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Winning Smiles with Herbs

Sep 30, 2019 10:32AM ● By Kathleen Gould and Madalyn Johnson

Researching natural dental care always seems to bring us around to Dr. Weston A. Price, a famous dentist who studied indigenous people all over the world and discovered that those who were still eating traditional diets had virtually no dental problems, but when those same tribes were introduced to the Western diet, disease, including oral disease, followed.

Because we are here to share information on herbal tooth care, we will not go into diet, as there are many articles and books on the subject for readers to consider. Having said that, diet is paramount in both overall body health as well as tooth, gum and mouth health, and as always, we suggest eating healthy, mostly plant-based foods, and eliminating or severely cutting out sugar to keep teeth strong and healthy.

Now on to the medicinal plants.

The enamel of our teeth is made up of things like copper, cobalt, aluminum, lead, iodine, selenium, manganese and nickel. These make up the hard shell and are very similar to the makeup of bones in the body.

Years ago, while studying with herbalist Susun Weed, she made the comment that 1 cup of strong high-quality herbal infusion (tea) has about 300 milligrams (mg) of all the calcium, magnesium and other bone-building minerals, and because these herbs are “foods,” those minerals are easy for the body to assimilate.

Traditional dosage of herbal teas for health and prevention is 1 cup of tea three to four times a day—roughly 1 quart. So, if you drink a quart of tea each day, you would get approximately 1,200 mg of easy-to-assimilate high-quality minerals for tooth and bone health.

So, let’s look at a few herbs that you can use alone or mix together to get all those amazing minerals.

One of our very favorites is nettle leaf, which is used both as a food and medicine by folks all over the world. Nettle boasts about 428 mg of calcium per cup, which is four times the amount of calcium as kale, according to registered herbalist K.P. Khalsa. Nettle is rich in iron and vitamin C, so is therefore very useful for anemia and fatigue.

Oat straw. A cup of oat straw infusion contains more than 300 mg of calcium, plus generous amounts of many other minerals. In addition, it is nourishing to the nervous system and helps calm emotions. Oat straw is exceptionally good at nourishing heart health and moderating cholesterol.

Other amazing mineral-rich herbs include lemon balm, red clover, alfalfa and horsetail.

To make a mineral-rich infusion do the following:
  • Put 1 oz of your chosen herb or herb blend in a quart-sized mason jar and fill with boiling water.
  • Stir herbs in, so all plant material is covered and wet.
  • Put lid on Mason jar and leave overnight to steep.
  • In the morning, strain and drink throughout the day.


Commercial toothpaste can be toxic. Fluoride is not the only ingredient to avoid. Many commercial toothpastes include saccharine or aspartame, artificial dyes, sodium lauryl sulfate, and/or triclosan.

The great news is that you can make your own toothpowder inexpensively and easily right in your own kitchen. Most toothpowders are made with baking soda and high-quality mineral-rich sea salt as their base. You can add goldenseal powder, myrrh gum powder (this herb is also slightly astringent to tighten gums) and Echinacea powder for their antimicrobial properties, and then perhaps a few drops of essential oil for taste. Some favorite essential oils are peppermint, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, lemon, orange or rosemary. Experiment with these alone or combine them to find the flavor you really like.

And mouthwash? Who doesn’t love the minty, tingly feeling your mouth has after using a mouthwash? But these, too, can have ingredients we don’t necessarily desire for good health. We like to make our own using simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen or garden. Try this:

  • Gather one large sprig of rosemary and put it in a pot of boiling water (a cup or two).
  • Place a lid on top, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool, always with the lid so as not to lose those volatile oils from the rosemary.
  • When cooled, remove the rosemary sprig and pour into a glass jar, almost full.
  • Add an essential oil of your choice (peppermint, tea tree, lemon, cinnamon, thyme, clove or eucalyptus) and about ½ tsp of vitamin C powder (be sure to use a good natural vitamin C).
  • Put lid on and shake vigorously.
  • Now you are ready to use this as you would a commercial mouthwash.

 Why do we use rosemary as our base for this mouthwash? It has been used for centuries, thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, not to mention its pain-relieving abilities. Along with one or two of the aforementioned essential oils, you can see how this mouthwash could be a big factor in keeping your mouth healthy … and kissable.

Being mindful of what we put on our body and in our mouth are two of the reasons we turn to herbs. Affordable, available, delicious and powerful, herbs are our number one choice for our oral health. 

Madalyn Johnson (le) and Kathleen Gould (right)

Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call 480-694-9931 or visit or