Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Ingredients for teeth and gums

I've been looking through my various books and recipes to find out more about the common ingredients that get used in tooth powders, toothpastes and mouth washes. I will keep adding to this list as I find more goodies on my travels! 

Bicarbonate of soda is added to tooth powders for it's abrasive cleaning action and whitening.

Cayenne pepper can be used for toothache by applying it directly to the effected area (get ready for take-off!)

Cinnamon bark (Cinnamonum zeylanicum) essential oils for it's antiseptic properties.

Clay is used in tooth pastes and powders for it's abrasive cleaning action. I've used both kaolin and chalk in toothpaste recipes.

Cloves (Eugenia caryophyllus) provide a mild local anaesthetic if you're suffering with tooth ache. Rub some around the affected tooth and gum. Apparently you can also chew clove buds for a similar effect.

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) essential oil is said to reduce inflammation and pain.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) tincture is recommended for mouth ulcers. 5-10 drops in a glass of water as a mouthwash.

Horseradish root (Armoracia rusticana) can be added to toothpaste to help clean teeth effectively, kill bacteria and control mouth ulcers. I've not tried this one but I'm guessing that a powder would be the best form to use? 

Lemon (Citrus limonum) essential oil is antibacterial and antiseptic.

Myrrh (Commiphora molmol) gets a stunning write-up by John Heinerman in 'The Science of Herbal Medicine': "From the days of Moses to the time of Christ and since then to the 20th century, Myrrh has proven over and over again to be one of the finest antibacterial and antiviral agents placed on earth". Both the tincture and the essential oil are used in mouthwash and tooth powder or paste recipes for sore or inflamed gums and mouth ulcers.

Propolis is a substance made by bees from plant resins to keep their hives free of harmful bacteria. It has various therapeutic uses, and is sometimes used in mouthwashes and toothpastes for general oral hygiene, preventing a build up of plaque and gingivitis.

Peppermint like clove can be applied in cases of toothache

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is good for inflammation or ulceration of mouth, gums and throat. A tea can be made and used as a gargle or mouthwash once it has cooled. I've just used ground dried sage in a tooth powder recipe.

Salt (for which there are apparently 14,000 different uses!) is a common ingredient in tooth powders and it meant to help remove plaque, whiten the teeth and also be good for the gums. I started off using common table salt but upgraded more recently to Himalayan rock salt for it's therapeutic qualities.

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil for it's antiseptic properties. According to the Australian Medical Journal it is the "Finest antiseptic known to man".

Tormentil (Potentilla tormentilla) can be used in a mouthwash or chewed (leaves or roots) for mouth ulcers, and sore gums or lips.

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