For those who regularly read my posts, most know by now that I’m a big advocate of natural and holistic health care. I believe that using real, whole organic ingredients both for internal and external health is the key to avoiding harmful chemicals that can lead to health problems. It’s of utmost importance that when confronted with health problems that we look at the underlying cause alongside our treatment of the symptoms. By getting in the habit of taking care of our wellbeing from the perspective that the body is a complete system and that emotional, physical and spiritual health are all interrelated, I believe that we have the best chance for preventative and curative health care.
Dental care is no exception to this philosophy and one area that is often overlooked by the casual health advocate. However, holistic dentistry is growing in popularity as more and more people turn to experts who take a whole body approach to oral health. Whereas a traditional dentist generally focuses on symptoms, a holistic one looks to treat the underlying problem, which in the case of oral health is almost always related to diet or preexisting health conditions. Holistic dentists are also dedicated to making sure that oral work does not affect one’s overall health. We often don’t question traditional practices such as mercury fillings, root canals and fluoride as a means to prevent cavities, however there is much debate about the toxicity and overall health consequences that can follow these common prevention and treatment methods. Although not the rule, a holistic dentist generally won’t recommend any of these methods and will usually test the biocompatibility of all materials used in the mouth, knowing that oral work has an affect on the rest of the body and that individuals differ in their reactions to various procedures.
One of the most controversial topics in both dental care and water supplementation has been the issue of fluoride. Although I won’t go into my personal stance on this issue, it is important to understand that there are hundreds of research studies that show that fluoride may have an effect on the brain, bone health, IQ as well as a number of other health conditions. It is an agreed upon fact (and stated on warning labels) that ingesting too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis in the early developmental years of children. A recent study published in 2010 identified that the “protective” layer of tooth decay prevention that fluoride is said to provide is so minimal that it’s questionable as to whether it makes a difference at all, especially given that it is quickly eliminated by chewing. Even though it’s not the case with our public drinking water, there are fluoride free options on the market for dental care that give people the opportunity to make their own decision on the validity of these claims. This is also another reason why many people decide to make their own toothpaste and use alternative methods for eliminating bacteria and toxins in the mouth.
If you are someone interested in making your own toothpaste, baking soda is a mild abrasive that gently cleanses and is alkaline in nature. This helps neutralize the acids in the mouth, which are usually at the root of tooth decay as a result of sugar being metabolized by bacteria in the mouth. Although not particularly appealing on it’s own, baking soda can be mixed with a bit of stevia (natural herbal sweetener), coconut oil (which is antibacterial and antifungal), and a few drops of peppermint or other essential oil to make a great toothpaste.
Another great holistic practice for the teeth is oil pulling. Although you can use almost any vegetable oil (sunflower, sesame, olive oil, etc.), coconut oil is a favorite among many due to its ability to kill bacteria and treat infections both externally and internally. Oil pulling is effective at brightening teeth, healing gums and inflammation in the mouth, preventing bad breath and curing oral infections. This has a profound effect on not only oral health, but also the rest of the body as well. The way it works is you take 1 tablespoon of oil and swish it around the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. The oil is then discarded, not swallowed. This can be done 1 to 3 times a day and is a method for pulling out the bacteria and debris from the mouth, which is also said to help with allergies, asthma, diabetes, migraines, skin problems, sinusitis, etc. 
The most important message here is that your oral health is directly related to your overall health and because the body is a holistic system, it’s important to treat it as such. By adjusting your diet and adhering to some natural dental practices, you can greatly improve your health in a natural and effective way.
 Naturaldentistry.us (No date). What is holistic dentistry? Retrieved from http://naturaldentistry.us/holistic-dentistry/what-is-holistic-dentistry/
 Prnewswire.com (2011, December 19). Studies of fluoride supplements: no evidence of safety - no benefit either. Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/studies-of-fluoride-supplements-no-evidence-of-safety---no-benefit-either-135854563.html
 Oldenburg, D. (1997, June 16). FDA adds poisen warning to fluoride toothpaste. Retrieved from http://www.fluoridealert.org/articles/fda-toothpaste/
 Pubmed.org "Elemental depth profiling of fluoridated hydroxyapatite: saving your dentition by the skin of your teeth?," F. Muller, et. al. Langmuir, December 2010: 26(24):18750-9. Epub 2010 Nov 19 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21090577
 Mercola, J. (2010, November 13). CDC and ADA now advise to avoid using fluoride. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/13/cdc-and-ada-now-advise-to-avoid-using-fluoride.aspx
 Evans, K. (2010, July 6). Make your own natural fluoride-free toothpaste. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/029140_toothpaste_fluoride.html
 Fife, B. (No date). Oil pulling for a brighter smile and better health. Retrieved from http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article%20oil%20pulling.htm