It’s Time to Take the Fear Out of Dental Care!
By Guest Author, Kate Harveston
Maybe it’s a function of our heritage, maybe it’s spurred by phobias, but many Americans put off the annual trip to the dentist for various reasons. However, doing so could be hazardous not only to their future ability to chew, but also their overall health in general. Why is there so much ignorance surrounding good oral health?
Regardless of the cause, conscientious folks wanting to protect their health benefit from taking better care of their teeth. Fortunately, doing so doesn’t need to cost a ton of money nor consume your time. Making certain behavioral changes can go a long way toward protecting oral health. Of course, seeing a licensed dental professional on a regular basis is recommended, too. Here are eight natural ways to do so.
1. Floss — It’s Not Just for the Dentist Office
Many people edge away from flossing their teeth even though oral care professionals indicate doing so on the daily to stave off the risk of certain gum diseases. Try to stay out of the “no floss” club. Doing so, or rather, not doing so, can lead to health complications.
Those who are floss-phobic benefit from paying a dollar or two more for flat-style floss that doesn’t cut sensitive gums. Although, tender gums can indicate an underlying disease, so pay attention. Wrap the floss around two fingers and use a new bit of string for in between each tooth. While flossing, curve the floss in a C shape around the tooth to remove trapped food particles and debris. Those who don’t floss regularly can find the process rather stinky — decaying food smells terrible — but the odor decreases with daily practice.
2. Chew Sugarless Gum If You Can Stomach It
Everyone over 30 likely remembers the old ad about four out of five dentists recommending sugarless gum for their patients who chew it. But the old Trident execs had a point — chewing gum sweetened with xylitol can protect teeth.
Mouth bacteria can break down sugar into a usable form, but not so with xylitol. However, the substance can cause gastrointestinal distress in those sensitive to it, including symptoms like bloating and gas. But those unaffected by this problem can chew away to protect their teeth.
3. Invest in a Reusable Straw
Drinking most of the good stuff — coffee, red wine, etc. — can leave unsightly stains on teeth. While brushing after consuming such substances is recommended to reduce staining, it’s not always practical — who wants to interrupt their morning crunch time work jam to polish their pearlies?
However, drinking through a reusable straw can reduce tooth stains, and investing in a reusable one hugs both teeth and the planet at the same time.
4. Yes, You Really Should See Your Dentist Regularly
Yes, going to the dentist is essential for overall health. Periodontal disease contributes to many other serious health conditions as weakened gums allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Researchers link the presence of Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria which causes tooth decay, with increased risk of acute stroke.
5. Give Oil Pulling a Go
Oil pulling sounds foreign to many in the west, but eastern medical practitioners have used the technique for ages to naturally whiten teeth and reduce the risk of cavities. To perform oil pulling, all that is needed is a tablespoon of olive, coconut or sesame oil. Swish this around in the mouth without swallowing for 15-20 minutes, and then spit it into a rubbish bin — spitting it in the sink may clog pipes. The process is thought to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
6. Cranberry Juice Isn’t Only for Bladder Infections
Women who suffer frequent bladder infections often turn to cranberry juice for relief as the substance is thought to keep bacteria from sticking to bladder and urethra walls. While science has yet to confirm this definitively, researchers have discovered that cranberry juice keeps harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth.
Scientists have yet to discover the exact substance in cranberry juice that causes this effect, but drinking juice of this berry forms a protective coating preventing decay.
7. Spice Up Your Life
Not well-known in the western world, a Chinese herb called Galla Chinensis may prevent tooth decay and cavities. The herb also has substantial health benefits such as antimicrobial and anti-diarrheal properties. Supplementing with this herb may protect oral health.
8. Choose Toothpaste with Tea Tree Oil
Herbalists have long praised tea tree oil for treatment of various health issues, and using a toothpaste containing the substance may protect oral health, too. The herb treats inflammation and can reduce the pain from swollen, infected gums. Because the oil also contains anti-bacterial properties, it may prevent decay as well.
Healthy Smiles All Lifetime Long
Your smile shows the world your unique personality, and taking care of your teeth simply benefits your health. Start taking natural steps today to protect your oral health and enjoy a healthy smile for life!