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7 steps to healthy teeth and gums

Having a beautiful smile is important for more reasons than one. According to a 2015 study conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, an attractive smile is the number one way to make a positive first impression, at work or in personal relationships.1

Beyond obvious blemishes, like stains and discolorations on the teeth, a more serious issue like gum disease can have a big impact on the health of the entire body, confirms the NHS.

“The state of your teeth affects your overall health, with gum disease linked to lots of health problems in other parts of the body. Therefore, brushing your teeth can prevent gum disease and improve your overall health,” the NHS states.2

7 steps to healthy teeth and gums

HEALTHY TEETH AND GUMS LAY THE FOUNDATION

If you have ever heard your dentist use the words “gum disease” before, this is the right article for you to read. The early signs of gum disease may be sent as a signal from your body that something internal has gone very, very wrong. Medically speaking, gum disease occurs when bacteria begins to grow out of control in the mouth. Gum disease or periodontal disease may also be called gingivitis.

In layman’s terms, gum disease simply means that the systems in your body have gone out of whack – and it can go both ways. Poor oral hygiene can cause bacteria and disease to spread from the gums to the rest of the body, potentially infecting the heart. Conversely, poor health in the body can spread to the gums to cause swelling, bleeding, infection and disease.

When you take care of your gums, you take care of the health of your body. And when you take care of the health of your body, you take care of your gums too.

You may have heard the rumour many times before that sugar can rot your teeth, and this theory does hold some water. Eating too much sugar, coupled with poor oral hygiene, can cause periodontal disease that results in bone loss surrounding the teeth. The chronic infection caused by periodontal disease can also cause an inflammatory response that spreads throughout the body, leading to hardening of the arteries and, eventually, heart disease.3

Dentists agree that paying attention to oral health becomes even more important for pregnant women. Pregnant women with untreated periodontal disease – which we now know can affect the health of the entire body – could have a higher risk of giving birth preterm or to a low-birth weight baby.4

7 ORAL HYGIENE TIPS

For naturally improved health, we suggest implementing this daily oral hygiene routine as soon as possible:

1. Use a spiral toothbrush. Using a spiral toothbrush with each brushing can most effectively dislodge food, particles and bacteria trapped between the teeth. Flossing twice per day is also recommended.

2. Rinse with mouthwash. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a mouthwash rinse after each brush and floss to fight the bacterial infection that causes gum inflammation and periodontal disease.

3. Stop eating starchy carbs and high- sugar foods. As mentioned above, starchy carbohydrates and high-sugar foods, which are normally found in processed foods, are primary culprits of chronic inflammation in the body that can lead to gum and heart disease. Eliminate junk foods altogether and aim to eat 9-14 servings of fresh or frozen vegetables, along with dark-skinned fruits and avocados, nuts, beans, seeds, moderate meat, oily fish, healthy oils and healthy carbohydrate alternatives, each day.

4. Mix up a friendly probiotic. In order to fight bacterial gum infection that can spread throughout the body, your mouth needs plenty of good bacteria. Populate the gums with protective bacteria by breaking open a soil-based probiotic capsule to mix into your food, twice each day.

5. Calm gum inflammation with the anti-inflammatory enyme Serrapeptase. Isolated from the intestine of the silkworm, Serrapeptase is a known anti-inflammatory and proteolytic enzyme supplement that can help to clear harmful levels of inflammation throughout the body.5

6. Enjoy coconut oil at each meal. With its recent popularity in the health world as a multifunctional antibacterial agent, coconut oil makes for a handy at-home dental remedy. It can be drizzled liberally on your favourite healthy foods at each meal – or rubbed onto the gums to kill bacteria directly. Coconut oil is safe for all members of the family and can also be used for frying, as a healthy oil.

7. Heal damaged gums with CoQ10. Healing gum damage caused by chronic bacterial infection and inflammation is an important step to take, to repair both oral and overall health. Coenzyme Q10, taken in its highly absorbable ubiquinol form, may help to heal gum disease. Research even suggests that sufferers of periodontal disease may have depleted levels of CoQ10 in the gums.6

Small, beneficial habits could be all it takes to achieve good health, and chewing sugarless gum may be one of them. It’s reported that chewing sugar-free gum after eating or drinking may be enough to save the NHS in the UK more than £8.2 million each year on dental treatments because of the role it plays in preventing tooth decay.7 Naturally sugar-free gum, made with the sugar alcohol Xylitol and no artificial sweeteners, may help to reduce plaque-forming bacteria and protect against cavities.

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Sources

1. American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 2015. Study reveals keys to memorable first impressions.
2. NHS Choices, 2015. The health risks of gum disease.
3. Bains, A. and Rashid, M. A., 2013. Junk food and heart disease: the missing tooth. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 106 (12): 472 DOI: 10.1177/0141076813512297.
4. American Academy of Periodontology, 2013. Expectant mothers’ periodontal health vital to health of her baby. Available at www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/2013/08/130828092310.htm
5. Yamazaki, J. et al., 1967. Anti-inflammatory activity of TSP, a protease produced by a strain of Serratia. Folia Pharmacol Japon, 63: 302-314. 6. University of Maryland Medical Center, 2015. Coenzyme Q10. Available at umm.edu/health/ medical/altmed/supplement/coenzyme-q10
7. Claxton, L. Taylor, M. and Kay, E., 2016. Oral health promotion: the economic benefits to the NHS of increased use of sugarfree gum in the UK. BDJ, 220 (3): 121 DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2016.94.