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Tried and True Supplemental Holistic Dental Remedies

Jul 31, 2020 ● By Alla Aver, DDS

Photo credit showcake for Adobe Stock

Interest in natural, organic and green alternative dental treatments has been growing for some time and shows no sign of abating. Here are some common herbal, essential oil and homeopathic ways to supplement professional, holistic dental care. These traditional and natural healing methods come from a variety of traditions. Always be sure to consult a medical and dental professional before starting any natural health regime, and if taking any prescription medications, let them know before starting supplements.

Natural Antimicrobials

The inherent peroxide in honey makes it one of the best antibacterial and antiviral natural products. Honey can help heal wounds, both inside and outside of the mouth, and can act as a barrier, preventing infection and keeping wounds moist while healing. The use of honey as a salve helps heal canker sores or minor gum and tongue sores.

Echinacea purpurea is one of Native Americans’ most useful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal herbs. To use the tincture, add 10 to 16 drops to a glass of water and sip about a quarter of the cup to help the immune system fight off whatever germs are causing the sore throat. Swish and gargle with the rest and spit it out.

Antiseptic properties are found in myrrh, which was used for healing the mouth for many centuries. Available as a tincture in health food stores, it dissolves easily. Add a few drops to water and apply to the wound with a cotton swab. Myrrh’s astringent properties may help with inflammation, and a rinse can offer the added benefit of reducing bacteria.

Herbal First Aid for Toothaches

A toothache can be very painful. Throughout history, cultures have recognized plants that help with healing and reduce swelling. Thyme and oregano essential oils, available at health food stores, have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used as a mouthwash for gingivitis and temporarily soothe toothaches.

Garlic paste has been used for centuries for throbbing toothaches. Stay away from using it for prolonged periods of time, as it may cause the burning of gum tissue and prolonged bleeding.

Oil of clove has antibacterial properties and is also an herbal folk remedy for toothaches. Eugenol, an extract from the clove bud, is a natural analgesic. After its initial sting, many users claim relief from pain. Another temporary remedy for toothaches is sage. A tea made from two tablespoons of dried or fresh sage and water is said to provide relief with swishing.

Ancient Hawaiian folk medicine recognized that ginger root had many healing properties. Biting on water-soaked ginger for a period of time is said to generate saliva, marinating the sore tooth and leading to temporary relief.

Inflamed Gums

The British, French and Germans have traditionally used Arnica for more than 200 years. Within the past 50 years or so, dental patients have used it before, during and after dental procedures due to claims it aids in the healing of open wounds. Placing three homeopathic 6C Arnica pellets under the tongue for up to an hour prior to a dental procedure is believed to help with healing.

Calendula flowers were a mainstay of European folk remedy for gingivitis. Today, calendula tea is also used after dental work to help heal the gums. Make a tea with one tablespoon of calendula flowers and one cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, and then discard the flowers. Swish the tea through the mouth.

Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are an invaluable, natural medicine. Even today, a mouthwash created from blueberries is used to help with gum inflammation in Europe. Mash some fresh or unsweetened frozen blueberries, add water to make a paste and apply over inflamed gums. Alternatively, add five to 10 drops of blueberry tincture to a glass of water and rinse three times a day.

Dr. Alla Aver, DDS, is the owner of A Center for Dental Healing, located at 2400 Ravine Way, Ste. 400, in Glenview. For more information, call 847-998-5100 or visit