The global dental industry is worth billions of dollars, with the global dental consumables market alone worth about $25 billion. Yet 4 billion people around the world — more than half our total population — suffers from some kind of untreated oral health issue. About 47.2% of American adults have some form of dental disease. According to one report, “the global burden of oral diseases has increased by 20 percent between 1990 and 2010.” This begs the question, are we being served by current dental practices? Considering the fact that our early ancestors had virtually no oral health issues at all, one must certainly wonder.
Why is this the case?
Diet and nutrition are the foundation of our health and a failure to meet proper diet and nutritional needs will always result in poor health. No amount of bandaids can heal this wound, and we cannot forever rely on temporary symptom blockers. It is astounding that hunter-gatherer tribes, who didn’t have any aid of the privileges of the modern dental health care system, still maintained their teeth in great health. And they were able to do because of their diet. Studies show that societies who had less carbohydrates, starches, and sugars in their diets had better oral health. Statistically, our oral health has worsened in the past couple of decades despite a much more affordable dental health care system. During this same timeline there has been a correlated surge of increased sugar, wheat, and processed foods consumption among the North American population.
Dangers of Dental Products.
To expose another layer of this, let’s look at the three pillars of oral hygiene in today’s society — tooth-brushing, flossing, and mouth washing — and how they have been holding up. Commercial toothpastes primarily use toxic substances as a means to clean your mouth. Unsurprisingly, the ingredients in regular toothpastes have shown many side-effects, such as teeth-enamel damage, dental flourosis, stomach ailments, skin rashes, and more.
Routine mouth washing, on the other hand, has been shown to significantly increase blood pressure, as the antiseptic chemicals kill off the bacteria that help your blood vessels to relax. Like an antibiotic, mouthwashes wipe out not just the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria that protect our teeth.
Lastly, flossing has been shown to be almost useless in terms of its purported benefits. Last year the Associated Press conducted an analysis of twenty-five plus studies on flossing, and found that the evidence for flossing is “weak, very unreliable,” of “very low” quality, and carries “a moderate to large potential for bias.” In fact, the U.S. federal government removed flossing from their health guidelines after admitting that the effectiveness of flossing has never actually been properly researched. While the American Dental Association has been promoting flossing since 1908 — and the global market is now worth $2 billion — most studies have been funded and even “designed and conducted” by the industry itself, often with poor research methods:
The two leading professional groups — the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology, for specialists in gum disease and implants — cited other studies as proof of their claims that flossing prevents buildup of gunk known as plaque, early gum inflammation called gingivitis, and tooth decay. However, most of these studies used outdated methods or tested few people. Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop. One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss. Such research, like the reviewed studies, focused on warning signs like bleeding and inflammation, barely dealing with gum disease or cavities.
So what other choices do we have? There are literally dozens of alternatives to choose from. Here is a small list of some natural and effective ways to keep your teeth clean.
- Chewing Sticks (the original form of tooth-brushing)
- Oil, saltwater, or tea pulling
- Chewing leaves (mint, parsley, sage)
- Chewing gum
- Oral probiotics
- Tongue Scraping
- Cloth brushing
- Baking Soda
- Herbal Powders
- Natural toothpaste
Just remember, most of your oral health is determined by your diet and nutrition. A diet that is high in fibre, fat, vitamins and minerals, rather than sugar, carbohydrates, and starches, can go a long way toward preventing oral diseases. The mouth is one of the main doorways to the insides of your entire body, so let’s remember to take good care of it by approaching hygiene approaches more holistically than we do now.