Detox Your Smile - Oral Health Tips for Wellness
Dental and oral health is much more important than you might assume. They plays a crucial role in your overall health. Therefore, taking appropriate care of your teeth is essential to your well-being. This requires a lifetime practice of proper oral hygiene habits that will avoid expensive dental procedures and long-term health problems in the future.
Of course, dental health will also have an impact on your self-esteem and comfort. Who doesn’t want whiter teeth, fresher breath, and no worries about cavities or gum issues?
How is oral health linked to your overall health?
There are around six million bacteria living in your mouth! Yet, do not worry, as in various parts of the body, it is normal to have the presence of several bacteria in your oral cavity, most of these being harmless.
However, considering that your mouth is the entry point to the digestive and respiratory tracts, certain bacteria can cause diseases in your body without proper oral health hygiene.
Thus, good oral health care, such as regular brushing and flossing, aligned with the body’s natural defenses will keep these bacteria from reaching levels that can originate illnesses.
- Heart disease. Research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke may be associated with the inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria.
- Premature birth and low birth weight. Studies indicate that periodontitis is associated with premature birth and low birth weight.
- Respiratory diseases. Some bacteria in your mouth can spread into your lungs, leading to pneumonia and other respiratory disorders.
- Endocarditis. Bacteria can also spread from your mouth to your bloodstream, leading to infective endocarditis, a life-threatening infection of your heart valves. This is why your dentist might suggest ingesting antibiotics as a precautionary measure before performing a dental procedure that can interfere with the bacteria in your mouth.
On the other hand, some conditions can affect your oral and dental health:
- Diabetes. Research suggests that oral diseases, gum disease, and periodontitis are more common and severe among people with diabetes since this disease reduces the body's resistance to infection. It also suggests that it is more difficult to control blood sugar levels for people affected by gum disease. People with diabetes should control their blood sugar levels, visit their dentists regularly and maintain daily oral health care habits to preserve their oral health.
- HIV/AIDS. Studies show that oral disorders are frequent for those who have HIV/AIDS. Like diabetes, this disease can also lower the body's resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe and frequent.
- Osteoporosis. Periodontal bone and tooth loss are both associated with this disease. Furthermore, particular medicaments used to cure osteoporosis have a slight risk of damaging jaw bones.
- Alzheimer's disease. The deterioration of oral health can happen as this disorder progresses.
Also, certain medications can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth.
Examples are painkillers, diuretics, decongestants, antihistamines, or antidepressants. This is important because saliva helps to clean your mouth and neutralizes acids, protecting you from bacteria that can lead to disease.
How can you protect and improve your oral health?
We have already seen that maintaining proper oral hygiene habits is crucial to your oral health. But what are these powerful habits?
- Brush your teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily.
- Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. The best choices are soft-bristled and electronic since both allow a gentle cleansing of your teeth without inflicting hard scrubbing and potential long-term damage, such as receding gums and enamel loss.
- Remember to clean your tongue. Like your teeth and gums, your tongue can accumulate bacteria and plaque if not cleaned properly. This may result in bad breath and other oral health problems. Brush your tongue gently whenever you brush your teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush. This replacement should occur every three to four months, or earlier if bristles are splayed or worn.
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride fights the germs that can result in tooth decay and offers a protective barrier for your teeth.
- Floss daily. Flossing is crucial in preventing oral diseases, keeping your gums healthy, and avoiding the formation of cavities. It would be best to floss at least once a day before bedtime or after each meal.
- Use mouthwash. Mouthwash eliminates food particles that were not removed by brushing and flossing. It decreases the quantity of acid in the mouth, cleanses areas that are hard to brush in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth, constituting an additional defense from the bacteria in your mouth. At the end of this article, we’ll teach you how to do a fantastic DIY mouthwash since conventional ones can harm your oral and dental health.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes many fruits and vegetables. Crunchier vegetables and fruits – like apples and carrots – help stimulate your gums.
- Decrease sugar intake. Limit sugary drinks and foods such as soda, desserts, and condiments, which can raise your risk of developing cavities.
- Avoid tobacco use. Tobacco leads to severe health problems, such as mouth and lung cancer. Smokers are also more likely to have tooth discoloration, bad mouth odor, infected gums, damaged teeth, and reduced success rate of dental implant techniques.
- Limit your coffee intake. Coffee and other dark-colored drinks, such as red wine, can cause yellowish stains on your teeth. If you don’t want to decrease your coffee intake, try to drink it with a draw, which allows minimal beverage exposure to your teeth.
- Drink more water. Water is the best beverage for your overall health; oral health is no exception. Try to drink water after every meal to diminish some of the adverse outcomes of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year. You should schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings, considering that preventive care can help to prevent, identify and treat minor problems before they become significant.
- Ulcers, sores, or tender areas in the mouth that won’t heal after two weeks.
- Bleeding or swollen gums after brushing or flossing.
- Constant bad breath.
- Sudden sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
- Toothache or pain with chewing or biting.
- Loose, cracked, or broken teeth.
- Receding gums.
- Swelling of the face and cheek.
- Clicking of the jaw.
- Persistent dry mouth.
Now that you've learned how to take good care of your oral hygiene, you must know some specificities of the oral health of men, women, and children.
What you need to know about your child’s oral health
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children visit a dentist by their first birthday. Children are more vulnerable to developing dental cavities and tooth decay, particularly those who bottle feed. This is because cavities can be originated from sugar left on the teeth after bottle feeding.
To prevent these, you should:
- Bottle feed only during mealtimes. If you must give them at bedtime, fill the bottle with water.
- Brush their teeth when they start growing with a soft baby toothbrush and only use water until they learn not to swallow the toothpaste.
- Visit a pediatric dentist regularly.
What men need to know about oral health
Men should recognize the importance of good oral health care and take action. Men generally take less care of their teeth and gums than women, being less likely to brush and floss regularly and seek preventive dental care.
Oral and throat cancer is more frequent in men, and research shows that men with healthy gums are 14% less likely to develop other types of cancer.
Women are exposed to an augmented risk of various oral health problems due to the shifting hormones at several phases of their lives.
- During pregnancy, increased hormones may alter the quantity of saliva in the woman's mouth. Also, frequent vomiting might result in tooth decay. Pregnant women can receive dental care, but the dentist should know about their pregnancy.
- During menstruation, women can experience mouth sores or swollen gums.
- During menopause, smaller amounts of estrogen can raise the risk of gum disease. Some women may also develop burning mouth syndrome (BMS).
Homemade Oral Health Recipes
Are you interested in some ideas to create a naturally healthy mouth and smile? Then have a look at these great suggestions. Let’s take a look at just how easy it is.
Oil pulling removes bacteria and stimulates saliva production, among other benefits. It is as simple as swishing a tablespoon of oil through your teeth for up to 20 minutes (start at 5 or 10 minutes and gradually increase the time) until it turns into a milky and thin liquid. When you are finished swishing, make sure you spit the oil into the trash. Please do not put it down your sink since it could cause clogs over time. Don't swallow it, as it is filled with toxins, bacteria, and debris from your mouth.
Some good options are olive oil, coconut oil, or premade ayurvedic mouth oils.
When buying premade oils, always be concerned about the quality of the oils used: food-grade, cold-pressed, and organic oils are of the highest quality. Be aware that when oils are combined with various herbal active ingredients, they may contain toxins that are way above acceptable levels (e.g., arsenic and heavy metals).
For an easy tutorial that shows precisely how oil pulling should work, click here. This short video gives you all the information needed to start oil pulling. Give it a try and see if you like the results.
Keep in mind that although some studies reach positive conclusions about oil pulling, such as the prevention of cavities and reduced severity of gingivitis, the American Dental Association (ADA) does not consider this technique a substitute for brushing and flossing.
To create a simple natural tooth powder, you will need to gather up some basic ingredients: baking soda, stevia or xylitol, peppermint, and ground cinnamon or cloves. Each element performs a different function. Clearly, baking soda cleans and detoxifies the mouth. Stevia or xylitol are sweet and improve the taste. Peppermint is antibacterial and leaves your mouth feeling fresh. Ground cinnamon and cloves will sanitize much like other ingredients, but in addition, they will help with issues of sensitivity and reactions to hot and cold.
Combine four rounded tablespoons of baking soda, 1/2 of a teaspoon of ground cloves, and one teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a glass container with a lid to seal it closed. Add the xylitol or stevia until the desired level of sweetness is reached. Feel free to adjust the amount of cinnamon and cloves to make the power more palatable. You may use peppermint essential oil or a little natural cocoa powder to change the flavor.
Allow ½ a cup of coconut oil to soften or melt; make sure it doesn’t get too hot. Add three tablespoons of baking soda and about 15 drops of peppermint essential oil. Add enough stevia to sweeten the toothpaste; if you use packets, add only one at a time, mix and then perform a taste test. Additional ingredients can be added and are helpful in detoxing teeth, and improving gum and tooth health, like ground clove and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly, then let it cool to a solid state. Just scoop a little onto your toothbrush and clean your teeth. If the mixture gets hot, the ingredients may separate, mix it up and then get it someplace cool. A fridge or even a cooler would work to make it solid again.
Having fresh breath usually means a healthier mouth! However, conventional mouthwash is not as helpful as it’s supposed to be. It often contains ingredients we don't want, like alcohol and questionable ingredients called acidic stabilizing agents that can make it too acidic for mouth health, plus lots of artificial food dyes.
Thus, commercial mouthwash may destroy the bacterial balance in your mouth, dry out the skin, cause imbalances in pH levels, exacerbate lousy breath, cause mouth ulcers, increase your risk for oral cancer, and contribute to the development of gingivitis.
Use 1 cup of either filtered or distilled water; combine with one slightly rounded tablespoon of baking soda and optionally a few drops of essential oils for the benefits they provide. Add some stevia to the mix if you want something a little sweeter. Stevia is safe for your teeth as it doesn’t mess up the acidity levels in your mouth that contribute to cavity formation.
The Bottom Line
Having read this far means you are genuinely concerned about your oral health. Dental and oral diseases are widespread. According to the World Health Organization, almost 100 percent of adults have at least one dental cavity.
However, no need to worry. You can adopt many habits to maintain healthy teeth and avoid these diseases. By adopting them, you’ll feel improvements in your dental and oral health and overall health and well-being.