13 Best Supplements and Essential Oils for Teeth
Recent studies have shown that tooth decay is as American as apple pie. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, a staggering 91% of adults in the US had dental caries in their permanent teeth in 2011-2012.1 But this problem isn’t limited to just Americans, as it’s also been reported that more than 2.4 billion people suffer from untreated tooth decay.2
Although not as widespread as tooth decay, periodontal disease—commonly known as gum disease—is also a major issue. According to the CDC, nearly half of all American adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, and that percentage increases with age.3
The unfortunate thing about these sobering statistics is that tooth decay and gum disease is largely preventable. A major component of oral health is proper daily brushing and flossing. But another more crucial component is a healthy diet, which often requires supplementation. So if you’re looking to improve your oral health and reduce your risk of cavities and other dental problems, consider adding the following supplements and essential oils for teeth to your daily routine.
Our bodies need calcium to maintain healthy teeth and bones. A lack of calcium in the body can not only affect teeth, but can also weaken the jaw bone, causing teeth to loosen. Depending on your age, it is recommended that you consume between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams per day,4 so consider supplementation if you aren’t getting enough of this vital nutrient from food.
Calcium supplementation can ensure that your teeth and jaw stay strong throughout your life. It’s especially important for the elderly, as a 2001 study found that calcium and vitamin D supplements reduced tooth loss in people aged 65 or older.5 Calcium requires sufficient vitamin D and K2 to be effectively absorbed in the body, so take them in tandem to maximize results.
Along with allowing the body to absorb calcium, vitamin D offers a range of benefits for your overall health. One of the key benefits of vitamin D for teeth is that sufficient levels help to prevent decay and bleeding gums.6
There are two types of vitamin D (D2 and D3), but D3 is recommended because your body can absorb it better. The good news is that your skin absorbs vitamin D from the sun. Just 15-20 minutes of sun exposure a day provides a sufficient amount of vitamin D.
On cloudy days or days when you can’t manage to spend 15 minutes outside, make sure you are still getting your vitamin D via a high-quality supplement. Although a typical recommendation is a 1,000 international-unit (IU) daily dose of vitamin D, other experts such as the vitamin D council recommend 5,000 IU per day for the average adult.7
While clove is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce toothache pain, this versatile herb offers additional benefits for the teeth and gums. These benefits include:
- Reduces gum swelling
- Relieves mouth ulcers
- Protects against cavities
- Freshens breath8
- Protects teeth against acid
- Helps remineralize teeth9
A drop of clove oil can be added to toothpaste or diluted with water and gargled to promote oral health. A small amount can also be put on a cotton ball and then applied to the tooth and around the gum area to relieve pain. You should avoid ingesting this oil in large amounts and consult your doctor before using if you are diabetic or are on blood thinners.10
According to functional dentist Dr. Steven Lin, tooth decay is the result of a microbiome imbalance in the mouth. This imbalance often stems from consuming too much sugar and simple carbohydrates.11 Oral probiotics work to restore this balance in the mouth.
Studies have shown that some oral probiotics have the potential to reduce dental plaque, which is associated with dental carries and periodontal disease. They also found that milk containing the L. rhamnosus LB21 probiotic along with fluoride reduced the occurrence of dental carries in school children.12 It’s recommended that you eat plenty of prebiotic fiber with any oral probiotic supplement you take.
Similar to clove, the anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon make it an effective remedy for relieving toothaches. Also like clove, cinnamon has anti-bacterial properties that promote healthy gums and help prevent cavities. In the past, some dentists would clean out the debris from a cavity and then use a cinnamon, clove oil, morphine, and carbolic acid paste to pack the cavity.13
Cinnamon should always be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied topically. And although it is recognized by the FDA as safe for consumption,14 too much can be toxic for the body. Make sure to use a high-quality, therapeutic-grade cinnamon essential oil to ensure that it’s free from chemical toxins.
Scurvy, a disease with symptoms that include gum disease and the loosening of teeth, results from a severe lack of vitamin C.15 Sailors of old discovered that lemons and limes prevented this disease on their voyages. Now we know that vitamin C plays a large role in keeping your connective tissues strong, including those in the gums.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you can take well over the recommended dose of 2,000 mg a day. In fact, some dental patients have reported that taking megadoses of vitamin C cured their gum and periodontal disease.16 And due to its ability to fight off bacteria, a growing number of dentists recommend that their patients take this vitamin before receiving dental treatment.
Behind calcium, phosphorus is the second-most important mineral for healthy bone and tooth formation. As evidence, a study done in the 1960s found that a lack of phosphorus caused cavities in rats.17 Along with strengthening the bones, phosphorus also helps replace minerals in teeth, protects tooth enamel, prevents tooth decay, and facilitates the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body.
Phosphorus works in conjunction with calcium. So if you aren’t getting enough phosphorus in your diet, calcium supplements wont do you much good. There is also evidence that too much calcium in the body can interfere with phosphorus absorption.18 The FDA recommends 1,000 mg of phosphorus daily, which is a 1:1 ratio with calcium.19
Bacteria that forms plaque on the teeth leads to tooth decay and other serious infections of the mouth. The phytochemicals in peppermint can prevent these harmful bacteria from forming.20 Along with its antibacterial and antifungal properties, peppermint is also anti-inflammatory, and is often used to treat toothaches and gum pain. This herb also contains vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the teeth, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
On top of all these benefits, peppermint also has a pleasant taste and freshens breath, which is why it’s often used in gum and toothpastes. As with clove and cinnamon, too much peppermint oil can damage the teeth and gums, so make sure to dilute it and only use a drop or two.
Omega-3s are best known for their ability to reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and enhance brain function. But did you know that these essential fatty acids also offer tremendous benefits for the teeth?
A 2010 study of more than 9,000 test subjects found that greater omega-3 intake correlated to lower prevalence of periodontitis. Those who took moderate amounts of omega-3s containing DHA and EPA were 23% less likely to develop gum disease, while those who took higher amounts were 30% less likely.21 Additionally, a 2014 Harvard study found that DHA reduced the risk of tooth loss in the test subjects, who all had moderate periodontitis.22
Most people don’t get enough omega-3s in their diets, making supplementation essential. When choosing an omega-3 supplement, make sure that it contains enough EPA and DHA. Five hundred milligrams per day of each is recommended, but larger amounts may provide even greater benefits.23
If you’re experiencing frequent inflammation and bleeding of the gums, a CoQ10 supplement may be able to help. An adequate supply of CoQ10 helps the body heal and repair periodontal tissues, while a lack of it increases the risk of periodontal disease.24 CoQ10 supplementation for a 4-month period was also found to decrease Gingival Index (GI), Plaque Index (PI), Clinical Attachment Level (CAL), and Probing Depth (PD) among subjects with chronic periodontitis.25
Your body produces small amounts of CoQ10 on its own, but not enough to fully support optimal health. A supplement of this coenzyme can help you reach the daily requirement of 30 to 200 mg if you are not getting enough of it from foods such as nuts, seeds, fatty fish, poultry, and vegetables. To maximize the absorption of coQ10, you should take it with a food that contains fat.26
Like calcium and phosphorus, vitamin A is essential for strong bones and teeth. It especially helps with the formation of tooth enamel as well as dentin, which is a hard material below the surface of the teeth. There is convincing evidence that vitamin A deficiency results in defective dentin and enamel formation.27
Recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A vary depending on age.
- 0-6 months: 400 mcg.
- 7-12 months: 500 mcg.
- 1-3 years: 300 mcg.
- 4-8 years: 400 mcg.
- 9-13 years: 600 mcg.
- 14+ years: 900 mcg. for males, 700 mcg. for females
- Pregnancy: 1,200-1,300 mcg.28
Vitamin A is fat-soluble, which means excess amounts will be stored as fat in the body, so make sure to take your vitamin A consumption from foods into account before considering adding it as a supplement.
Can improved dental health be as easy as chewing gum? According to research from the Journal of Periodontology, it can. The results of one of their studies found that a eucalyptus-extract chewing gum reduced Gingival Index (GI), Probing Depth (PD) and Bleeding on Probing (BOP) percentages in test subjects.29 This is likely due to the herb’s antibacterial properties.
Eucalyptus is also anti-inflammatory, and thus can help reduce swelling in gums. Diluted eucalyptus oil can be rubbed on the gums as a remedy to help prevent gum recession as well. As it has the potential to prevent tooth decay, gingivitis, and bad breath, eucalyptus is the active ingredient in many toothpastes and mouth washes.
One of the oldest remedies in the world, myrrh has many properties that make it especially beneficial for teeth. Interestingly, it can actually help you absorb vitamins and minerals better. It is also used to reduce inflammation in the mouth and gums, helping alleviate ulcers and gingivitis, and fighting tooth decay and bad breath.30
Myrhh can be diluted and used as a mouthwash or can be used in a tooth powder. You can buy a tooth powder containing myrhh or easily make your own. One particular homemade tooth powder calls for 1 tablespoon of myrrh, 2 teaspoons of licorice powder, and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder.31
Other supplements and essential oils for teeth
While we’ve found these supplements and essential oils to be particularly beneficial for oral health, there are many others that can help you have healthier teeth and gums. Some of these include:
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Tea tree oil
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K2
- Wild orange
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