10 Natural Ways to Save Your Teeth and Gums

Tooth decay and gum disease can be extremely painful, not to mention unsightly and expensive to treat. Luckily these conditions can be prevented with solid oral health practices. Here are a few ways you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy naturally.

Chew xylitol gum

Although most mainstream chewing gums contain artificial sweeteners, xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that has been linked with oral health. Xylitol inhibits the growth of the bacteria that cause cavities. It does this because these bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) cannot utilize xylitol to grow. If you chew xylitol gum regularly, the quality of the bacteria in the mouth changes, and fewer and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces. Check out your local health shop or buy xylitol gum online.

Eat more berries

Scientists have found that nutrients in cranberries and blueberries can be highly effective in protecting the teeth against a strand of bacteria responsible for accelerating tooth decay. These natural compounds, known as polyphenols, help fend off harmful bacteria in the mouth. Other berries such as bilberries and hawthorn berries have been used to promote healthy gums in traditional medicine, and are now available in supplement form for easy consumption. These berries are thought to help collagen production, which maintains gum health.

Sesame oil rinse

Traditional Ayurvedic medicine recommends gargling with warm, organic, unrefined sesame oil, then holding it in your mouth for one minute before expelling it. Next, apply some oil to your index finger and gently massage your gums. This process is believed to prevent cavities and soothe sensitive teeth. Scientific evidence shows that this simple therapy could reduce plaque and improve the total oral bacteria count in gingivitis patients.

Tongue scraper

Another Ayurvedic technique involves cleaning your tongue regularly. Using a stainless steel tongue scraper, gently scrape the entire tongue from the back forward for 7 to 14 strokes every morning, and observe the benefits for yourself. Practitioners believe this activates the taste buds, reduces bad breath, and removes harmful bacteria.

Use neem products

Neem is a plant found to possess antibacterial properties. Research on neem and gum health includes a small study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2014. For this study, 105 children aged 12 to 15 used mouthwash containing neem for three weeks. Results revealed that this mouthwash was effective in reducing plaque and inhibiting gingivitis.

Drink green tea

Researchers have found that routine intake of green tea may also help promote healthy teeth and gums. One study analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men and found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects that consumed less green tea. Green tea’s ability to help reduce symptoms of periodontal disease may be due to the presence of the antioxidant catechin. Previous research has demonstrated antioxidants’ ability to reduce inflammation in the body, and the teeth and gums are no exception.

Brush with turmeric

Turmeric’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help keep your gums and teeth healthy and infection-free. Don’t worry, that rich yellow pigment won’t stain your teeth. In fact, it may even help whiten them. Simply mix 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little bit of water into a paste. Brush your teeth a few times a week to control plaque and prevent gingivitis.

Eat nutrient-rich foods

Your teeth and gums need the right raw materials to stay healthy. Some of these include minerals like calcium and magnesium, and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2. For example, vitamin A supports bone and tooth development, vitamin D3 helps the body absorb calcium, and vitamin K2 is the bone development support factor that directs calcium into the right places – like your teeth! Be sure to eat foods such as fatty fish, whole eggs, and beef liver to get enough of these tooth-friendly nutrients.

Feed your microbiome

The human microbiome is made up of many microbiotas. Research is proving that the human microbiome plays a vital role in our health. Your mouth has its own mini bacterial world, which can mean the difference between healthy teeth or constant cavities. Keeping your oral and gut microbiomes healthy with oral probiotics and foods like probiotic yogurt is important.

Quit smoking

Yet another reason for smokers to quit. Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Since smoking weakens your immune system, it also makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Plus, smoking makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’ve been damaged.

Hoping to avoid those surprise dental bills? A few simple daily habits can preserve your teeth and gums, so you can keep your smile bright and beautiful for years to come.

-Liivi Hess

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