Oral health retail products rake in almost $10 billion a year, and it’s easy to see why. No one wants to lose their precious teeth! It may seem confusing then, to learn that some indigenous cultures that implement no modern dental products have better overall dental health than those of us in the developed world. What is their secret?

Natural dental care

Photo courtesy of the Weston A. Price Foundation

Natural Dental Care

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education foundation, years of studies in primitive indigenous cultures revealed that people with little to no access to modern diets and oral health products had healthier, more attractive smiles in general.

Sally Fallon, now president of the foundation, explains that people who live on simple, all-natural diets with no refined sugars, flours, or processed grains, exhibit a remarkable lack of tooth decay and dental problems. Even societies that used no modern toothbrushes or toothpaste showed better dental health in general than people who cleaned their teeth several times a day with modern oral health products. Have we been approaching dental care the wrong way for decades?

We certainly aren’t suggesting that you stop brushing your teeth, but your dental health may depend on a lot more than a nylon toothbrush. Here are some alternative approaches to dental care that may keep your teeth healthy (and firmly attached to your head) well into your twilight years.

1. Diet

Evidence suggests that the most important factor in dental health – and for your health in general – is your diet. Refined sugars, white flour, rice, or pasta, as well as processed foods and refined cooking oils can all wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Decay, buildup, and gum disease will all be exacerbated by a poor diet.

Replace the problem foods named above with more of the following:

  • Wild-caught fish and shellfish
  • Unrefined whole grains
  • Grass-fed, organic animal products like butter and meat
  • Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
  • Raw (unpasteurized) milk and cheese
  • Eggs from pasture-raised chickens
  • Organ meats
  • Legumes
  • Raw nuts
  • Unrefined salad oils

A diet that includes the ancient foods that are consumed in the most primitive parts of the world may be enough to bring your oral health back from the brink of disaster.

2. Oral health products

High levels of harsh chemicals, fluoride, and toxins in modern oral health products like toothpaste are leading many people to seek out natural alternatives. For example, you can create an all-natural toothpaste using the following combination of ingredients:

As far as toothbrushes go, there’s no problem with the modern variety, but if you’d like to reduce your use of plastics, try using a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush.

Finally, science suggests that the age-old Arabic tradition of chewing on small sticks could actually work as well or better than brushing! Although we don’t suggest you leave behind your brushing regimen completely, chewing on a twig from a neem or miswack tree several times a day may provide enormous oral health benefits.

3. Oil pulling

A much more effective alternative to mouthwash, oil pulling not only rids your mouth of germs, but also detoxifies the blood and tissues around the mouth, deep cleans the gums, prevents decay, and much more. Incorporate this ancient oral hygiene method into your morning routine by swishing with raw coconut oil for up to 10 – 20 minutes each day.

Once again, ancient wisdom often proves to be more effective than modern methods when it comes to everyday health regimens.

Read more about all-natural health solutions on the Living Clean blog:

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