Oral Hygiene

  • Easy Switches for Naturally Healthy Teeth & Gums

    Good dental healthYou know the drill (or how to avoid one!) for good dental care: Brush, floss, rinse. But ingredients like fluoride or alcohol in many dental care products are potentially harmful. Here are a few natural ways to take care of your teeth and gums—and keep you smiling!

    No to: Fluoride
    Yes to: Xylitol

    Fluoride is added to dental products (and many public water supplies) because the American Dental Association says it helps remove the plaque that causes gum disease and tooth decay, and it helps strengthen tooth enamel. But there is a downside: according to the Fluoride Action Network, it has been linked to several illnesses, allergies and compromised thyroid functioning. Alarmingly, the FDA requires a “poison” label on fluoride toothpastes, due to its toxicity if even small amounts are ingested.

    Xylitol is a natural sweetener (look for xylitol made from birch bark), that actually stops the production of tooth-decaying acids and helps recalcify tooth enamel. Try Xlear's Spry Fluoride-Free Toothpaste with Xylitol that combines xylitol with bacteria-fighting aloe vera. For flossing, single-use Xylitol Antibacterial Cranberry Floss Sachets from Radius amp up protection from cavities with both xylitol and cranberry compounds that help stop bacteria from attaching to teeth.

    No to: Alcohol
    Yes to: Oxygen & Coconut Oil

    Mass-marketed mouth rinses rely on alcohol to fight bacteria in our mouths, but long-term use of these alcohol-based products has been linked to oral cancer. A safer way to keep acid-forming bacteria at bay is with oxygen, in the form of hydrogen peroxide. Essential Oxygen's Organic Brushing Rinse is free of alcohol, fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate to keep gums healthy, teeth white and breath fresh.

    Another way to rinse: “oil pulling," an ancient Ayurvedic technique that’s been in the news lately. Take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 10-20 minutes, then spit it out. Fans claim oil pulling draws harmful bacteria away from your teeth and gums and cleans much better than brushing alone.

    No to: Teeth Whitening Strips and Trays
    Yes to: Activated Charcoal

    Teeth whiteners often contain high concentrations of bleaching agents that can cause extreme tooth sensitivity—especially systems that use trays or strips to keep bleach on the teeth for 20 minutes or more. Instead, try brushing your teeth with activated charcoal. Take ½ teaspoon (or one capsule) and dissolve it in a small amount of water or coconut oil, then brush your teeth gently for 2 minutes. Your teeth will be black when brushing(!) but after spitting it out and rinsing you’ll see brighter teeth and tannin stains (coffee, wine, tea) gone.

    No to: Sugary & Starchy Snacks
    Yes to: Apples

    Granulated sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, and starchy foods mix with saliva forming an “acid bath” in our mouths that erodes tooth enamel. Instead, reach for an apple (nature’s toothbrush!), as it increases saliva flow and its astringent qualities help reduce the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria.

  • Boost Heart Health with Good Oral Care

    It is no coincidence that a strong correlation exists between oral health and overall health. After all, most foreign matter enters the body through the mouth. Still, even the most health conscious among us are often guilty of neglecting our dental health. Research from the past ten years demonstrates that it is time for oral care to be given the kind of attention a perfect smile deserves.

    The mouth-heart connection is well documented. A 2004 study found that 91 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease also suffered from moderate to severe periodontal disease. Annual dental checkups are an important step in recognizing this condition because it is often painless in the early stages. According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, approximately 75 percent of American adults have some form of periodontal disease.

    Give your mouth the best care by choosing healthy oral care products. The Natural Dentist makes toothpastes and mouthwashes that are free of alcohol, dyes, harsh chemicals, detergents and artificial preservatives. Our product selection from Desert Essence is free of harsh abrasives, synthetic sweeteners and artificial flavors. Pharmaca also carries eco-friendly toothbrushes by Recycline, made from recycled yogurt containers, and many more oral health favorites.

    Our health care practitioners recommend the following steps as part of a holistic oral care regimen:

    • Brush after every meal
    • Floss every day
    • Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables and whole grains
    • Include dental health in discussions with your doctor
    • Supplement with calcium and vitamin C
    • Exercise regularly to improve circulation
    • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
    • Visit your dentist at least once each year
  • Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth

    As you know, maintaining good dental health is important for good overall health (especially cardiovascular health)  And a white smile shows you take pride in your appearance--the American Dental Association has even published studies that show that people with a white, bright smile exude confidence, success and even wealth. But you need not spend a fortune to have a healthy white smile. In fact, there are many low-cost, natural ways to whiten teeth that won't even make a dent in your wallet.

    While over-the-counter tooth-whitening kits are plentiful, there is some concern about their chemical ingredients (or the danger of doing it wrong and ending up with painful, too-white teeth). Instead, here are a few safe and natural ways to brighten and white those not-so-pearly whites:

    Eat lots of crunchy foods. Fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, celery and pears naturally clean and whiten your teeth--the crunchier the food, the more abrasive it will be (abrasive in a good way). If you already eat a healthy, organic diet, try eating your fruits and veggies in their natural state, since it's the crunch that will help your teeth stay white and bright.

    Increase your dairy intake. Cheese, milk, and yogurt all contain calcium and phosphorous, two minerals that enhance the enamel on your teeth. By increasing your intake of grass-fed, organic and raw dairy products, you can strengthen your teeth and improve their whiteness.

    Eat strawberries. Strawberries contain malic acid, which removes discolorations on the teeth and helps buff the enamel, creating a brighter, smoother appearance of the teeth. Try adding a little baking soda to a crushed up strawberry and leaving the mixture on your teeth for a few minutes (it will look and feel like a paste). You'll intensify the effect of the malic acid and benefit even more from the strawberries' natural whitening elements.

    On occasion, use baking soda to whiten and brighten your teeth. Some research shows that periodically mixing baking soda with a little hydrogen peroxide or salt will clean and whiten teeth beautifully.

    Use a straw. Keep staining beverages like coffee, tea, soda and red wine from coming into direct contact with your teeth. Maybe not so easy with your morning coffee, but at least keep a straw handy when you're drinking iced tea or even iced coffees.

    If you have questions about Pharmaca's selection of teeth-whitening products, ask a Pharmaca practitioner for assistance.

  • Natural treatments for canker sores and cold sores

    Canker sores are painful, open sores in the mouth that are white or yellow and surrounded by a bright red area. The exact cause of canker sores is not known, but stress and tissue injuries have been known to lead to the development of these often-embarrassing sores. A niacin deficiency may also contribute to the eruption of canker sores. Treatment for canker sores and natural canker sore remedies are available Pharmaca.

    There are two types of canker sores:

    • Simple canker sores: May appear three or four times per year and last up to a week, typically. Simple canker sores are most often suffered by people ages 10-20.
    • Complex canker sores: Less common and occur more often in people who have chronic canker sore outbreaks.

    There are some warning signs of canker sores:

    • A tingling or burning sensation will occur prior to the appearance of the canker sore.
    • Evident sores inside your mouth, including on the tongue, soft palate or inside of the cheeks.
    • Sores that are round, white, or gray and with a red border.
    • In severe cases, you may experience fever, swollen lymph nodes and lethargy.

    A cold sore, on the other hand, is the common name for Herpes Labialis, a disease caused by infection of the mouth due to Herpes Simplex 1 Virus Type 1. Herpes Simplex 2 is more commonly referred to as genital herpes.

    A cold sore outbreak typically involves:

    • A rash or skin lesions around the lips, mouth and gums
    • Development of small, fluid-filled blisters
    • Raised, red, painful blisters
    • Broken and oozing blisters
    • Yellow crust that sloughs off to reveal healing skin underneath

    There are many natural canker sore remedies available at Pharmaca; if you’re suffering from one, check out our entire line of treatment for canker sore options now!


  • The Oral Health-Heart Health Connection

    healthy smilesDuring Healthy Heart month we've been talking a lot about cardiovascular health and the best way to reduce your risks. But there's another unusual heart-health issue that might not be on the top of your mind—your oral health.

    A 2004 study in the journal Circulation found that adults who have significant levels of bacteria related to periodontal disease are also predisposed to have thicker carotid arteries, a condition that is a strong predictor of heart attack and stroke.

    The study measured 11 different strains of bacteria, of which four are widely believed to be a source of periodontal disease. The presence of these four bacteria was connected with the thicker carotid, leading researchers to believe that there is some connection between a tendency toward periodontal disease and higher risk of heart problems.

    While researchers are still unsure about the exact connection, studies have shown that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease is involved in a number of health issues, including pre-term of low birth-weight babies, diabetes and respiratory infections.

    So what can you do to protect yourself from periodontal disease? We spoke with Dr. Ashleigh Putnam, naturopathic doctor at our Monterey store, about keeping bad bacteria in check.

    "I really like Herb Pharm's Oral Health Tonic," says Dr. Putnam. "It includes thyme and cinnamon, which are naturally antibacterial." Just place a dropperful in a glass of water and swish. Another way to get kill harmful bacteria: rinse with a cool cup of rosemary and peppermint tea.

    Dr. Putnam also says to make sure you're getting xylitol in your mouthwash or gum. "People like mouth rinses from the Natural Dentist, which include xylitol and spearmint oil," she says. "Those two are beneficial for any type of infection." Or try Spry Chewing Gum, which features xylitol and comes in a variety of refreshing flavors.

    Finally, she recommends applying probiotics (like Pharmax HLC Maintenance) directly to the gums. "Open up a capsule and swish it around," she says. Just like in your gut, "The good bacteria impede the bad bacteria." She adds that you can even swallow it when you're done to reap the benefits in your digestive system.

    For more information on oral and cardiovascular health, speak with a Pharmaca practitioner today.

5 Item(s)