Studies Now Prove Holistic Treatments For Teeth Are EFFECTIVE!
Today we have toothbrushes that vibrate, circulate, or some combination of both, and of course, there is the regular ‘ol toothbrush that requires a little more hand and wrist action on our part. There are water picks, toothpicks, plaque scrapers, tongue brushes, dental floss, and dental tape. There are numerous varieties of toothpaste and mouthwash, and even dental gum that you can chew between brushing sessions. And let’s not forget all of the different types of teeth whitening products!
As a means to prevent tooth decay, fluoride is added to many of these dental care products, as well as to most public water systems, and many dentists recommend a fluoride treatment twice per year. However, in 2010 the CDC reported that dental fluorosis, a condition caused by too much fluoride, is on the increase in the United States.
“Prevalence of dental fluorosis was higher among younger persons and ranged from 41% among adolescents aged 12-15 to 9% among adults aged 40-49.”
According to this report, in 1986-87, 22.6% of adolescents had dental fluorosis, compared to 40.7% in 1999-2005. This is quite an increase! As a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services planned on lowering the amount of fluoride allowed in public water systems, but as of 2014 had yet to do so.
What is even more alarming is the 2013 Harvard study, along with 37 other studies, that found that elevated fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ. But putting the fluoride debate to the side for a moment, what else can we do to prevent tooth decay?
We have all heard that limiting sugar intake is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay, and of course the importance of eating a well-balanced diet to maintain a healthy body and teeth. Yet, despite all this, tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children ages 5-17 with approximately 60 % affected! Obviously, this begs the following questions to be answered:
Is all this dental “stuff” and advice really working? Are our teeth healthier and stronger today than they were prior to the introduction of fluoridation in the 1940s?
Well, I think I can safely say that brushing your teeth is definitely a good idea but are all these fancy tooth gadgets really much better than a regular toothbrush?
I think the first thing we should do is take a look at how other regions of the world clean their teeth.
Many African and Muslim cultures, as well as ancient Egyptian and Jewish cultures, use a Miswak stick, which is a twig from the Salvadora persica tree (also known as the toothbrush tree or mustard tree). Although using a twig from a tree instead of a modern day ergonomic toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste to clean your teeth may sound like an outdated practice, studies have actually shown that the Miswak works better than toothpaste when it comes to preventing gum disease.
A 2003 study published by Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry found something very interesting! They concluded:
“The miswak is more effective than tooth brushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis…and that miswak appeared to be more effective than tooth brushing for removing plaque from the embrasures (valleys between teeth), thus enhancing interproximal health”
Though mint is known to have strong antibacterial properties, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that when mint is laced with Miswak it kills 60% of bacteria, as compared to less than 4% for mint alone.
The Miswak is also environmentally friendly. You basically keep trimming the twig down, much like a pencil. Whatever you don’t use is biodegradable. A good resource for learning more about the Miswak can be found here.
And holistic options for healthy teeth and gums don’t stop here. What if I told you that there is a holistic alternative to plaque-induced gingivitis that is more effective than standard chemical-ridden toothpaste and mouthwashes? Interested? Then you’ll want to check out Ancient Oil Pulling For Healthy Teeth & Gums!