I have recently been addicted to watching this Netflix series called “Outlander”. It centers around a tortured, time-traveling love affair, set both amid 17th century Scotland, and the 50’s modern America. It progresses through history, through various wars, into the settlement of the American Colonies, and the whole epic is both very beautiful and horrifically ugly, which it probably really was, assuming you had managed to stay alive at all past the age of twenty in that time period.
The heroine flits back and forth thru time, and they marvel at her soft skin and shiny hair. However, however. Being a good work of fiction, and not wishing to gross us all out, as there is massive graphic make out scenes, the hero, and even the Villain, all have lovely white teeth, just like her. Highly improbable, I am thinking.
Truth often being stranger than fiction, chances are, they probably did have awesome teeth. (or at least, they could have, if they wanted to). Except for recent innovations in modern dentistry, they used many of the same types of methods for keeping their mouths clean and bacteria-free, and their teeth strong and healthy as we do. Many of the ancient pastes and practices are currently back in vogue and may well be in your refrigerator right now. Here are my picks for top 5:
5. Myrrh and rosemary oil
These are two powerhouse antioxidant’s that contain natural astringent properties. These are particularly good for gum health, which is important to the underlying health of your teeth. Gum disease typically precedes tooth decay. These oils also kill parasites and bacteria and leave your breath smelling like a tiny Scottish forest.
4. Baking soda and peroxide
Although not so ancient, this combination also kills germs, and seriously whitens smiles. However, word of warning, it should not be used every day, as the abrasion can damage enamel. Fact to note, it is the dentin, not the enamel that is whitened by the action of hydrogen peroxide. It interacts with the stain causing molecules and disrupts the bonds that attach the stain to your teeth. Rinsing with a solution of 1:2 h2o2 and water is not harmful to use daily. Please make sure you are using a peroxide diluted, at no more than 3% strength, bottled.
3. Strawberries and lemon
If you do this one right, you can enjoy a tasty treat while whitening your teeth and killing germs. It’s brilliant. Strawberries contain malic acid, mostly found in the inner, white part of the berry. Making a paste (or tart?) of this berry with a little lemon juice and water and leaving on your teeth for a few minutes can have a lasting whitening effect. Adding the lemon does the same but adds an astringent effect. I would also suggest adding some peppermint oil or colloidal silver if you also want to keep bacteria to a minimum, and remember to brush your teeth with either water, or plain lemon water afterwards, as the strawberries do contain fructose, and you don’t want that to sit on your teeth for too long. It is a form of sugar. Added tip: Rubbing the white of the berry on your face and rinsing it off after about five minutes also works to lighten skin and improve discoloration.
2. Coconut oil
Advocates of coconut oil get a little coo-coo about the amazing benefits of this giant, hairy nut. It contains anti-microbial lauric acid which has been touted as a curative for everything from heart disease to energy levels, to reversing aging. But, lets talk about teeth. The common way to use the oil according to Ayurvedic practitioners is to “pull” it. That means swishing it around your mouth and sucking it back and forth between your teeth. (with your mouth closed, please). It is claimed that this practice rids the mouth of bacteria, whitens the enamel, and can even re mineralize teeth that are beginning to decay. Does it work? Some swear it has magically repaired existing damage, others show before and after shots of whitening, and the ADA suggests you use Colgate. (duh). I have personally tried this, and it does make your mouth feel very clean, but I am not inspired to spend twenty minutes swishing to find out more.
1. Activated Charcoal toothpaste
First of all, I am not advocating rubbing a couple of quik-lite briquettes on your teeth. That’s gross, and not very bright. Plus, they contain kerosene. Not safe. What is safe, healthy, and has zero weird side effects, is a product that I could make a version of, but it’s already in a tube, so I just buy it. It is Schmidts Wondermint, an activated charcoal toothpaste. It contains: blue magnolia bark, aloe, tea tree oil, co-Q10, stevia, and activated charcoal, and no evil fluorite. (more on that nemesis later). I also do occasionally rinse my mouth with peroxide, and I put coconut oil in my coffee blender morning weirdness drink. As a result, I have white, healthy teeth. The only cavities I’ve had where from a teenage restaurant stint where I could drink soda all day. I understand genetics, learned behaviors, and access to dental care are all variables we can’t do a lot about sometimes.
Brush your teeth.
These are only a few suggestions, but sometimes the simple things are still the most effective, and you don’t want to accidentally get thrust two hundred years into the past, only to find out that they had better teeth than you do!