The Importance of Dental Health
The Power of Flossing
Dental health is one of the least underrated health concerns for most people; but, indeed, a healthy mouth not only keeps the cost of dental work at bay, but may increase your life-span. Gum disease is reported to affect the heart, and one important way to combat gum disease is by flossing. Flossing once a day gets rid of plaque and bacterial build-up in the hard-to-reach areas which, if left unremoved, may find itself in the bloodstream where it can gradually clog arteries and damage the functioning of the heart. In fact, some researchers claim that by adding flossing to your daily dental routine, you can add, on average, six years to your life.
Bad dental health can usually lead to the following conditions:
1) Periodontitis- A serious gum infection that is linked to cardiovascular disease.
2) Clogged Arteries- Bacteria entering the mouth may enter the bloodstream and cause arterial inflammation and clogging.
3) Worsening of diabetes- Gum health may improve body’s resistance to insulin. Proper dental hygiene may improve insulin sensitivity in liver cells.
- Overall, flossing helps support and healthy lifestyle. By eliminating the inflammation, gum disease and gingivitis, it can both reduce the effects of present health issues and prevent non-present health issues for occurring. For few dollars a month, you can save yourself from a potentially hefty doctor's bill!
The Dentist’s Office
Yet another few major health concerns when it comes to the matters of the mouth concern your visit to the dentist. In our mainstream knowledge of the dental work procedures, we are led to believe that our health is of the outmost interest to our local dentist. However, this belief is far-fetched wishful thinking. Some time ago, I became aware of certain orthodox practices that all dentists perform- most of the time being unaware of the implications, since they learn most of these procedures in dental school- and from then on, I made sure to be a more empowered patient who would ask questions wiith her best health interests at heart. First, the epidemic of frequent x-ray work done on patience is both unfortunate and dangerous. For one, if a person visits a dentist every six months for a checkup and takes an x-ray every time, the damage to cells in the body can exponentially increase the risk of cell mutation and cancer. If all a dentist is looking for is the most current impression of the alignment of your teeth, the best thing to do is to carry a copy of your existing x-rays to every visit and reject the proposition to have an updated x-ray taken. The adult tooth-alignment does not change very often (unless one is exposed to jaw surgery, tooth reconstruction and other major dental work), and therefore there is really no need to have x-rays taken repeatedly.
Another dangerous substance still commonly used in dental offices is mercury amalgams. Most informed dentist nowadays use non-toxic white fillings to fill cavities- which, in addition to being healthier, is more aesthetic- over the toxic, silver fillings that many of us still bear from the last decade or so. There are numerous publications that link mercury exposure of these amalgams to various health problems and most profoundly, to chronic depression. These fillings are actively introducing high levels of mercury into our bodies every day, and over the years, it can severely impact one’s health for the worse. In fact, the reason that among all the professionals in the medical sector, dentists have the lowest life-span, is because of their constant exposure to mercury. My recommendation is to always make sure that your dentist is aware of your preferences, and if you do have silver mercury amalgams and are concerned about their implication on your health, to find a dentist who can replace them with non-toxic fillings. Check out more information on this topic from a fellow hubber:
Good and Bad Toothpaste?
In the world where we have increasing options of organic and natural products, toothpaste should be one such product on your shopping list. If you look at any standard tube of toothpaste, you will find plenty of red flags. First, the un-pronounceable, chemical-induced ingredients! You might tell yourself that since you will not swallow your toothpaste, the chemicals won’t matter and will even do a better job at cleaning your teeth than any all-natural alternative. But, this is not the case. Remember, anything you put on your skin and in your mouth is absorbed by the body at the molecular level and constant chemical saturation of your body through unnatural shampoos, skin-care products, makeup and etc. may cause certain health concerns over time. Here is a great clip that highlights the impact of chemicals in daily products on our health: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfq000AF1i8.
So, what are the alternatives? I recommend to always buy natural, fluoride-free toothpaste. The reason why I look for fluoride-free brands is because fluoride is a controversial additive that is uncovered to have had political agenda and campaign in being promoted as an anti-cavity additive. In fact, the ingredient “sodium fluoride” that is commonly found in toothpaste is a byproduct of aerospace industry from WWII that needed a market in order to be eliminated and reused efficiently. The most common ingredient in rat position is sodium fluoride. Unlike its artificial rival, calcium fluoride is in a different category altogether. It is a natural compound of the element fluoride and is not harmful to the body. In fact, it is naturally found in seawater salt and is known to be beneficial for bone health. If you happen to prefer calcium fluoride in your toothpaste, then you are in good company and have nothing to worry about. However, I have researched quite a bit to find that the consensus on fluoride's ability to protect teeth from cavities is not sound, and that non-fluoride toothpastes work very well to prevent cavities.
To Whiten or to not Whiten?
All of us desire sparkly, white smiles. No wonder the market for whitening toothpastes is thriving and more elaborate advertisements promising the optimal bright smile are produced by the hour. But, before we buy into the advertising, we have to ask ourselves if whitening teeth is safe and really doesn’t cause erosion of the tooth enamel. One thing is for sure: peroxide-based toothpastes will harm the enamel and make it weaker and less pronounced over time. As a less abrasive alternative, the best way to give a bit of a sparkle to your grin is with all-natural baking soda. Baking soda is known to remove coffee/tea/most regular stains from cups, carpets and other surfaces, but it also does the same magic on your teeth. If you drink plenty of coffee and tea and notice the bottom of your gums staining, apply some baking soda on your toothbrush or cutip and gently go over these areas. Your teeth will immediately be brighter and feel cleaner and polished. The only side-effect of using too much baking soda on teeth is the potential gradual erosion of the enamel. That is why using it sparingly and gently will go a long way to keep your teeth white without chemicals and high costs of harsh and artificial whiteners.
A Few Useful Tips:
You can protect your gums with 100% Authentic Tea Tree oil that has antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil is not only great for zits, cuts and burns, but its aroma and abundant bacteria-fighting properties can protect you from gum disease and other gum infections. To keep your gums healthy, after brushing, take a cutip and soak it in tea tree oil. Run and massage the cutip on the edge where teeth meet the gums on both sides. Leave the tea tree on a few minutes and then rise. Optimally, repeat once a week.
You can also make your own all-natural mouth wash by combining mostly water, drops of tea tree (10-15) and few tea spoons of baking soda in a squirt, plastic bottle. The antiseptic properties and the fresh aroma of the tea tree will kill bad breath causing germs, while the baking soda will balance the ph in your mouth, keeping the mouth environment fresh and germ-free for longer. Give it a try. This home-made mouth-wash alternative will not only save you money but will be a much healthier and more effective selection!
Remember, taking care of your mouth is as important as eating well and exercising. Happy brushing, flossing and pain-free visits to the dentist’s office!