Clean teeth, fresh breath and healthy gums are useful indicators of good overall health. Unless a problem arises, or it’s time for a dental checkup, one might remain unaware of the importance of their oral health. Teeth and tissues age along with the body, requiring proper nutrition and daily maintenance throughout their lifetime. As we grow older, it becomes ever more important to maintain oral health, especially if one wishes to retain their dazzling smile and keep their mouth looking younger than their years. While teeth are amazingly strong, anyone who has had a cavity knows they are not indestructible. Proper bushing, daily flossing and regular checkups are necessary, not only to prevent cavities, halitosis and inflamed gum tissues, but also receding gums, loose teeth and tooth loss associated with periodontal disease, a chronic bacterial infection, that affects not only oral health, but general health as well.
The mouth is a major point of entry for viruses, pathogens and bacteria. As part of the immune system, the mouth is well equipped to handle this environment. Even so, the integrity of the tissues can become compromised, as poor oral hygiene can result in swollen, bleeding gums at any age. Many of us may think we are past our cavity prone years once we reach adulthood. However, as we approach middle age, teeth and tissues become more vulnerable. It’s common for gums to recede with age, exposing more of the tooth’s surface near the gum line. Because the root of a tooth is not protected by enamel, decay can quickly take hold. Many adults who have not previously had cavities may be surprised at their next checkup.
Although not considered a normal part of aging, dry mouth is a common cause of tooth decay and gum disease in older adults, who are more likely to be on medications. Many prescription and OTC medications list dry-mouth as a side effect. Discomfort aside, good saliva flow is necessary to maintain good oral health, neutralize acids from bacteria, lubricate the tissues and aid the digestive process. Because dry mouth can lead to oral health complications, those with noticeable symptoms should increase their fluid intake and see their dentist if the problem persists.
Oral health can be affected by medical conditions such as diabetes, acid reflux disease and eating disorders. Chronic offensive breath can be caused by several factors, including strong smelling foods, trapped food particles, dry mouth, organ diseases, digestive problems and diabetes. Those with diabetes need to take extra care with their dental health, as high blood sugar increases oral bacteria, leading to a higher risk of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, possibly a result of generalized chronic inflammation and bacteria from unhealthy gum tissues.
Risk factors for gum disease include age, medications, tobacco use, stress, genetics, inflammatory diseases and poor nutrition. A healthy nutritious diet can help to maintain oral health and strengthen the immune system, leading to better overall health. The following nutrients provide support for good oral health:
- Magnesium helps to prevent cavities by building strong tooth enamel.
- Calcium supports tooth enamel and bone health, including the jaw bone.
- Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to aid in tooth structure maintenance and bone health. Vitamin D deficiency can result in dry mouth.
- Vitamin A supports tissue and mucous membrane health and helps maintain saliva flow, important for washing away food particles or harmful substances.
- Vitamin C supports tissue health, helping to prevent gingivitis, an inflammation of the gum tissues that can result in painful, red, swollen and bleeding gums.
- Zinc helps to prevent bacteria overgrowth, provides immune support and may lessen plaque buildup around the gum line.
- Vitamins B1, B2 and B3 help to keep gum tissues healthy and strong, and reduce the risk of developing canker or other painful mouth sores.
To maintain oral health and sweet smelling breath:
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat a healthy nutritious diet, low in sugar and higher in protein, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Brush 2 – 3 times per day with a soft bristled brush and be sure to brush along the gum line.
- Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles that are not easily removed by brushing.
- If you can’t brush, rinse. Swishing and rinsing removes trapped food particles.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking contributes to gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss.
- Address dry mouth issues by frequently sipping water or using a number of OTC products, such as dry mouth gum, lozenges or mouthwash to address symptoms.
- See your dentist as needed.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other quality products that support good dental health:
Good-Gums by Good-Gums – This chemically-free tooth powder soothes sore gums, supports healthy gum function, neutralizes bacteria, and helps build strong tooth enamel. Non-abrasive, gluten free, Non-GMO botanical formula.
Elgydium™ Whitening Toothpaste by Puralex Health Products – This unique formula provides extra-gentle, in-depth cleansing, helping to eliminate food and nicotine stains while protecting enamel. Internationally recognized for superior quality.
DentaVen™ by Premier Research Labs – This patented formula provides a highly desirable probiotic strain that colonizes and beneficially resides in the mouth in support of tooth and gum tissue health. Gluten and excipient free, Non-GMO formula.
Clovanol by North American Herb & Spice – This proprietary formula provides steam extracted clove oil often used in the dental field to support tooth and gum health. Non-GMO formulation.
HylaMints – Dry Mouth by Hyalogic – These teeth friendly, moisture-supporting mints provide oral comfort, enhance salivary function and naturally balance oral moisture. Vegan friendly, gluten free formula.
Common dental issues for people over 60. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/aging-and-dental-health
Important Minerals for Oral Health – http://www.123dentist.com/important-minerals-and-vitamins-for-your-oral-health/
Good Foods for Dental Health. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/good-foods-slideshow
Oral Health Library. http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Adult/GeneralInformation/
Linkages with General Health. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/SurgeonGeneral/sgr/chap5.htm
Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health. https://www.perio.org/consumer/other-diseases