Common dental health issues include plaque buildup, tooth sensitivity, cavities, and gum disease. Many factors determine overall oral health, including genetics, dental hygiene practice, and health conditions such as eating disorders, diabetes, and pregnancy. 1 2 3
In addition to addressing your overall health, visiting the dentist regularly, and keeping to a good dental hygiene regimen of flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day, there are a number of simple approaches that you can take to improve your oral health, naturally.
Natural Ways to Improve Oral Health
Watch What You Eat
Your diet contributes greatly to your oral health. Be mindful of what you eat and choose foods that will benefit your dental health. Eating more crunchy vegetables and fruits can help prevent tooth decay and other issues because they stimulate saliva production, and work to scrub away food particles stuck on teeth. 4
In addition to eating more crunchy, raw produce, you can support your oral health by limiting your intake of sugary and acidic foods, which contributes to tooth enamel erosion and tooth decay. 5 Chips and crackers are also notorious culprits to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your mouth
Foods to Increase
- Fatty fish
Foods to Avoid
- Sugary soda
- Sports drinks
- Hard candy
- Tomato sauce
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is often used as a sweetener in products such as sugarless gum and breath mints. It tastes similar to sugar but, unlike sugar, it promotes oral health and actively prevents cavities. Consuming xylitol helps neutralize the pH level of saliva, which creates an environment where cavities are less likely to form. 6
Sage has antimicrobial properties and research shows that consuming this herb can prevent plaque and reduce the presence of the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which causes tooth decay. 7 8 To reap the benefits of sage, you can steep the herb, fresh or dried, in boiling water and use the solution as a mouthwash once it has cooled. You can also add sage to your favorite herbal tea blend.
Don’t Forget Your Microbiome!
The mouth is part of the gastrointestinal tract, and imbalances in your gut flora can begin in the mouth. NDs can help guide you to a healthier balance of microbes in your whole body. They may recommend fermented foods or specific supplements to help restore balance.
Keep in mind that many underlying health conditions can negatively impact dental health. Speak to a naturopathic doctor to help identify any potential triggers. An ND will collaborate with you to come up with a diet and lifestyle plan tailored to your individual health.
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