8 tips for better oral and general health
- Eat nutrient rich, natural foods – This means a diet rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins allow you to uptake nutrients that are vital for strong teeth and jaw bones.
- Eat chewy, hard, healthy foods – These days, food is soft, sticky, sweet and highly processed. Put your teeth and jaw bones to work the way nature intended. This will help to stimulate healthy saliva, which neutralises acid and keeps your teeth strong.
- Increase your water intake – replace soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices with still, clean water. Also, be careful with sparkling mineral water. It is very acidic and a common cause of dental decay.
- Practice nasal breathing – your tongue should be at the roof of your mouth and you should be breathing through your nose. Mouth breathing at night leaves you more susceptible to snoring, sleep apnoea, respiratory infections, tonsillitis, tooth crowding and decay (via drying out your saliva). Work on your breathing by practicing yoga or attending breathing classes.
- Vacuum your bed once a week -with a HEPA filter vacuum and put a dust mite cover on your mattress. If there is a constant irritation to our sinuses and tonsils during sleep, we will get into bad breathing habits which will cause the same issues discussed in tip number 4.
- Get into a good sleep routine – As dentist’s we always talk about oral hygiene, but I always talk about ‘sleep hygiene’ with my patients. This starts with getting to sleep before 10.30pm. Avoiding blue light from smart phones and other devices at least 2 hours before bed is also paramount. Similarly, avoid filling up on warm fluids before bed as you are more likely to wake to go to the bathroom.
- Don’t just brush, floss and brush your tongue as well! – many people don’t floss and don’t know how to do it well. We need to take the floss underneath the gums. It is the bacteria that live underneath the gums that cause the most inflammation and damage to our health. Bacteria that live on the tongue are also a major contributor to bad breath.
- Practice oil pulling – pop a teaspoon of coconut oil in the mouth and swish it around the mouth for 15 mins. This is best done first thing in the morning. The fat in the oil ‘pulls’ plaque from underneath the gums. It can help to reduce gum inflammation, decrease your chance of decay, fights against bad breath and it is also a good natural alternative for tooth whitening.