The condition of your teeth and gums has a huge impact on your body and mind. From heart disease to self-confidence, the connections between oral health and general health are deep and often surprising. When you recognise the holistic nature of dental care, you can take positive steps to enhance your overall well-being. Along with daily cleaning and regular check-ups, natural dental products and healthy foods can have a huge impact on your life.
In this article, we'll take a long look at dental health and what it means in the 21st century. We'll look at why your mouth is so important and show you how to set up new life-affirming routines.
Why Your Mouth is So Important to Your Health
The condition of your mouth provides a window to your general health. Your teeth and gums, for example, impact a range of acute and chronic health conditions, along with your mental health and well-being.
From dental cavities to gum disease, medical conditions that manifest in the mouth can cause severe pain and affect how you eat and talk. Without treatment and lifestyle changes, they often get worse over time. Poor oral health has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory conditions, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
In contrast, good oral hygiene leads to improved digestion, better nutrition, and healthier outcomes. People with good teeth and gums are more likely to chew and swallow their food properly, improving nutrient absorption and boosting overall health. Overall, taking care of your mouth helps prevent a number of serious diseases and reduces the risk of complications from existing health conditions.
It's crucial to remember that dental issues can impact your entire body. There is a connection between oral health and heart disease, along with other cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Poor teeth and gums can also affect your respiratory health, with bacteria from the mouth sometimes reaching the lungs and causing infections such as pneumonia.
Your teeth also affect how you interact with the rest of the world. Your smile is central to your social and emotional health, having a powerful impact on communication and bonding. The health and appearance of your teeth can impact your romantic relationships, your friendships, and even your career.
A Short History of Dental Care
Prior to recorded history, people cleaned their teeth with sticks, bones, feathers, and even porcupine quills. As the centuries progressed, dedicated cleaning tools were developed, some of which had antiseptic properties. In Indian medicine, the neem tree was used as a cleaning twig. In the Middle East, the miswak root was used as a toothbrush. Baking soda was common in some cultures as an early form of toothpaste, and chalk and charcoal were used in the same manner.
People have always looked after their teeth, but techniques and equipment have changed dramatically over time. While basic brushes and pastes made cleaning possible, serious dental problems often ended in extraction. Modern dentistry developed slowly between 1650 and 1800, with various tools invented over this time to fill cavities and clean teeth more deeply. The new dentistry profession was increasingly called upon, as changes to the human diet led to increased problems with oral health.
According to archeological evidence, cariogenic bacteria became more popular during the Industrial Revolution. A disease-associated microbiome developed during this time, with calcified dental plaque causing increased cavities and more periodontal diseases.
The birth of industrially processed flour and sugar around 1850 was responsible for this profound shift in the human diet. This change was the second of two great dietary shifts, with the first occurring 10,000 years ago due to the adoption of carbohydrate-rich neolithic farming.
Dental care has become a huge global industry, and natural dental products are a significant growth area. Natural toothpastes avoid chemical additives, natural toothbrushes use sustainable materials, and natural mouthwashes avoid the preservatives found in many commercial products. We have also seen an increased focus on diets for oral health over recent years. Whether it's eating nutritious grains and vegetables or avoiding ultra-sweet snacks, oral health has become an important part of every natural lifestyle.
Looking After Your Teeth & Gums
Dental cavities and other problems are normally the result of specific bacterial infections. These infections are modulated by various biological, environmental, and lifestyle-related factors. A number of things are known to increase infection rates, including poor oral hygiene, lack of access to dental care, and unhealthy diets. If you want to avoid cavities and look after your mouth, it's important to eat quality foods and follow good oral hygiene.
When it comes to natural dental care, there are three main things to consider: natural dental care products, healthy natural foods, and good lifestyle habits.
Natural Dental Care Products
If you want to look after your teeth and gums naturally, it's important to have the right tools. From natural toothpaste and mouthwash to Ayurvedic extracts and essential oils, there are lots of fantastic products on the market.
Toothpaste is the foundation of home-based oral care. Based on healthcare recommendations, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day every day. Most toothpaste products combine natural and artificial ingredients with different levels of antibacterial protection. Common ingredients include fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonate, sodium pyrophosphate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and triclosan.
Fluoride toothpaste is the most common, with this compound known to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. Many natural toothpaste products avoid fluoride, however, as it has the potential to cause major health problems. Fluoride has been associated with cognitive impairment, hypothyroidism, enzyme and electrolyte derangement, and cancer. Many natural toothpaste products also avoid triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate, both of which can be harmful to human health.
Along with toothpaste, natural mouthwash products use all-natural ingredients for safe and effective hygienic protection. Instead of using alcohol, saccharin, and artificial additives, these products use natural antibacterial agents such as aloe vera and tea tree oil. There are also lots of mouthwash products based on Ayurvedic herbal extracts and essential oils, including oil pulling products, to detoxify the mouth and strengthen the teeth and gums.
Natural Foods for Oral Health
Along with cleaning your teeth and washing your mouth on a regular basis, healthy food makes up the foundation of oral hygiene. Lots of foods support oral health, often for very different reasons. For example, fibre-rich fruits and vegetables help to keep your teeth and gums clean. Food rich in fibre gets saliva flowing, which is the best natural defence against bacteria. Saliva contains traces of calcium and phosphate. When you have enough saliva flowing, you can restore the minerals you've lost from bacterial acids.
Dairy products also help to produce beneficial saliva, putting back calcium and phosphate content and rebuilding tooth enamel. If you like to chew gum, natural sugar-free products can be another great way to get the saliva flowing. Common green and black teas can also be beneficial for your teeth, as they contain polyphenols, which help to prevent plaque bacteria. These substances help to prevent or kill bacteria before they make the acid that attacks your teeth.
When it comes to oral hygiene, however, what you avoid is just as important as what you eat. Sugar is the mouth's major enemy, especially the refined sugars you find in sweets, chocolates, and soft drinks. It's particularly important to avoid foods that stick around in your mouth, including caramels, lollipops, and sticky chewy sweets. Carbonated soft drinks should be severely limited, as they contain huge amounts of sugar along with enamel-wearing phosphoric and citric acids.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Like many things in life, good dental care is about setting up sustainable habits. Using natural products occasionally is not enough, and changing your diet for a day or two won't make much difference. If you want to look after your teeth and gums on a long-term basis, you need to be consistent. When you buy natural dental care products and healthy foods, it's much easier to feel inspired and stick to your routine.
If you're looking for quality dental care products and healthy natural foods, you've come to the right place. At Healthy Being, we have everything you need to support your oral health. From toothpaste and mouthwash to fibre-rich foods and saliva-inducing teas, good oral health starts here. Check out our website today for our incredible range of products or contact our team to learn more.