Oral health is incredibly important - yet many adults don’t look after their teeth as well as they should. On average each adult has seven fillings, 31% of adults have tooth decay and the UK spends £5.8 billion a year on dental treatments. But dental caries can be prevented, and a lot of this can be done naturally. Here are five ways you may be neglecting your teeth that can have a big effect on your oral health...
#1 Not brushing properly
Cleaning your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day helps prevent cavities. However, if your toothbrush is too hard it can cause abrasion which can rapidly wear down your teeth enamel and can damage your gums. Choose a softer brush with rounded ends or, even better, an electric sonic toothbrush which is gentler but more effective at removing plaque. Brushing at night before you go to sleep is especially important to prevent plaque build-up as the bacteria in your mouth that forms plaque takes around 24 hours to mature. And don’t forget to brush your tongue too - your tongue is covered in bacteria which can lead to bad breath and even tooth damage.
#2 Using the wrong toothpaste
Even in oral care, less is more. Natural ingredients are usually the best for you, and the synthetic ingredients used in toothpaste can often cause more harm than you realise. As toothpaste is not made to be ingested, it doesn’t have to adhere to the same regulations as food and drink. Many kinds of toothpaste contain ingredients like hydrated silica and titanium dioxide for whitening, sorbitol, sodium saccharin and glycerin for sweetening, sodium lauryl sulfate as a foaming agent and fluoride to help remineralisation. However, these can be dangerous if ingested over long periods of time. The mouth is often called ‘the gateway to the body’ and is particularly absorbing, therefore susceptible to toxins and chemicals which can find there way into the rest of the body.
#3 Forgetting about flossing
Sometimes just brushing your teeth isn’t enough. Since many of us don’t have perfectly aligned teeth, food can often get caught between them. Flossing allows you to clean out this debris and the sticky plaque build up from between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. If you skip this part of your oral care routine it can linger, leading to both tooth decay and gum disease. However, do be careful when flossing as the wrong technique can lead to cutting and damaging your gums.
#4 Avoiding the right foods
You may not realise, but eating the right foods is a really important factor in maintaining good oral health. In Ramiel Nigel's book Cure Tooth Decay: Remineralize Cavities and repair your teeth naturally with good food - Dr Price determined that tooth decay in modern civilisation is due to a lack of nutrients in our modern diet. Components that are mostly lacking are fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which are vital for healthy teeth and bones. These are mostly found in dairy products from grass-fed animals, organs and head meat from fish and shellfish, organs of land animals and eggs. You can also find them in probiotic milk such as kefir, yoghurt or whey, and in cod liver oil. Calcium is another essential mineral which plays an important part in remineralisation and creating strong and healthy teeth and can be found in dairy, leafy greens and nuts. If you’re vegan, we recommend that you supplement as you may not be getting all the nutrients you need from diet alone.
#5 Eating the bad foods
Foods to be avoided include starchy foods like soft breads and sugary foods (including too much natural sugars like in fruit) and other sweeteners. When you consume too much starchy or sugary food you're feeding the bacteria that can cause plaque on your teeth. The acidic byproduct produced by these bacteria can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth which can lead to tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque also triggers an inflammatory response that causes the breakdown of the gums, bone, and other supporting structures of your teeth. This means that you also should limit in between meal snacks too as this increases the activity of bacteria.
University of Rochester Medical College https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4062
National Smile Month http://www.nationalsmilemonth.org/facts-figures/
Cure Tooth Decay - Remineralize and repair your teeth naturally with good food - Nagel, R. 2011