Healthy teeth and gums not only give you a beautiful smile, but they also indicate good oral health and hygiene, which play a very important role in your life. Undermining a healthy oral routine can get you stuck with cavities, stained or yellowed teeth, and bad breath, all of which can negatively influence your general appearance and social impression.
Studies suggest that in addition to oral problems, oral bacteria and inflammation can lead to many other health problems, including heart disease, strokes, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease, diabetes, and oral cancer. Women with oral disease also show higher incidences of preterm and low-birth-weight babies.
Here are 10 ways to get strong teeth and gums.
Oil pulling, also known as oil swishing, is an age-old practice used in Ayurveda that helps strengthen the teeth, gums, and jaw while preventing tooth decay.
It helps to draw out bacteria from the mouth, keeps your gums healthy, and brightens your teeth.
According to a 2015 study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal, oil pulling using coconut oil could be an effective adjuvant procedure for decreasing plaque formation and reversing plaque-induced gingivitis.
In addition, oil pulling detoxifies and cleanses the body, which is good for your oral as well as overall health.
Illustration Showing the Complete Oil Pulling Process:
You can also do oil pulling with coconut oil.
Turmeric contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help keep the gums healthy and the teeth free from bacterial infection.
This was further corroborated by a study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, which found turmeric mouthwash to be considerably effective in controlling plaque and preventing gingivitis.
A review of studies published in Pharmacognosy Review in 2014 expounded upon the potential of guava leaves for effectively treating a case of periodontal disease.
As an excellent antiplaque, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant agent, guava leaves help maintain strong teeth and gums.
They also help keep your breath fresh and clean. Herbalists recommend using tender leaves or tender twigs of guava trees for the promotion of oral health.
Indian lilac, also known as neem, has antibacterial properties that help maintain oral health by easily destroying bacteria that lie at the root of cavities, plaque, gingivitis, and gum disease.
A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene reported that a neem-infused mouth rinse was as effective as a chlorhexidine mouth rinse when used as an adjunct to toothbrushing for reducing plaque and gingival inflammation in patients with gingivitis. However, more extensive research is called for in order to equitably establish these claims in a nonpartisan manner.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of International Oral Health enumerated the antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-collagenase benefits of green tea for improved periodontal health.
This was supported by the findings of yet another study, which reported that green tea can play a positive role in maintaining adequate oral health by reducing the incidence of dental caries through different mechanisms including enzymes activity and curbing bacterial growth.
The natural fluoride, polyphenols, and catechins in green tea can destroy the bacteria that cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. They also prevent bad breath.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine demonstrated the beneficial anti-inflammatory, antiadhesive, and antimicrobial properties of licorice, all of which help counter the onset of oral diseases such as dental caries, gingivitis, periodontitis, aphthous ulcers, and oral cancer.
Scientists attributed these health-promoting properties of licorice to two of its predominant compounds, namely, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, which help kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults.
Basil is good for oral health, too. It works as an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant. It can help destroy germs and bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for cavities, plaque, bad breath, and more.
A study found a mouthwash containing holy basil to be as effective as chlorhexidine with respect to their antiplaque action, with no statistically significant difference reported between the two.
In addition, its astringent properties help contract gum tissue, allowing for a tighter and firmer hold over the teeth.
The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in peppermint contribute to oral health by combating oral bacteria and keeping your gums and teeth in top shape for years to come.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of International Society of Backentive & Community Dentistry found that using a peppermint mouthwash can have a significant effect on the elimination of halitosis (bad breath).
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, also promotes oral health. The vitamin C and other nutrients in amla can help strengthen the gums, support connective tissue health, combat bacteria in the mouth, and prevent tooth decay and cavities. Additionally, it prevents bad breath.
Salt can also help strengthen the gums and teeth. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Moreover, a saline mouthwash works as an effective astringent to bring down gum swelling and thereby accelerate recovery from gingival tissue damage.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the inflammation or infection of the soft tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth.
Much like tooth decay, gum diseases also spring from an accumulation of bacterial plaque in the oral cavity. The sign of healthy gums is that they form a tight cuff around your teeth, allowing hardly any space for plaque bacteria to grow.
Healthy gums are vital for strong teeth. However, unchecked plaque buildup over time compounded with inadequate oral hygiene can cause the gingival tissue to become inflamed and increasingly prone to bleeding while brushing or flossing.
The gums, or gingiva, are made of soft tissue, similar to that of the skin, and cover the bones that support your teeth. A form of relatively mild gum irritation called gingivitis is perhaps the first warning sign indicating the onset of periodontal disease.
The gum damage associated with gingivitis is still quite superficial and nascent and thus can be reversed with professional treatment and proper oral home care.
If gingivitis is not treated in a timely manner, the persistent gingival inflammation causes the seal between the gums and teeth to give way and the formation of a space, or a “pocket,” between the two. These spaces in the gum margins allow further accumulation of debris and plaque, which is much harder to get rid of by your regular dose of brushing and flossing.
Moreover, this breach in the gumline grants easy entry for the bacterial infection to penetrate deeper into the gumline and ravage the supportive tissue and bone structure that anchor the teeth in place.
The plaque bacteria release toxins that, along with the infection-fighting enzymes produced by the body, trigger a chronic inflammatory response that leads to the destruction of the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone.
As the supportive base of the teeth gradually weakens and the damage becomes irreversible, the chances for tooth loss become more and more imminent.
Tooth decay refers to the gradual destruction of the structure and integrity of the tooth. The hard outer coating, or enamel, of the teeth, tends to get covered with a thin film of bacterial plaque over time.
Every time you eat anything starchy or sugary, the bacteria present in the dental plaque release an acid that adversely affects the mineral density of the enamel. Because plaque is essentially sticky in nature, the acid adheres to the enamel quite easily and continues to eat away the enamel and the layer underneath, called dentin.
This continued exposure to the corrosive acid gives way to cavities. The foundational step towards preserving your teeth is to prevent dental plaque buildup. Practicing adequate oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can help in this regard.
However, once a cavity forms, only a dentist can set the damage right.
Gum disease, tooth pain, and other oral issues are usually not assigned the importance they deserve. A cursory understanding would have you believe that neglecting oral health is likely to have little to no impact on your overall state of well-being.
However, the evidence points to the contrary, so far as suggesting that these fairly common detriments can have far-reaching psychological implications.
The health of your teeth and gums has a direct influence on how you look, speak, chew, and taste food. Moreover, oral diseases and the noticeable discomforts associated with them can take a toll on your confidence and make some people shy away from socializing with you.
So, instead of brushing off these concerns as insignificant, you might want to brush away the culprits that are causing them in the first place. Given the burgeoning costs of dental treatments, steadfastly adhering to a strict and regular oral health regimen can help you save hundreds of dollars.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy from childhood to old age. For good oral health, the first step is to maintain proper oral hygiene.
It means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once or twice a day (preferably after dinner), rinsing your mouth after each meal, and using mouthwash at least once daily.
The following factors can further precipitate the onset of developing gum disease:
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