For the past month, I've been experimenting with a more natural based oral hygiene routine to see if it would help my sensitive teeth. Here are a few words about my experience, and why I would recommend everyone to give it a go at least once.
I never had any problems with my teeth being sensitive when I was a kid. My mum wasn't overly strict on banning sweets or anything like that, but she did instil a good routine of making sure that I brushed my teeth every morning and every night without fail. Fast forward into my rebellious teens and I got into the bad habit of smoking when I was at college which is where the problems with my teeth started. They became very sensitive, so much so that I could only drink cold drinks through a straw and I never, ever ordered anything with ice in it. I gave up the cigarettes before Uni, but the sensitivity issue still persisted and my gums felt irritated all the time. When I chatted to my dentist about this, she just recommended that I use something like Sensodyne, so I did that for a couple of years which helped a little.
Nowadays though, I tend to switch my toothpaste to whatever is usually on offer and I haven't noticed any major changes or differences. Last month, I tried out the Beverly Hills Formula Perfect White Black Toothpaste & Mouthwash (reviewed here) which I really enjoyed using, but I wanted to find a more natural based toothpaste that had a higher percentage of charcoal in it to see if I could whiten my teeth any further without making them feel more sensitive.
Switching To A Natural Toothpaste
I was sent a sample of Ecodenta Extra Black Whitening Toothpaste* (100ml, £3.99, link) which is 93% natural, and free from SLS and fluoride. The debate around avoiding fluoride is a complicated one, but many consumers are now choosing to opt for fluoride-free toothpaste due to a range of health concerns such as links to thyroid problems and brittle bones. I'm still researching the topic, so do feel free to comment below if you have an opinion on this! Moving onto the toothpaste, this one is formulated with Charcoal which is an excellent way to whiten your teeth naturally and remove stains, plus it's also low abrasive so it won't damage your tooth enamel like conventional whitening products can. In addition to the Charcoal, there's Teavigo, an active substance found in Green Tea, which helps to eradicate bacteria and maintain a healthy oral microflora.
It comes out in a black paste which turns grey when you're brushing, but still tastes very fresh and minty! I've noticed that my teeth are looking a little whiter and my gums feel a lot less irritated. My breath is also a lot fresher after using it. I'll continue to use this for a few months and then report back if I see any further changes, but so far, so good!
Trying Out Oil Pulling With Coconut Oil
Oil pulling has been a massive trend within health conscious and green beauty circles for some time now as a natural alternative to mainstream mouthwashes. I've tried it on and off in the past, but this is the first time I've stuck with it for a whole month and I have to say it's really helped! The main theory behind oil pulling is based on the ancient Indian Ayurvedic method, in that the oil 'sucks' out all of the toxins in your mouth which in turn creates a clean environment for you to use toothpaste afterwards, making your toothpaste more effective. This is why you oil pull BEFORE brushing your teeth and not after - makes sense right?
Coconut Oil is the most popular oil to use because of its many natural antibacterial properties, so I've been using Perfectly Pure Extra Virgin Pure Coconut Oil* (453g, £15.59, link) which is a high quality, cold-pressed coconut oil with nothing else added to it. I oil pull once a day, first thing in the morning, with a tablespoon of coconut oil. It gently melts in your mouth and feels weird at first, but trust me, stick with it! I swish it around, pushing it between my teeth with my tongue, for around 20 minutes and then spit it out in the bathroom bin (DO NOT spit it out in your sink or shower because it will solidify and block and your drains!). Afterwards, my mouth feels incredibly clean and my teeth and gums have started to feel a lot less sensitive which is amazing!Replace Your Old Toothbrush With A New Recycled One
The next time that your manual toothbrush wears out, consider replacing it with a 'new' recycled one. I recently came across this company called Preserve who make all of their products using 100% BPA free recycled plastic. This Preserve Toothbrush* (£2.99, link) features a handle that's made from recycled yoghurt cups - how cool is that? It's curved shape has been designed by dentists so that you can easily reach every corner of your mouth and the new, tiered nylon bristles are soft yet firm enough to their job. If that doesn't sound good enough, Preserve will also recycle your toothbrush when you're done with it (just post it back to them) so that it can be re-used for something else, thus reducing waste in landfills. When you think about how many toothbrushes must be thrown away every single day, this one small change could make a big difference if more people did it.
I'd highly recommend switching to a more natural toothpaste and giving oil pulling a go if you have sensitive teeth like me - if you try it, let me know!
Have you tried doing any of the above?