Healthy and strong teeth and gums are an indication of good oral hygiene and overall health of your body. Following oral hygiene practices prevents bad breath, dental cavities, and discoloration of teeth. The mouth is one of the most important parts of the body. Just like other parts, it requires proper care and also specific nutrients and vitamins. Brushing and flossing can prevent bacterial growth but a healthy and balanced diet is equally important for keeping teeth and gums healthy.
A growing body of research indicates that there is a link between heart disease and the health of the gums. A study conducted in 2016 by Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden indicates that gum disease may increase the risk of a first heart attack by as much as 28%. Inflammation caused by gum disease may be responsible for this connection. It should be noted that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the world. Gum disease is also associated with other conditions such as oral cancer, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and kidney disease.
Gum disease and oral problems can also affect you in other ways. They influence your personality and confidence. People with oral problems do not feel comfortable and may shy away from socializing. They can lead to low self-esteem and other psychological issues. Dental treatments are by no means cheap and this can have a direct impact on your finances. Regular treatments at the dental clinic can add up and impact your monetary resources.
Fortunately, it is very easy to prevent dental problems. Following simple oral hygiene practices can prevent bacterial build-up and maintain strong teeth and gums. Brushing at least twice daily, flossing every day and using a mouthwash are all it takes to maintain good oral health. There are also others things you can do to maintain strong teeth and gums.
Here are 10 ways to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy:
1. Oil pulling: Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional folk remedy where oil is swished in the mouth. Oil pulling is believed to be beneficial in preventing oral and systemic problems. It also whitens the teeth. Oil forms a layer on the teeth surface, which prevents bacterial plaque from sticking and causing problems. Oil pulling increases saliva secretion which traps and washes away debris and bacteria. Further, oil pulling also removes food particles and bacteria by dislodging them. Oil pulling also moisturizes the gums and prevents dry mouth. Dry mouth is known to increase bacterial growth leading to dental and gum problems.
Any edible oil can be used for oil pulling. Traditionally, sesame oil was used but coconut oil or sun flower can also be used. Doing oil pulling is very easy. Take 2 teaspoons of edible oil and swish it for 15 to 20 minutes. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm water. You can also rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
2. Use turmeric and garlic paste: Turmeric and garlic contain antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents. These spices are prescribed in traditional medicine for the treatment of a number of diseases. Turmeric and garlic help in keeping the teeth and gums strong and healthy by preventing bacterial growth. The health benefits of turmeric have been proven through clinical studies. A study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology found turmeric to be effective in controlling plaque. By preventing formation of plaque, turmeric can prevent other conditions such as gingivitis and help in maintaining good oral health.
Take a pinch of turmeric and a few cloves of garlic and crush them together to make a paste. Apply the paste to your teeth and massage with your finger. Alternatively, you can also apply this paste to your toothbrush and brush your teeth with it. For best results, you should brush your teeth with it for a few times a week.
You can also try adding a pinch of salt and mustard oil to the paste. Mustard oil also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Adding salt and mustard oil to the paste will increase its efficacy and make it even more effective against bacteria.
Turmeric powder can also be used as a mouthwash. Boil one teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 cup of water. Let it cool and swish your mouth with it once or twice every day. You can also use raw turmeric if it is available.
3. Use neem-based products: Neem, also known as Indian lilac, has many health benefits. Neem has been traditionally used in India for brushing teeth. The leaves, twigs and seeds of the Indian lilac tree have strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of neem in preventing dental problems. Studies have found that neem is beneficial in preventing and healing gum disease and dental cavities. It is also effective against plaque formation and increases the immunity of the mouth in general.
A number of neem-based dental products are available in the market today. These include toothpastes, floss and mouthwashes. If you have gum problems, you should look for products containing extracts from the bark of the tree. This is because the bark contains more beneficial biochemicals than the leaves. However, most products only use extracts from the leaves. This is because the bark contains brown colored pigments and using the bark makes the product look aesthetically unappealing. If you’re not able to find products containing the bark, you can also buy bark powder directly and use it to brush your teeth or to make a mouthwash.
There are number of ways to use neem. You can use any part of the tree. Take two or three neem leaves and grind them into a paste. Apply this paste to your toothbrush and brush your teeth with it. Alternatively, you can also apply the juice of the leaves or twigs directly to your teeth or gums, let it sit for five minutes and then rinse off with warm water. You can even chew the tip of a twig from the tree until it becomes soft and more or less like a toothbrush and brush your teeth with it.
You can also make a mouthwash with the bark of the neem tree. Just add a few teaspoons of crushed bark to a cup of water and boil it for five minutes. Let it cool and use it as a mouthwash. Note that neem is very bitter and you should avoid swallowing it.
4. Drink more tea: Researchers claim that drinking at least 3 cups of tea daily can reduce the risk of decay and prevent gum disease. Studies indicate that tea prevents the growth of two types of bacteria – Streptococcus mutans and lactobacillus – both of which are associated with tooth decay and gum disease. Green tea has also been found to be equally effective. Green tea also prevents bad breath as it neutralizes sulfur compounds that are responsible for the condition.
A study conducted at the Tohoku University of Graduate School of Medicine found that men, aged between 40 to 64, who consumed at least one cup of green tea daily were 19% more likely to still have over 20 teeth compared to those who didn’t drink green tea. Women who consumed at least one cup of green tea daily were 13% more likely to still have over 20 teeth compared to those who didn’t drink green tea.
Tea contains natural fluoride, polyphenols and catechins. All of these biochemicals have the potential to kill bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. Tea also reduces the acidity in the mouth which is another reason for dental problems. What’s more, green tea has also been found to lower the risk of oral cancer. Not only just oral health, tea is beneficial for the whole body.
5. Use basil: Basil has many health benefits. It is also beneficial for oral health. It acts as a mouth freshener and disinfectant. It prevents the growth of bacteria in the mouth and reduces the risk of dental cavities, bad breath and other oral problems. Basil also whitens teeth naturally.
You can make homemade basil tooth powder easily. Take fresh basil leaves and dry them in the sun. Once the leaves are fully dry, grind them into a powder. Use this product to brush your teeth. You can either use the powder directly or mix it with your regular toothpaste and use it that way. You can also make a mouthwash by boiling a few leaves of basil in a cup of water. Alternatively, you can also chew three or four basil leaves daily.
6. Use guava leaves: Guava leaves have been found to be effective in preventing and treating periodontal disease. They have excellent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-plaque properties. They help in maintaining strong teeth and gums. Further, they also keep the breath fresh and clean. Tender leaves and twigs of the guava plant are most beneficial for the teeth and gums.
There are many ways of using guava leaves. The easiest is to chew a few leaves of the plant thoroughly and spit out. You can also grind some leaves and use them as toothpaste to brush your teeth. You can also make mouthwash by boiling a few leaves and twigs in warm water.
7. Rinse your mouth with saltwater: Salt has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and helps in preventing the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth with it. For best results, you should rinse your mouth with saltwater at least twice daily.
Alternatively, you can also use salt directly to brush your teeth. However, you should be careful because salt is an abrasive and can cause injury to the surface of the teeth. Use salt only once a week and do not apply excessive force while brushing. To improve the efficacy, you can mix a few drops of mustard oil with salt and use the resulting paste to brush your teeth. You can also add a few drops of lime juice to salt and brush your teeth with it.