Moms, busy professionals, students and many other people are so busy throughout the day that they sometimes forget to take care of their mouths.
You’re so busy throughout the day that you might sometimes forget to take care of your mouth. While this is understandable, the fact that you’re busy shouldn’t mean that you neglect your oral health. When you forget or pass on brushing and flossing, you open to door to bacteria that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. In order to stay healthy, you need to take care of your mouth even when you feel you have no time to do so.
People who lead busy lives should remember the following things to help them keep their mouths clean.
Carry travel-sized oral health products
Travel-sized oral health products can really come in handy. Many are small enough to easily keep in your car, purse or backpack so that you have them when you need them. If nothing else, try to keep some floss and a small bottle of alcohol-free mouthwash handy. That way, if you have a meal where you get something lodged in your teeth or feel that your breath may have taken a turn for the worse, you can try to take care of it while still out and about. In addition to those two things, you can also carry a travel toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste. Travel toothbrushes are compact and often have a small case or cover that allows you to carry and use them without any mess.
Drink lots of water
Drinking lots of water will help you wash away any food particles and bacteria that collect in your mouth. This will help keep your breath fresh, and because most water in the U.S. is fluoridated, you’ll even be strengthening your teeth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fluoride added into water helps remineralize teeth and prevent cavities. For this reason, it has been added to water supplies for over 70 years. By drinking lots of water and carrying a refillable water bottle, you’ll be able to help keep your teeth healthy.
Stay away from certain foods and drinks
Sugary foods and drinks should be avoided. When sugary foods are eaten, bacteria in the mouth interact with the sugar and leave behind an acid that can attack your teeth. This leads to cavities and tooth decay. Starchy foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as fried foods or snacks like potato chips, are no friend to your teeth and can lead to the same result as sugary foods. If you do end up eating these foods, you should make sure to clean your mouth after doing so.
Use sugar-free mints, lozenges or gum
Chewing gum or sucking on a mint can help clean your teeth. Gum and mints increase the amount of saliva in your mouth, which will wash away any leftover food or plaque that has collected on your teeth. While any gum or mint will increase the amount of saliva, sugar-fee gum or mints are much better and will help your oral health much more. Try to use products that contain xylitol instead of sugar as this natural alternative to sugar actually fights off the bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay.
Many people know that poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even lost teeth. But are you aware that failing to brush or visit the dentist regularly also can lead to more serious health issues? According to Colgate, recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections, particularly gum disease, and cardiovascular disease and preterm birth.
A healthy mouth is good for more than just a pretty smile. Oral health can affect the entire body, making dental care more than just a cosmetic concern.
Many people know that poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even lost teeth. But are you aware that failing to brush or visit the dentist regularly also can lead to more serious health issues? According to Colgate, recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections, particularly gum disease, and cardiovascular disease and preterm birth. Gum disease also may make diabetes more difficult to control, since infections may cause insulin resistance and disrupt blood sugar.
Your mouth also can serve as an infection source elsewhere in the body. Bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream through infection sites in the gums. If your immune system is healthy, there should not be any adverse effects. However, if your immune system is compromised, these bacteria can flow to other areas of the body where they can cause infection. An example of this is oral bacteria sticking to the lining of diseased heart valves.
Other links have been found between oral health and overall health. In 2010, researchers from New York University who reviewed 20 years of data on the association concluded that there is a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer's disease. Researchers in the UK also found a correlation. Analysis showed that a bacterium called "Porphyromonas gingivalis" was present in brains of those with Alzheimer's disease but not in the samples from the brains of people who did not have Alzheimer's. The P. gingivalis bacterium is usually associated with chronic gum disease and not dementia.
Researchers also have found a possible link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. Harvard researchers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared with men who had never had gum disease, based on studies of men from 1986 through 2007.
While oral health issues may lead to other conditions over time, symptoms also may be indicative of underlying conditions of which a person is unaware. Inflammation of gum tissue may be a warning sign of diabetes. Oral problems, such as lesions in the mouth, may indicate the presence of HIV/AIDS. Dentists may be the first people to diagnose illnesses patients don't even know they have.
An important step in maintaining good overall health is to include dental care in your list of preventative measures. Visit the dentist for biannual cleanings or as determined by the doctor. Do not ignore any abnormalities in the mouth. Maintain good oral hygiene at home by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day. Mouthwashes and rinses also may help keep teeth and gums healthy.
Oral health and other systems of the body seem to be linked. Taking care of your teeth promotes overall health.
A brilliant smile, fresh breath -- and the ability to sip a frozen margarita or two without any unnecessary pain -- are the best case scenarios when it comes to oral health, right? "There are three key factors that affect the health and appearance of our teeth: oral health routine, diet and lifestyle choices," Cosmetic dentist and Philips Zoom ambassador Dr Luke Cronin from Quality Dental said.
"Make sure you clean your teeth regularly and effectively, this means morning and night for around two minutes. Electric toothbrushes are clinically proven to remove more plaque than manual brushing. You should also floss every day, flossing removes the food particles and subsequent plaque that can get lodged between teeth that cannot be reached by your toothbrush. The final element of good oral health -- and a great smile -- is regular check-ups and cleans at the dentist."
1. Plaque Problems
"In the absence of effective daily brushing and flossing, plaque build up will occur on your teeth and below the gum-line. Bacteria then forms, which can lead to decay of the tooth's external enamel and other dental problems such as gum disease," Dr Cronin said. "A worst-case scenario is where tooth decay and/or gum disease is undetected or ignored, the structure of the tooth and the surrounding tissues are damaged to the extent that teeth either fall out or have to be removed."
2. Gum Disease
While teeth are the stars of the show when it comes to oral healthcare, our gums need TLC too. Dr Dunn -- who is Macquarie Centre's principal dentist and a Philips Sonicare ambassador -- explained that there are generally no painful symptoms until late on, so patients are often left unaware of the damage being done to their gums. "A patient may notice red and puffy gums (gingivitis) which may bleed from brushing and flossing, leading patients to shy away from effective cleaning," he said. "If left untreated, the gingivitis can progress into periodontal or gum disease. This causes teeth loosening/loss in susceptible people, due to the disease progressing into the supporting bone surrounding the teeth." Dr Dunn advises regular check ups and early intervention to aim to halt the effects of gum disease.
3. Mouth Ulcers
Not many of us haven't felt the uncomfortable sting of a mouth ulcer from time to time. So what causes them? "Ulcer's usually form from minor injuries to the mouth, including those suffered as a result of hard brushing, certain trigger foods including acidic fruits, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, allergies, braces, stress or as a result of a bacterial, viral or fungal infection,' said Dr Dunn."Some are due to generalized medical conditions including auto-immune diseases," Dr Dunn explained that ulcers present as painful lesions to the mouth tissue, on the cheek or gums. The best way to avoid ulcers is, well, avoidance and sleep. "Avoid known acidic trigger foods, follow a balanced and healthy diet, and get enough sleep - plus good oral hygiene is essential," Dr Dunn said.
4. Dental Cavities
If giving up sugar entirely isn't doable -- and we all know how hard it is to avoid office donut time -- then minimise the harm. "Regular consumption of food and beverages that are high in sugar causes the most damage to your teeth. When sugar is consumed it interacts with the bacteria that naturally occurs within the mouth," said Dr Cronin. "The bacteria feeds on the sugar to produce acids that attack the tooth's enamel, if teeth are not regularly cleaned these acids create holes or cavities in the tooth."
Dr Cronin's advice? If you do indulge in a sugary treat or a soft drink, it's worth taking the time to clean your teeth soon afterwards, or rinse your mouth out with water to remove any sugar that is sticking to the surface of your teeth. "Saliva and fluoride both contain minerals that help repair weakened enamel however they will only do so much to counter the effects of sugar on your teeth," Dr Cronin explained.
5. Discolouration In Teeth
You may not be able to start your day without a latte or two but it's not doing anything to help keep. But there are actually ways to regime an holistic boost -- and naturally whiten your teeth too? Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practice done in conjunction with your usual brush and floss routine -- and can whiten teeth more gently. Miranda Kerr is a fan. So what is it?
"Oil pulling is a powerful detoxifying remedy that can help whiten teeth, freshen breath and prevent gums from bleeding," Cocowhirl founder Denise Gribben said.
Oil pulling involves swirling an organic coconut oil around the teeth and gums -- for up to 20 minutes on an empty stomach -- in order to draw out the toxins. The oil's natural antiobiotic and antiviral properties can brighten and clean the teeth.
If alternative methods aren't for you, Dr Cronin suggests, "your best bet is to have a regular clean at your local dentist to remove staining and stubborn plaque build-up."
Rachel Hall runs an holistic fresh breath clinic. She's seen -- and smelt -- it all when it comes to halitosis. "There are a surprising number of non dental causes of bad breath," Hall said. "Medications can cause dry mouth and without enough saliva, food particles and bacteria can stay on the teeth. Sinus infections, mouth breathing and some gut bacteria can cause bad breath too. To find out honestly if your breath is less than fresh, lick your wrist, let it dry for 10 seconds and then smell it."
If you don't like what you smell, there are simple ways to fix it. Hall suggests brushing and flossing (you can now also try interdental cleaners) regularly, buying a tongue scraper and using it daily, drinking more water and even using a saltwater gargle to keep your throat and tonsil area clean. "Chewing sugar free gum can help combat bad breath too. To care for your breath holistically, keep fit, get plenty of sleep and avoiding sugar with reduce inflammation in the body which means your mouth will naturally be healthier and fresher," Hall said.