Research continues to link oral health to overall health, yet most people take it for granted and put it on the back burner.In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) projects that at least 60% to 90% of school children and almost 100% of adults worldwide have tooth cavities.
With stats like that, it’s no wonder over 30% of people aged 65 and over no longer have their natural teeth. We tend to think of our teeth as a trivial thing that is adequately taken care of by simple brushing.
However, that is not the case. Proper oral health involves more than brushing and occasionally rinsing with the leading mouthwash. To truly benefit from a healthy mouth, you need to nourish it from the inside out.
Here are 4 little known ways to naturally improve oral health.
1. Limit Sugary and Acidic Food
We’ve long heard that sugar decays teeth, but do you know why or how? It’s not simply its sugar content, but the fact that it is highly acidic.
In most health facilities, physicians deal with the consequences of unhealthy eating on a daily basis. From obesity to type 2 diabetes, sugar and sugary foods contribute to a whole host of health problems.
Acidic foods increase tooth sensitivity by demineralizing the calcium content of your teeth, leading to thinner enamel. As your enamel wears out, your dentine is exposed, which leads to increased tooth sensitivity.
Some of the worst offenders in this category include carbonated beverages. Their pH ranges between 2 and 3, which is highly acidic. Not all acidic foods are obvious though. Take low fat yogurt for example. Just one cup can contain over 30 grams of sugar, making it very acidic.
What should you eat instead?
According to the American Dental Association, foods rich in fiber are powerful detergents for your mouth. They also increase the flow of saliva, providing one of the best defense mechanisms against cavities and gum diseases. Saliva has a protective effect, helping reduce the effects of enzymes and acids attacking your teeth.
Foods rich in calcium and phosphate are helpful for restoring the mineral content of teeth following damage by acidic foods. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.
Because bacteria can worsen oral cavity infections, drinking green or black tea can be helpful. Black and green tea contain polyphenols that interact with the bacteria in plaque by either suppressing or killing them.
Sugarless chewing gums can help you produce more saliva to remove corrosive particles from your oral cavity and maintain the strength of your teeth. Just be sure to avoid dangerous artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
2. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a well known ancient Ayurvedic technique for managing dental diseases.
It involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, preferably on an empty stomach for a duration of 15-20 minutes.
The act of oil pulling draws out toxins within your mouth, which is its primary mechanism for use in improving oral health. Ideally, oil pulling works by detoxifying the oral cavity in a manner reminiscent of how soap cleans dirty dishes by literally sucking out toxic materials from your mouth. This helps create an antiseptic environment that prevents the development of dental disease.
In Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling has been used as an effective natural remedy for:
- Tooth decay
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Whitening teeth
It prevents cavities and strengthens gums and jaws as well.
Many researchers also believe that oil pulling reduces a bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans, which is the most common causative agent for tooth decay in children.
In plaque-induced gingivitis, it is also noted that oil pulling reduces the number of aerobic microorganisms that lead to these complications.
The most common ingredient for oil pulling is coconut oil. This oil balances hormones, kills candida, reduces cellulite, improves digestion and moisturizes the skin. Extra virgin olive oil is another great option.
Some health enthusiasts like to infuse their oil with certain herbs that are known to improve oral health. If you’re looking for an effective, convenient way to get the most out of your oil pulling sessions, try our Fresh Organic Herbal Infused Oil Pull.
It is made with organic coconut oil and infused with herbs that naturally support health teeth and gums, including fennel, clove, lemon, peppermint and more.
3. Brush Your Tongue
Most of us are focused on our teeth when we brush, but it’s actually your tongue that holds the bulk of bacteria in your mouth.
Although your tongue is not at risk of developing cavities, it still plays a major role in whether or not you develop cavities due to it being the target for most organisms in the oral cavity.
Bacteria normally accumulate between and within the taste buds. In most cases, rinsing your mouth alone doesn’t help much, and getting rid of bacterial plaque isn’t as easy as you may think.
Gentle rinsing only neutralizes and eliminates bacteria on the surface. However, the deeply seated microorganisms still thrive and increase their proliferation. Brushing your tongue can help remove bacteria that can cause oral infection.
Brushing your tongue involves three basic steps:
- Brush your tongue back and forth
- Brush your tongue side to side
- Rinse with water
4. Remineralize Your Teeth
Nutrition is the foundation of nearly all teeth problems. We’ve already discussed a few foods to avoid and enjoy to take care of your teeth, but supplementation can take your oral health a step further.
Targeted foods and supplements can even help remineralize your teeth at the first sign of a cavity. Remineralization describes the process of restoring depleted minerals within the teeth.
If your teeth maintain the right amount of minerals, they stay healthy and strong, resistant to decay. However, it’s easy to lose mineral content by eating foods that are harsh on the teeth such as acidic foods and drinks.
You can also lose the ever important calcium due to underlying metabolic disorders that demineralize calcium from bones and teeth.
Some of the top supplements that help remineralize teeth include:
Calcium is often associated with bone strength, being the primary building block of bones and teeth. However, absorbing calcium effectively can be tricky, so it’s important to also address that as well.
It’s best to supplement calcium alongside Vitamin D3, which aids in calcium absorption. You can take about 1000 milligrams of calcium per day to remineralize your teeth.
Surprising to many, vitamin D acts as a hormone. For this reason, receptors for vitamin D are found in almost every part of the body.
The primary role of this fat-soluble vitamin is calcium absorption. By balancing the calcium content of the body, vitamin D effectively helps repair bones and teeth.
The major problem is that almost half of the population suffers from vitamin D deficiency. This is because many countries get less sunshine, some people prefer staying indoors and the prevalent use of sunscreens.
People also consume a lot of phytic acids, which significantly interrupt the metabolism of vitamin D. Foods rich in phytic acids include almonds, grains, soybeans, lentils, hazelnuts and sesame seeds.
About 1000 international units of vitamin D per day is recommended for tooth remineralization.
It is standard procedure to take vitamin D with vitamin K. These two vitamins work synergistically to improve the absorption and distribution of calcium.
While vitamin D helps in absorption, vitamin K signals the transportation of calcium throughout the body. Additionally, vitamin K activates the protein osteocalcin, which repairs and stimulates the growth of the tooth matrix known as dentin. Osteocalcin also helps remineralize teeth by working with the matrix GLA protein.
Overall, increasing the mineral content of your teeth is the surest strategy to manage cavities, especially in the early stages of cavity development.
Although most of us overlook this area of our health, it plays a key role in the health of our overall body. For this reason, we should be as proactive as possible in taking care of our teeth.