Natural remedies can help keep teeth and gums healthy - and provide useful first aid when needed. [Photo: Bigstock]

Natural toothcare – something to smile about

10 September, 2015

For healthy teeth and gums a combination of healthy lifestyle and good dental hygiene are essential.

For healthy teeth and gums you need plenty of vitamin C which helps maintain the integrity of your gums and keep infections at bay. CoQ1O supplements can also be helpful for healthy gums which are the cause of many dental problems. Calcium, iron and zinc are also helpful. Try taking a daily multivitamin to get at least your minimum daily requirement. Avoid refined foods and in particular sugar as these can lead to tooth decay.

Brushing and flossing are important, of course, as are regular check-ups, but even those who take good care of their teeth can occasionally find they have tooth problems such as pain or inflammation.

Fortunately there are natural remedies to help.


Calendula, Myrrh, Raspberry Leaf: Combine the tinctures and dilute in a little water to use as a mouthwash. Will help cleanse the gums and reduce any inflammation (See also our mouthwash recipe below).


Calc Fluor 6X: A tissue salt that may encourage the build up healthy enamel to help protect teeth prone to decay. We recommend taking one twice daily for ten days, two or three times a year.

Simple recipes

In spite of the army of products on the market to help us fight gum disease, this problem seems to be on the rise, particularly in the West where our diets deplete immunity and cause inflammation.

Instead of more chemicals why not try less. A simple mouthwash made with myrrh may be helpful in fighting gum disease and can also bring relief to swollen gums. Use one drop of myrrh essential oil dissolved in a tablespoonful of vodka (or a specially prepared myrrh tincture); mix into a little water. DO NOT SWALLOW.

Rinse mouth thoroughly once a day after brushing. Other essential oils may also be helpful try substituting the lavender, calendula or roman chamomile for the myrrh.

Can this really be effective? According to the research yes. There is plenty of evidence to show that essential oil rinses are found to be equally effective in inhibiting plaque and harsher fluoride- and chlorhexidine- containing brands.  Since chlorhexidine causes staining of teeth on long term use, essential oils make a good alternative to this ingredient. Essential oil mouthrinses have shown to kill the bacteria that can cause gum disease, though there is some evidence to suggest that they are more effective in the presence of alcohol-base. 

Increasingly people are concerned about the fluoride in their toothpaste. If your teeth are healthy it is debatable whether fluoride adds anything important or necessary to your dental hygiene routine (see our article Q&A: What’s so bad about fluoride?). Why not try make you own tooth powder instead.

  • 2 dspn green or white clay
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 drops peppermint
  • 2 drops lemon

Mix thoroughly and keep in an air tight box. Dip damp toothbrush in the mixture and brush as normal.

If you have toothache

Chronic toothache requires a visit to the dentist, but you can try these temporary first-aid measures while you await your appointment.


Marshmallow, Sage, Thyme: Make a strong infusion and use as a mouthwash to help soothe inflammation and counter infection. Do not use sage during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless prescribed by a qualified practitioner.

Clove: Apply undiluted clove oil on cotton wool and place on affected area. Alternatively chew on a clove bud near the affected area. Not to be used for babies or young children.


Again, choose the remedy that best matches the symptoms. The following remedies are available singly or as a combination remedy.

Arnica 30C: Useful after tooth extraction. Toothache following injury to the teeth or gums. Bruised soreness following a visit to the dentist. Two or three doses.

Belladonna 30C: Throbbing pain in the tooth or gum. Red, inflamed gum with signs of abscess (take while waiting to see your dentist). One dose three times a day.

Fernim Phos 6X: Toothache with inflammation and soreness of gum, bleeding after extraction or after a blow to the area. One dose every two or three hours for several days.

Kali Phos 6X: Nerve pains in decayed or filled teeth; nagging dull toothache. One dose every two or three hours for several days.

Mag Phos 6X: Severe toothache with shooting pains. Tooth sensitive to touch or cold air. One dose every two or three hours for several days.

Nervous about seeing the dentist?

For many people a visit to the dentist is nerve wracking.

As stated above a dose of homoeopathic Arnica 30C can considerably lessen the physical trauma and aid recovery following a visit to the dentist. Take one dose one hour before treatment and one dose one hour afterwards.

The Bach flower essence Mimulus is also a good choice for anticipatory fear. Take a couple of drops in a little water as often as required before visiting the dentist.

But essential oils may also help with nervousness. For instance, there is evidence that both lavender and orange essential oils can reduce anxiety and improve mood in patients waiting for dental treatment.

Although your local dental office might not diffuse essential oils in the waiting room, you can carry your own personal aromatherapy inhaler with a custom blend of lavender and orange essential oils – or simply put a few drops on a cotton handkerchief, pop this in a plastic bag and use it for inhalations as necessary.

You can also make a portable aromatherapy balm of your chosen essential oils and apply it to the temples and wrists, as needed. Other suitable essential oils for anti-anxiety blend include:

  • neroli
  • rose
  • sandalwood
  • vetiver
  • peppermint

The Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Book , co-authored by our Editor Pat Thomas, has great recipes for making your own balms.