Similarly, dentist-recommended mouthwashes are designed to do multiple jobs (4):
- freshen breath
- prevent or control tooth decay
- reduce plaque
- prevent/reduce gingivitis
- reduce the speed that tartar forms on the teeth
While hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and beneficial for many health and oral irritations, it doesn’t do the job that mouthwash does. Peroxide cannot replace the ingredients in mouthwash.
Cloves, salt, and coconut oil cannot replace oral care. Home remedies cannot replace professional oral care anymore than a handyman can replace a construction crew. The handyman can do a lot to a little, but a crew foreman can get it all done with expertise employing the right crew and the right tools. It may save a lot of money, but it will cost in repairs in the long run.
Don’t shortchange your oral health. Home remedies are useful for prevention and temporary pain relief, but there is no better prevention than regular cleanings at your dentist’s office, daily dentist-recommended oral care, and a healthy lifestyle.