Most people hate going to the dentist. Well more than most, just about everyone really. So a lot of people put it off and put it off and put it off, and eventually end up feeling too embarrassed to go because of years of neglecting their teeth and gums.
The danger, of course, is that poor oral hygiene can eventually lead to periodontal disease or inflammation of the gingival or periodontium – all very scary sounding things that you definitely don’t want.
In fact, periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, or could be a sign of something another health condition, like a vitamin deficiency, anemia, or diabetes.
There are many factors which can cause inflammation and oral disease, including:
o food stuck in your teeth and gums
o unreplaced missing teeth
o toothbrush trauma (brushing too vigorously)
o mouth breathing
o soda and sugar intake
But not to fear, here are some nutritional tips to help improve your oral health and make your trips to the dentist a little bit easier and a lot less embarrassing.
7 Natural Tips For Good Oral Hygiene
1. Avoid Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
Sugar increases plaque formation, and simple sugars breakdown and weaken your immune system, allowing oral diseases to flourish.
2. Increase Your Vitamin C
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Having a vitamin C deficiency has been linked to defective formation and maintenance of collagen, which is important to keeping your gums and teeth healthy. Plus vitamin C may even help fight plaque and prevent cavities.
3. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D
Having low levels of vitamin D is linked to gingivitis. Studies have shown that people with high levels of vitamin D are 30% less likely to have gingivitis.
A study has also shown that aggressive periodontal disease tends to be associated with vitamin D receptor abnormalities. For good oral health, make sure that you don’t have a vitamin D deficiency.
4. Take a Good Multivitamin
In particular, you want to be taking one with vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, copper and selenium.
Vitamin A is important for collagen production, wound healing, and maintaining the integrity of mucosa and its secretions.
Zinc has various functions including stabilizing membranes, forming collagen, antioxidant activity, fighting plaque, and improving wound healing time.
Vitamin E and selenium work together to fight free radicals and deter periodontal disease. Vitamin E is especially important for people with mercury fillings because mercury depletes tissue levels of specific antioxidants.
5. Eat More Dietary Fiber
A study has shown that high levels of dietary fiber may be linked to more saliva, which protects against plaque build up and oral disease.
6. Try Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a Traditional Indian Folk remedy, which has been shown in studies to be equally as effective as chlorhexidine (an oral antiseptic agent) in reducing halitosis, and decreasing plaque and harmful bacteria.
Oil pulling is a technique that involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes a day and then spitting it out. Traditionally, sesame seed has been used, but coconut oil is a fantastic alternative due to its antimicrobial properties. Do this before brushing and flossing for a powerful oral hygiene routine.
7. Brush and Floss Twice a Day
The more you can focus on prevention, the better your oral hygiene will be. Brushing and flossing helps to reduce plaque build up and loosens food particles, which contribute to tooth decay.
And then once you’ve followed all these tips, you should still try to visit your dentist and dental hygienist at least once a year for checkups to see how you are doing with your oral hygiene. With any luck, you’ll be cavity and oral disease free!
Pizzorno J, Murray, M. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th Ed. Churchill Livingstone. 2012.
Feldman D, Pike W, Adams. Vitamin D and Oral Health. Vitamin D, 3rd Edition. Elsevier, 2011.
Moynihan P, Petersen PE. Diet, Nutrition and the prevention of dental diseases. Public Health Nutr . 2004; 7 (1A); 201-26.
Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res. 2009; 20 (1); 47-5
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