Though you may think you know how to look after your teeth, it is always good to get a little refresher and help remind you why it’s important to brush for the full two minutes and schedule bi-yearly trips to the dentist. There are no shortcuts when it comes to oral health, and looking after your mouth and teeth now is the best way to avoid dangerous complications in the future.
You, like 200 million other Americans, may take a swig of mouthwash in the morning or evening to rinse out any disease-causing bacteria and keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean. Unfortunately, this practice is not be doing you any favors and could be harming your health. Not your dental health, but something even more concerning…your heart health. Here is the shocking link between antiseptic mouthwash and your cardiovascular system that will have you swearing off this “healthy” habit for good.
It seems logical that you wouldn’t want to put a toxic metal into your mouth, right? Well, for over 150 years, dentists everywhere have been doing precisely that. Dental amalgam, or “silver fillings” are made up of 50% mercury and a 50% combination of other metals such as silver, tin, and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium, or palladium also may be used. For years, experts have debated, and studies have seemingly contradicted each other regarding the use of this material. So what’s the truth about dental amalgam, is it actually safe? Read on to find out.
Oral health is absolutely critical since it affects every single area of your body, not just your teeth. When plaque builds up and cavities set in, you can quickly develop gum disease, infection, and other health issues that negatively impact your quality of life and force you to spend far too much time in the dentist’s chair.
If you’re anything like me, you probably get convicted about your need to floss more every time you go to the dentist for your bi-yearly cleaning and your gums start spurting out blood. It’s not that you never floss. It’s just that you don’t floss enough. After every cleaning, many of us go on a flossing kick for a few weeks and then fall back into old habits. In the morning when you’re getting ready, it seems impossible to squeeze in those few extra minutes, while before bed, you’re simply too tired to remember. If flossing isn’t second nature, you may want to consider water flossing. I did, and I’m never turning back to string floss.
You’ve most likely heard of the tongue scraping craze. Dramatic before and after pictures of people scraping off piles of nasty goop from their tongues has probably led you to do some research regarding this most recent trend. But is it really as good as they say? Here are four researched backed reasons to scrape your tongue and other good habits for a clean and healthy mouth.
You may not be able to see, feel or even taste them, but your mouth is home to countless little microorganisms. These tiny bacteria are similar to the kind that reside in your gut, and they can also be both harmful and beneficial to our health. The good, healthy bacteria, also called probiotics, not only help us to digest food, but they protect our teeth, gums, and mouth from the unhealthy, bad bacteria that can easily grow out of control. When that happens, it can lead to all sorts of problems, including gingivitis, bad breath, periodontitis, cavities and plaque buildup.
Keeping our teeth and mouth clean to control bacteria levels, is essential for oral health as well as for overall health because a bacterial overgrowth in the mouth can easily travel to other parts of the body, leading to conditions like diabetes, bacterial pneumonia, heart disease and more. Of course, many products aimed to keep our teeth and mouth clean, come with a host of unwanted substances like chemicals and toxins. Instead of turning to those, consider incorporating these healthier options into your personal care routine.
Simply swirling around coconut oil in your mouth can be the answer to whiter teeth, better breath and a body that’s toxin-free. The practice literally pulls toxins out and is especially outstanding for battling halitosis, or bad breath due to its ability to help wipe out harmful bacteria and reduce plaque in the mouth. In many cases, offensive breath is, caused by the smell of chemicals and gases produced by bacteria in the mouth. A study conducted by researchers from the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in Tamil Nadu, India, showed that oil pulling reduces Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which is a significant contributor to tooth decay, in the plaque and saliva of children.
Gingivitis, caused by inflammation of the gums, occurs when the immune system begins to attack the bacteria in the plaque. A 2009 study that compared oil pulling and chlorhexidine in adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis, found that oil pulling was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash in fighting gingivitis. When it comes to getting teeth whiter, it’s a safe, natural option that comes without the side effects of typical chemical-filled whiteners on the market. Researchers who conducted a study featured in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Hygiene noted: “Edible oil-pulling therapy is natural, safe and has no side effects. Hence, it can be considered as a preventive therapy at home to maintain oral hygiene.”
Consume More Foods Known to Naturally Fight Mouth Bacteria
In addition to oil pulling, try to add more foods that are naturally known to fight mouth bacteria and lead to a whiter smile, as well as improved overall health. Apples are just one – by taking a big bite of the fruit and chewing on it, it helps to scrub your teeth clean. This fruit has a high concentration of malic acid, something even used in some brands of toothpaste. It helps to increase saliva in the mouth, which cleans the teeth and helps to remove stains, according to a 2012 study from the University of Grenada in Spain.
Ginger offers potent anti-inflammatory properties that can support healthy mouth tissue and help prevent periodontal disease, and while garlic may temporarily give you bad breath, its antimicrobial properties actually work to fight bacteria in the mouth. Allicin, an important compound in garlic, aids in inhibiting periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages soft tissues and destroys the bone that supports the teeth. It’s also good to chew on carrots to help keep your teeth cleaner, and eating pineapple more often may even get you whiter teeth. That’s because this tropical fruit is the only one that contains an enzyme called bromelain, an anti-inflammatory agent that acts like a natural stain remover and helps to break up the plaque that builds up on your teeth.
Get Your Vitamin D
Most people are aware that calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth, but few understand the important relationship vitamin D has for oral health. If we don’t get enough in childhood, bone deformities can develop, and if we don’t get enough as an adult, it can lead to reduced bone density, osteoporosis, increased risk of bone fractures and poor oral health.
Multiple studies have associated geographical variations in dental health and tooth loss to sun exposure. Those who live in the sunnier western region of the U.S. have been found to have half as many cavities as those in the much less sunny northeast. According to the Vitamin D Council: “Use of vitamin D appears to be a better option for reducing dental caries than fluoridation of community water supplies, as there are many additional health benefits of vitamin D and a number of adverse effects of water fluoridation such as fluorosis (mottling) of teeth and bones.”
Use a Natural Mouthwash
Rinsing out your mouth with a mouthwash is considered to be important for good oral hygiene, but store-bought chemical mouthwash is loaded potentially harmful ingredients like thymol, which is known to be dangerous to the environment as well as to aquatic organisms, and hexetidine, considered to be carcinogenic.
Instead, consider using turmeric as part of a healthier, natural cleansing solution for the mouth. Studies have shown that it can be even more effective than those chemical mouthwashes. A study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology showed that turmeric extract was at least as effective as chlorhexidene mouthwash for improving oral health as the curcumin in turmeric acts to disrupt the cycle of dental plaque formation. It may even reverse precancerous changes in oral submucous fibrosis in humans and even kill oral cancer cells.
To make it, dissolve 10 milligrams of turmeric extract in about a half-cup of water. A drop or two of peppermint oil can be added for flavoring. That’s all you need to create your own mouthwash for treating inflamed gums and even relieving a toothache. Afterwards, to preventing yellowing of the teeth, brush with a mix of baking soda and water (just enough water to make a paste).
Drink Green Tea
Green tea offers many health benefits, including supporting your heart and aiding weight loss. Studies have also found that consuming green tea regularly may help promote healthier teeth and gums, and reduce periodontal disease, thanks to its high levels of an antioxidant known as catechin. This compound has been found to help lower inflammation and reduce the indicators of periodontal disease, resulting in fewer bad bacteria in the mouth.