Commercials on the television have set certain ideals for oral health. They advertise unbelievably white teeth and fresh minty breath that seem to draw everyone’s attention. And, despite knowing that we need to brush twice a day, floss, and use a mouthwash, we tend to slack off when it comes to our oral health. Before we go on to discuss ways to boost oral health, let’s look at why it’s important in the first place.
Why Is Oral Health Important?
Broadly, oral health is understood as the absence of chronic mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other oral cavity disorders.1 And, studies link oral health to other health conditions such as
- Cancer: Cancer treatments generally lead to sore and other problems in the mouth.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are believed to be at risk for gum disease, dry mouth, soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.
- Heart disease: People with heart disease may be at risk of developing an oral infection during dental procedures.
- HIV: Weak immunity causes people with HIV to develop pain or tenderness during chewing.
- Respiratory diseases: Bad oral health increases the risk of pneumonia.
Additionally, pregnant women with gum disease might give birth to premature or underweight babies. Individuals who have certain teeth missing might also limit their diets to make eating easy, making them fall short of proper nutrition. All of these parallels between oral conditions and general health point to the need for boosting oral health.2
4 Tips To Boost Oral Health
1. Eat Right
Most parents put a limit on how much candy their kids can have because they’re wary of cavities. And, they aren’t wrong. Certain foods do put you at risk of oral disorders. Few things that lead to tooth decay are
- Sugary foods and beverages: Constant exposure to sugar can lead to cavities. Additionally, hard candies might cause a broken or chipped tooth.
- Ice: Chewing on ice causes damage to the tooth enamel.
- Citrus foods: Excessive acidic foods erode the tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. If you tend to drink a lot of lemon and orange juice, occasionally switch to plain water instead.
- Caffeine: Coffee and tea might stain your teeth. Be sure to drink excess water to counter its effects.
- Sticky foods: These foods tend to settle on the surface of the tooth, giving bacteria just enough time to act on them. In order to avoid tooth decay, be sure to brush every time you eat something sticky.
- Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption causes dehydration and dry mouth. In time, this could lead to reduced salivary flow, tooth decay, and other oral infections.
Eliminating or reducing the intake of foods and beverages that cause tooth decay can help you avoid any potential oral health problems.3
2. Chew Peppermint Leaves
It can get hard to brush each time you’ve had something that’s heavy on garlic and onion. Additionally, most kinds of chewing gum are loaded with sugar, while the ones that have sugar substitutes might cause you to eat more to make up for lost calories.4
Instead, try chewing on peppermint leaves. Peppermint leaves have no sugar, so they’re good for general health.
To add to this, research indicates that chewing on these leaves effectively modulates oral homeostasis (balance of fluids and healthy PH levels in the mouth) by increasing salivary PH levels. This, in turn, prevents infections, tooth decay, and bad breath. So, whenever you can, munch on some peppermint leaves.5
3. Manage Hormonal Imbalances
Research states that hormonal imbalances might set the stage for bad oral health. Premenopausal women, especially, are at risk of developing dry mouth, altered taste, and burning sensation.
Additionally, imbalances in hormones estrogen, progesterone, and chorionic gonadotropin might lead to mobile teeth, abscesses, and tooth loss.
If you are having any of the above oral problems, do consult a professional to see if you have any hormonal imbalances. Treating these imbalances either through certain supplements or change in diet can reduce the symptoms of these oral health conditions.6
4. Rinse With Cardamom
You don’t need to invest in an expensive mouthwash to eliminate bacteria. All you need to do is rinse your mouth with a combination of water and cardamom.
Research indicates that this spice has antimicrobial properties that prevent oral infections, bad breath, and tooth decay. It also stimulates salivary flow and cleanses teeth.7
Besides these tips, ensure that you get an oral checkup once or twice a year. Do talk to your dentist about any concerns that you may have. If you are pregnant, have certain health disorders, or are going through menopause, ask a professional regarding any oral health conditions that you should be aware of.8
|↑1, ↑3||Oral Health. Government Of India.|
|↑2, ↑8||Oral health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.|
|↑4||Artificial sweeteners: sugar-free, but at what cost? Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑5||Ramesh, Gayathri, Ramesh Nagarajappa, A. S. Madhusudan, Nagarajappa Sandesh, Mehak Batra, Ashish Sharma, and Srikant Ashwin Patel. “Estimation of salivary and tongue coating pH on chewing household herbal leaves: A randomized controlled trial.” Ancient science of life 32, no. 2 (2012): 69.|
|↑6||Grover, Chander Mohan, Vanita Parshuram More, Navneet Singh, and Shekhar Grover. “Crosstalk between hormones and oral health in the mid-life of women: A comprehensive review.” Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry 4, no. Suppl 1 (2014): S5.|
|↑7||Sharma, Ratika. “Cardamom comfort.” Dental research journal 9, no. 2 (2012).|