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Posted by: Dental Design 7th December 2021
With mortality rates slowing and life expectancy rising, we are living longer.
This means more time to enjoy what life offers, however our bodies are now under more pressure; whether that’s due to getting older or various other external factors, such as diet and environment. How do people protect the body from these things?
There is an increasing awareness of what our body consumes, and the dangers of chemicals in cosmetics and health products are steering the population toward healthier alternatives. There has been a surge of interest in natural products: sales of certified organic and natural beauty and wellbeing solutions grew to £120m in 2020, an increase from £106.4m in 2019.[i] However, there are potential risks when taking the natural route.
As a dentist, you want patients to have continued good oral health throughout their life, and you can give them all the relevant information that will keep them safe, educated and healthy.
Are there benefits to natural ingredients?
With society becoming more health conscious, natural cosmetics and health products are becoming increasingly mainstream. But what constitutes as a natural ingredient? The definition of a natural ingredient is often debated, but it’s generally accepted to be a raw material derived from plants or animals, whether that be vegetable or animal derived oils, raw plant material or essential oils.
Popular natural ingredients, present in a variety of cosmetics, are noted for their abilities; algae, for example, is commended for its ability to hydrate the skin and regulate the operation of sebaceous glands. Coconut oil, a predominant universal ingredient, is lauded for its moisturising and antioxidant effects. Similarly, green tea contains multiple bioactive compounds with possible anti-aging and antioxidant effects.[ii] With certain ingredients shown to have positive health effects, it is unsurprising that many choose to spend more on products containing them, in the hopes of keeping their body looking and feeling healthier.
But can every product be trusted to deliver the promised results?
A lot of grey area…
Many people may be under the impression that natural products deliver otherworldly results, but some of the evidence out there may be misleading. Due to the lack of regulation, terms such as “natural” or “organic” lack characterisation, and can often be used interchangeably.[iii] In fact, any ‘organic’ beauty brand can claim to be so, even if the product contains only 1% of organic ingredients.[iv] Known as ‘greenwashing’, these terms are used to attract consumer attention under the façade of being organic or sustainable.[v]
Even homemade remedies could lead to dissatisfaction, due to the possibility of lacklustre results. Oil pulling has been shown to reduce the bacteria associated with tooth decay,[vi] with many claiming that it whitens teeth and freshens breath. But one study[vii] showed that although some improvement in oral hygiene was observed, benefits only occurred when it was practised correctly. The study concluded that oil pulling should only be used as an adjunct to a regular oral health routine, and not as a replacement. The importance of a regular oral hygiene routine is highlighted here, as teeth and gums need more than a swilling of oil to avoid potential issues, such as plaque build-up and gum disease.
Experience the power of nature – with no compromise
With brands scrambling to meet the demand for natural products, it’s easy for people to choose solutions that have little to no effect on health. This is potentially damaging to the parts of the body that show wear and tear sooner, such as the skin and teeth. As a dentist, it’s concerning when patients buy into these healthcare fads, without taking the time to investigate the brand or the ingredients. Patients may also, inadvertently, neglect their oral health as a result.
By offering reliable advice, as well as sources for personal research, you’re helping patients be better informed when navigating the world of natural cosmetics and health care. You could even recommend products such as ‘Perio plus’ mouthwashes, which contain chlorhexidine and CITROX® natural bioflavonoids, which are extracted from bitter oranges. Bioflavonoids are revolutionary substances found in the plant kingdom, with some being highly esteemed for their antioxidant properties.
Show patients that they can experience the best of both worlds, and maintain good oral hygiene with natural, dentist-approved ingredients.
[i] Soil Association. Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Market 2021 report. Available online. https://www.paperturn-view.com/uk/soil-association-certification/beauty-wellbeing-market-report-2021?pid=MTQ143092&p=5. Accessed 27 Aug. 21.
[iii] Journal of Cosmetology and Trichology. Natural and organic cosmetics: definition and concepts. Available online. https://www.hilarispublisher.com/open-access/natural-and-organic-cosmetics-definition-and-concepts.pdf. Accessed 27 Aug. 21.
[iv] Soil Association. Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Market 2021 report. Available online. https://www.paperturn-view.com/uk/soil-association-certification/beauty-wellbeing-market-report-2021?pid=MTQ143092&p=13. Accessed 27 Aug. 21.
[v] Journal of Cosmetology and Trichology. Natural and organic cosmetics: definition and concepts. Available online. https://www.hilarispublisher.com/open-access/natural-and-organic-cosmetics-definition-and-concepts.pdf. Accessed 27 Aug. 21.
[vi] Journal of International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry. Available online. Comparison of antibacterial efficacy of coconut oil and chlorhexidine. https://www.jispcd.org/article.asp?issn=2231-0762;year=2016;volume=6;issue=5;spage=447;epage=452;aulast=Peedikayi. Accessed 27 Aug. 21.
[vii] US National Library of Medicine. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene. Available online. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198813/. Accessed 27 Aug. 21.
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