How To Keep Your Kids Teeth Clean & Healthy Without Fluoride

How To Keep Your Kids Teeth Clean & Healthy Without Fluoride | Growing Up Herbal | Learn how you can keep your kids teeth clean and healthy WITHOUT fluoride.

So you’ve decided to skip using fluoride with your kiddos because of its toxic effects on the body. Good for you, mama!

Perhaps you feel good about that decision, but up until this point, you’ve been relying on fluoride to strengthen your child’s teeth and prevent cavities from forming. So, where do you go from here?

I mean, what can you do to actually prevent cavities from forming? Are there natural options you can use?

Today I’m sharing 5 things that I’ve found to help keep my kids teeth strong and healthy. Psst… they’ll work for your kiddo’s too!

What Causes Cavities In The First Place?

From my understanding, cavities are caused by bacteria… not plaque. The bacteria stick to the teeth via plaque, but plaque isn’t what eats away at your teeth… it’s the bacteria in the plaque.

Now, we all have a protective coating on our teeth called enamel. It protects the inside of our teeth from the outside elements. Enamel lasts a lifetime, but certain things can wear it down… specifically acid. For those that eat a lot of acidic foods or have a more acidic pH in their body, this could be more of a problem.

So what causes cavities… bacteria eating away at enamel that’s been worn down by acid.

How To Prevent Cavities Naturally

Below are some things to consider when you’re opting to skip fluoride (which builds enamel back up so that bacteria can’t get through it as quickly) but want to get it’s benefits in a more natural way.

1. Keep Enamel In Good Shape.

There are two things I think of when I hear that.

  1. Keep my and my kids mouths (and bodies) more alkaline than acidic so there is less demineralization going on.
  2. Read up on remineralization via the books, Cure Tooth Decay, All Natural Dental Remedies, and Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye. Here and here are also some great blog posts by Wellness Mama all about remineralizing teeth too.

2. Reduce Bacteria In The Mouth

Since bacteria cause cavities and dental decay in the first place, it makes sense to try to decrease bacteria in the mouth.

Bacteria thrives in acidic environments and it feeds on sugar… even natural sugar. So cutting back on these kinds of foods will help the mouth to not be such a prime environment for bacteria to reside.

Another way to help with this would be to sip on water or herbal tea throughout the day to keep the mouth washed out and to use essential oils in your homemade toothpaste that are known to have antibacterial properties like peppermint, tea tree, and lavender to name a few. Don’t forget the xylitol either… it’s known to discourage cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to teeth!

3. Keep Teeth Clean And Plaque Free.

Since bacteria stick to teeth via plaque, it would make sense to try to keep plaque off the teeth.

The best way to do this is via brushing. It’s recommended that you and your kids brush twice a day, but after every meal is really ideal. Not only will it get the leftover food out of the mouth and get plaque off the teeth, but it will alkalize the mouth and help reduce bacteria if you’re using baking soda and antibacterial oils in your toothpaste.

Homemade toothpaste is easy to make and use. Plus, it tastes great, and it’s safe for your little ones. Try making this yummy coconut oil toothpaste or this tasty remineralizing tooth powder/paste the next time you’re looking for a healthy homemade toothpaste.

4. Supplement With Calcium And Vitamin D.

Now I’m not real big on taking a ton of supplements on a daily basis. I think we should do our best to get these “supplements” via our foods or other natural avenues, but if you can’t do this or if you can’t get enough, supplements are the next best thing.

Two things that have been shown to help prevent dental decay are calcium and vitamin d. You can get calcium via your food and vitamin d via enough sun exposure. To read more on how vitamin d helps prevent cavities, check out this article by the NaturalSociety.com.

Okay, so now I know what to do to keep my kids teeth healthy and cavity free without subjecting them to risky fluoride. Now it’s your turn. What are you going to do with this information you’re learning? You’re responsible for your children’s health. The choice is yours.  If you’ve still not come to a decision, do more research and make a decision… an informed one.

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Miss The Other Posts In This Series? Get Them Here:

  1. Piper says:

    My daughter is 18 months and we just had her first check-up. The dentist informed us that cavities are considered an infectious disease until age 4 when children really start producing their own oral flora. She suggested our daughter not share utensils etc with anyone who has cavities–perhaps grandparents etc. I never thought of cavities I that regard. We also brush with coconut oil and are thrilled with the results. Thank you for this article! So much great info!

    • Meagan says:

      You’re welcome Piper. I think what makes it an infectious disease is that the bacteria is a specific type… it’s a strep bacteria… and it can be transferred from one person to another… especially from kids sharing toothbrushes or from moms to babies. I could see that young kids wouldn’t be able to protect themselves as well since they don’t have much of their own flora yet. I guess that’s all the more reason to not share, keep their teeth cleaned, and use probiotic rich foods. I found this article on the NY Times about cavities being contagious… interesting… http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/health/29really.html?_r=0 – Thanks for your comment!

  2. Aurident says:

    Hey Meagan!
    Very informative post. It helps every parents to keep their child’s teeth healthy as they grow up. I see some children nowadays who has a bad teeth at their young age, and I assume that it is because of what they eat, like sweet stuffs such as chocolates.

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks for your comment, and yes. I’m sure there are many things that can cause a child to have dental decay from trauma to genetics (if that actually is a factor) to diet, but my guess would be that the majority of the time, diet is the key cause.

  3. jp says:

    Our dentist, who has some ‘alternative’ ideas, swears that genetics is a factor in dental health. He recommends rinsing with baking soda and water to maintain alkalinity in the mouth. He also tests saliva for bacteria levels and acidity.

    • Meagan says:

      I’m sure there’s some truth to genetics JP, but I personally don’t think that it plays the leading role in teeth health. I’d bet that nutrition plays a much bigger role. If a person does have a genetic tendency towards having “bad teeth” it’s probably one of those genetic things that can be reversed with a healthy diet. If our bodies are getting the nutrients they need, then our bones (including teeth) will be strong and healthy, and the pH in our mouths will be as it should be to decrease the risk of decay. pH is a fine balance. If you become too alkaline you can cause problems… same as if you’re too acidic. Thanks for sharing, and it’s great that you have a dentist that is open to alternative ideas!

  4. Constance says:

    Great article. I would also add that if you are going to supplement with calcium and vitamin D, that it is essential to be supplementing with magnesium as well. Both calcium and vitamin D, need magnesium in order for your body to process them, properly. While I agree with the idea of trying to get our vitamin and mineral requirements from our foods, sadly our soils are so mineral depleted we can no longer get the required amount from food alone.

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks for your comment Constance, and I agree that it’s hard to get all the minerals we need totally from foods. I definitely think that foods should be our first stop though. When it comes to calcium specifically, I’ve not found any info anywhere that says our foods are calcium deficient. Many times if you buy local vegetables at the farmers market, those farmers may tend to add nutrients and organic composts to their soil, keeping it healthy… or better yet, start your own organic garden so you know your soil is good quality. Also if you eat raw, organic dairy products, that should really help with the calcium as well. If that doesn’t work, then I agree that good quality supplements could be looked into. I haven’t done a whole lot of reading up on magnesium, but I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks!

  5. Olivia says:

    The book Cure Tooth Decay discredits the acid/bacteria hypothesis and attributes good tooth health to diet based on Weston Price’s research – some of the best foods being raw grass fed dairy, organ meats, shellfish, bone broths, cod liver oil, and butter oil, and the worst being unsprouted/unfermented whole grains which are full of and phytic acid (as well as nuts and legumes) which binds to important minerals, and of course white sugar especially.

    Mainly it is important to make sure that your intake of calcium is about equal to phosphorus. Most people eat phosphorus in an unhealthy proportion because it is so abundant in foods. Any imbalance of minerals will make your body send the wrong messages and keep from healing. Your ancestry, what your mother ate while she was pregnant and what you ate in your early years can be factors in your resistance to tooth decay.

    A miswak is a root that is used as a toothbrush and it is quite effective in cleaning teeth, a nice addition to your regular toothbrush. A gum massager is also helpful to remove plaque in between teeth in addition to floss, and a tongue scraper is nice. I mix a mouthwash with water, salt, essential oils of clove, peppermint, myrrh tincture, and Herb Pharm’s Oral Health tincture. I use a mixture of coconut oil, baking soda, peppermint EO and stevia for toothpaste.

    If you have underlying conditions I believe that can contribute to oral health problems because your body’s capacity to heal and grow strong is diminished.

    • Meagan says:

      Very well said. Yes… from my understanding of the book… if you eat properly and your body is getting the vitamins/minerals it needs, then your teeth will be healthy and will be able to resist acid and bacteria when exposed to it.

      I’ve also heard of people buying whole licorice root… as in licorice sticks, not cut up pieces… and chewing on the end so it flares out a bit and then using that to brush with. I love your mouthwash and toothpaste recipes too. Thanks for sharing. I’ve got to make an herbal mouthwash soon to try!

    • Lauren says:

      I just came across this article after switching to fluoride free toothpaste. We live in an area where the pediatrician and dentist recommend fluoride toothpaste for my kids because there isn’t fluoride added to the water here. However, after discovering fluoride is a neurotoxin- I have decided to remove it.
      My question is, do you still support this after all this time? I have heard stories of people’s teeth completely cracking from “lack of fluoride.”
      I appreciate your thoughts and help! Thanks!

      • Meagan Visser says:

        Yes, I do. There’s plenty of evidence out there that links a healthy diet (minimally processed foods and sugar with plenty of vitamin D and healthy fats) to strong, healthy teeth without the use of fluoride. Here’s an article that you may find helpful.

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  8. Christophe Carlier says:

    I appreciate you sharing this article, it has been very informative. Everyone wants healthy teeth and a nice smile so it is important to have good dental hygiene. We should teach our children how to brush their teeth multiple times a day and floss every day. We should also limit the amount of sugar we intake because it causes bacteria in the mouth. Whenever a problem arises we should consult our dentist immediately to fix the problem. Thanks again
    -Chris | http://www.drmarkstapleton.com

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  10. Rachel says:

    Hi I am new to this idea but am slowly implementing a chemical free home within our family. I’m doing some research in what to do for my kids and have already switched their toothpaste to a fluoride free one. My children’s dentist insists they need fluoride because we live on well water. After reading your article I have a better idea of how to proceed with this idea but needing a little more information on our well water issue. Does well water really cause the teeth to decay? And if so is there a filter we can use to help? Someone recently told me maybe distilling our own drinking water? Just a little more input on this would really help and would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance

    • Meagan says:

      I’m not sure why well water would cause decay unless your dentist is saying that because it doesn’t contain fluoride like city water does. Basically, well water contains water, minerals, and bacteria. It’s always a good idea to have it tested to make sure you don’t have any harmful bacteria in your water, but if you’ve been drinking it for some time and you’re healthy, it’s probably fine. Anyway, we have city water here at our house so we do use filters. We have a reverse osmosis system for our drinking and cooking water in our kitchen, and we use Rainshowr’ filters for our showers. Hope this helps, Rachel, and thanks for your comment.

      As far as needing fluoride to keep teeth strong goes or even on how to talk with your dentist about skipping it goes, check out some of my other posts on healthy teeth. They may give you some other ideas.

  11. Brianna says:

    Hi ! Could I use Himilayan salt instead of real salt ? Also, what ages are your kids ? I’m wanting to use this on my babes, ages 1 & 2. Obviously not spitting out their toothpaste yet. I would think they would be a better alternative to the ingredients found in the training toothpastes found on the shelf but was just wondering your experience.
    Thanks !

    • Meagan says:

      You can definitely use Himalayan salt instead of Real Salt. Just be sure you grind it into a powder to keep it from scratching their teeth. My kids are currently 2, 4, 6, and 8, and we’ve been using natural toothpaste since my oldest was 2 or 3 I guess. It’s been so long I actually can’t remember!

      • Gabby says:

        Hi, my youngest daughter is 9 and her permanent teeth have some white spots. We had been using toothpaste with Flouride since she was little, and I regrett that. I switched to Flouride free toothpaste and my husband is completely against it. He says it’ll be my fault if she has rotten teeth when she gets older. He says he has always used crest and his teeth are fine. It’s really hard to try to live a healthier life when you don’t have the support of your own family.

        • Meagan Visser says:

          I’ve learned that dental health is much more than what you brush your teeth with alone. It’s mainly having a healthy diet followed by good hygiene practices. Maybe if you find some high-quality sources (probably from other countries as the US is pretty pro-fluoride) about the pros and cons of fluoride in toothpaste and water and if your husband views the sources as authoritative, it may convince him to not challenge you so much in it. Also, having a plan you can share with him on how to prevent decay will be an important thing as well. If you’re gonna go the natural route with dental health, I’d highly recommend reading the Cure Tooth Decay book I mention in this post as it details a diet that promotes healthy teeth. Best of luck, and you are definitely right… it is difficult to stick to your convictions when your family doesn’t support you. I’ve had to pick my battles in a few areas. Just know, if this is an area you choose to compromise on, that’s okay. You can always reduce toxins in other ways!

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