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Good oral health naturally

If you’d like to make dental care changes but don’t know where to start, look no further than your local independent health store!

Natural oral healthcare products are becoming increasingly popular as more and more of us are starting to reconsider our everyday personal care choices.

For many people, the first step will be to switch to an eco-friendly toothbrush. It’s estimated that 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are used around the world each year. Worryingly, the majority of these will end up in the sea (where they can be harmful to marine life and their habitats) or in landfill. That’s because plastic toothbrushes are incredibly difficult to break down. Bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative to plastic for environmentally conscious people. The bamboo-handled brush is biodegradable and can be added to a compost heap, once the bristles have been removed. The bristles will likely be made from nylon – a synthetic, flexible plastic material that is BPA-free. But you may also be able to recycle the bristles via leading recycling company, Terracycle.

Your local independent health store also offers a wide variety of natural toothpastes and mouthwashes. Natural toothpastes are free from chemicals such as triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS-free), a commonly used detergent-based foaming agent. You might find a coconut-based foaming agent is used instead. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to recurrent mouth ulcers, opting for an SLS-free toothpaste could be particularly beneficial. A University of Oslo study found switching to an SLS-free toothpaste led to a reduction in mouth ulcer symptoms in more than two thirds of respondents.

Other ingredients you might come across include fennel, calendula, aloe vera and echinacea. Fennel is a fresh-tasting alternative to peppermint, while aloe vera and echinacea are great for sensitive gums. Echinacea also has antiviral properties and helps to support your immune health. Calendula is a soothing herb that helps to keep gums and oral cavities healthy.

You might also be interested in a fluoride-free toothpaste option. However, dental health experts overwhelmingly advise continuing with a fluoride toothpaste as this helps to strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. The Oral Health Foundation also says fluoride can help to reduce the amount of acid that bacteria on your teeth produce. As a halfway solution, there are a range of toothpastes available that contain different levels of fluoride so you can reduce your intake without eliminating fluoride from your toothpaste altogether. Of course, you may still have concerns about fluoride and prefer not to have it in your toothpaste. Either way, your local independent health store is on hand to help.

Carol Henshaw owns Nature’s Remedies in Southport and says many of her customers are interested in the fluoride debate. She says: “There is so much information out there about this topic and it can be difficult for the general public to make an informed decision. We allow our customers to make their own minds up and we stock brands that contain fluoride and also ones that don’t.”

Fluoride-free options can feature a range of natural ingredients such as aloe vera, tea tree, baking soda, fennel and activated charcoal. Charcoal is also renowned for its teeth whitening capabilities. Additionally, some fluoride-free toothpastes will include co-enzyme Q10. The addition of this ingredient can help to stave off gum problems and prevent gingivitis.

Ingredients to look out for in natural mouthwashes include peppermint oil, aloe vera, myrrh, tea tree and coconut oil. Natural toothpastes and mouthwashes are often formulated with plant extracts, essential oils and minerals that can care for your teeth and gums gently and effectively.

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