11 Ways to keep your Teeth

Published on July 16, 2013 by


Oral health and overall health is a two-way street! Poor oral health can impact your teeth and gums if you have a health problem like diabetes or heart disease. Gum disease- a chronic inflammatory condition that is the major cause of tooth loss- has been linked not only to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease but also to an increase risk of dementia, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory infections. Gaps in one’s teeth are unsightly, can affect speech and, of course, make it tougher to eat. The solutions, such as implants, bridges and dentures, can be expensive and require unpleasant procedures.


The good news is that it’s possible to protect your teeth and gums for years to come. Here are 11 tips from dental experts:


  1. Vitamin C is vital. One orange, or an eight-ounce glass of orange juice, contains more than 80 mg of vitamin C; red and green sweet peppers, guava, kiwi and Brussels sprouts are other good sources
  2. Get vitamin D to keep your calcium. People with low levels of vitamin D are more prone to tooth loss than other adults because, it is believed, the compounds in the nutrient reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
  3. Give your teeth a cleansing workout. Munching on crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and apples, at the end of a meal or as a midday snack can serve as a sort of mini tooth-brushing session. The hard flesh acts as a cleanser and the chewing motion stimulates saliva production.
  4. Take in more omega-3. There has been promising research indicating that omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel and other fish, may help gum tissue heal.
  5. Embrace afternoon teatime. Black and green teas contain antioxidants that can help prevent plaque from forming on your teeth. Tea leaves also contain the tooth protector fluoride and is more effective than mints at combating bad breath.
  6. Work out.  Anything you do for your general health, including being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, also helps protect your teeth and gums.
  7. Don’t let medicine dry you out. Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines can decrease saliva flow, which is a problem. The minerals in saliva serve as a protective barrier against decay and help keep teeth strong. Taking frequent sips of water or chewing sugar-free gum can help relieve dry mouth, but if these measures aren’t enough, ask your doctor or dentist about oral moisturizers or saliva substitutes.
  8. Relax. Add gum disease to the list of chronic health conditions that can be exacerbated by stress. Studies show that during periods of high stress, people are more apt to skip basic tooth care, like flossing, using mouthwash, or even brushing twice a day. That’s especially unfortunate because additional research shows that the stress hormone cortisol can aggravate symptoms of gum disease.
  9. Quit smoking. Smoking is a major influence on oral health; research shows that the habit increases the odds of developing gum disease, along with hindering many possible treatments.
  10. Floss, then brush. By flossing first, you can scrape off food trapped in the tight spots between teeth, which are prime spots for bacteria growth, and then brush it away.
  11. Keep up with cleanings. Regular six-month checkups allow your dentist to give your teeth a thorough cleaning and examine your mouth and gums for abnormalities.

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