Caring for your oral health is about more than brushing, flossing, and regularly booking cleanings. While good practices, these efforts only comprise the active methods for caring for your oral health.
As part of a holistic approach to oral care, it’s worthwhile to also understand how to passively care for your health. Even the best and most consistent active practices aren’t enough to guarantee 100% oral health!
Consider the following passive measures that you can take to guarantee optimal oral health!
Increase Awareness Of Your Sugar Consumption
Over the course of human history, our bodies have not evolved nearly as quickly as our diets have. In Paleolithic times, our taste for sugar would cause us to seek out the sugary foods we had available in our environment; primarily fruits and berries. Our bodies evolved to make us crave these foods because they were loaded with nutrients and vitamins. Because sugar was so difficult to find in abundant supply, very rarely was it possible to over-consume.
Today, circumstances are quite different. The same evolutionary mechanism, our love for sugar, exists today as it did thousands of years ago; but our access to sugar, and the nature of sugary foods, has changed significantly.
Not only do the sugary foods people regularly consume today contain none of the nutrients you would find in fruits and berries, but the concentration of sugar is considerably higher. Whereas ancient humans would be led by their love for sugar to find a bush of berries if they were lucky, contemporary humans can access the sugar-content equivalent of piles and piles of berries with a quick trip to the corner store.
Sugar is corrosive to tooth enamel. For early humans, this was rarely a problem, because they had so much trouble finding sugar in abundant supply. Today things are different. It is hard to find foods, and drinks especially, that are not loaded with sugar. The human mouth has not evolved to accommodate the levels of sugar we generally subject them to in our day-to-day lives.
Becoming aware of the sugar content of your food, and the amount that you consume on a day-to-day basis, is a fantastic measure to passively care for your oral health. Something as simple as replacing one of your favorite drinks with a sugar free, or reduced-sugar alternative, can massively reduce the wear and tear your teeth and gums are subjected to. Consider this idea to get started reducing your sugar consumption right away!
Like Soda? Try Kombucha!
Kombucha is a fantastic alternative to pop that contains significantly less sugar. A fizzy, fermented drink, it can taste a little weird the first time you try it, but give it a chance, and it will provide you a healthy and fulfilling alternative to pop or juice when you feel that sugar craving.
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, Kombucha is a significantly healthier drink than most pops and juices. Some even claim that regularly consuming Kombucha helps to alkalize your blood, which in turn reduces cravings for sugar!
Becomes Conscious Of Your Saliva Levels
Saliva is your body’s first line of defense against tooth decay, and is vital for total oral health. A wide range of reasons, including medication, diet, or simple physiology, can contribute to poor saliva production and expose your mouth to accelerated decay. Increasing one’s awareness of their saliva levels, and the means available to address them when they get too low, goes a long way to protecting long-term oral health. Learn about the causes and consequences of poor saliva production, and how to deal with them, with Triadent Dental.
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications list dry-mouth as a side effect. When a person suffers from even minor dry-mouth on a consistent basis, the consequences go further than a little discomfort. With reduced saliva production, you decrease your mouth’s defense to harmful bacteria, tartar, and plaque build-up; accelerating tooth decay and the formation of dental problems.
It is critical when taking medication to pay special attention to what’s going on inside your mouth, and to take steps to remediate the impact medication can have on saliva production. Having a bottle of water on-hand at all times to swig when the mouth gets a little dry is a fantastic first step towards passively protecting your oral health!
Diuretic’s are substances that increase the excretion of water from the body. Coffee, alcohol, and soda are popular diuretic drinks, and their consistent consumption can have a substantial impact on the presence of saliva within a person’s mouth.
Without water to draw on, the body is incapable of producing appropriate amounts of saliva, dedicating what little water is available for more important tasks in the body. Drinking water is a great first step to remediate the problem, but generally not enough. Diuretics decrease the body’s ability to absorb water, and so the best way to fix dry mouth because of diuretic intake is to do all that you can to reduce diuretic consumption, and increase water consumption in direct relation to the diuretics you consume.
If you drink a coffee every morning, all it takes is a glass of water before and after to ensure your body has access to the extra water it will need. The same can be said of energy drinks, soda, alcohol, etc.
3) Mouth Breathing
Do you sleep with your mouth open? Many of us do so without even knowing. If you breathe through your mouth during sleep or while awake, your breathing is impacting the levels of saliva within your mouth.
When sleeping, because we are doing so little with our mouths aside from breathing, we provide the best possible circumstances for the flourishing of harmful oral bacteria. Saliva does not get to move around and coat your mouth because you are not chewing, talking, etc; and as breathing dries our mouth, bacteria proliferate!
Like we mentioned in a previous article, remedying night-time mouth breathing is a simple matter of purchasing surgical or medical tape, and using a small strip every night to keep the mouth shut! This will provide an immediate solution to the problem of night-time dry mouth, but also ‘train’ the body to breathe through the nose while sleeping. After a few weeks, your body will have gotten into the habit of nose-breathing, and you’ll notice a long-lasting improvement in your oral health!
Dealing with Dry Mouth – Saliva Substitutes
Of course, hydration is the first step anyone ought to take when it comes to ensuring proper saliva production. The body needs to have access to adequate water in order to keep saliva moving around your mouth, but even adequate hydration sometimes is not enough.
If you suffer from dry-mouth because of medication, your diet, or simply your physiology, consider having on-hand saliva substitutes. Available at any pharmacy, these are specially-made liquids meant to supplement your body’s natural saliva production. Like a mouth freshener, all it takes is a quick spray every now and again to ensure that your saliva levels are always topped up!
Total Dental Care From Triadent
Like going to the gym regularly is not enough to guarantee your personal fitness if you have a poor diet, regularly brushing and flossing your teeth is not enough to guarantee dental health. Health, in general, is a matter of lifestyle, and so the best approach to protecting it is to consider the things you do in day-to-day life that impact it.
When it comes to maximizing your oral health, the best strategy is one that incorporates active and passive efforts. Brushing and flossing regularly is good, but doing so as well as not excessively consuming sugar, staying hydrated, becoming conscious of the diuretic properties of your drinks, etc; is the very best route to long-term dental longevity!