Healthy teeth and gums not only give you a beautiful smile, but also indicate good oral health and hygiene that play a very important role in your life.
Good oral hygiene helps prevent cavities and stained or yellowed teeth, as well as bad breath. It is essential to your overall health as well.
Studies suggest that in addition to oral problems, oral bacteria and inflammation can lead to many other health problems, including heart disease, strokes, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease, diabetes and oral cancer. Women with oral disease also show higher incidences of pre-term, low birth-weight babies.
In addition, gum disease, tooth pain or other oral issues can affect people psychologically. The health of your teeth and gums has a direct influence on how you look, speak, chew and taste food.
It can even make some people shy away from socializing. Also, dental treatments are expensive and good oral health can help you save hundreds of dollars.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy from childhood to old age. For good oral health, the first step is to maintain proper oral hygiene.
It means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once or twice a day (preferably after dinner), rinsing your mouth after each meal and using a mouthwash at least once daily.
Here are the top 10 ways to get strong teeth and gums.
1. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling, also known as oil swishing, is an age-old practice used in Ayurveda that helps strengthen the teeth, gums and jaw while preventing tooth decay. It helps draw out bacteria from the mouth, keeps your gums healthy and brightens your teeth.
According to a 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research, oil pulling with sesame oil benefits in the treatment of plaque-induced gingivitis.
In addition, oil pulling detoxifies and cleanses the body, which is good for oral as well as overall health.
- Put 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth.
- Gently swish it around for about 20 minutes.
- Spit it out. Avoid gargling or swallowing the oil.
- Rinse your mouth out with warm water. Use salt water for added antimicrobial benefits.
- Brush your teeth as usual.
- Do this daily in the morning, on an empty stomach.
You can also do oil pulling with coconut oil.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
Turmeric contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help keep the gums healthy and teeth free from bacterial infection.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology found turmeric mouthwash to be effective in controlling plaque and preventing gingivitis.
- Add a little water to ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder to make a paste. Brush your teeth with it, a few times a week.
- Alternatively, prepare a paste with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon each of salt and mustard oil. Massage it on your teeth and gums once daily.
- You can also boil ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 cup of water, allow it to cool and use it as a mouthwash once daily.
3. Guava Leaves
According to a review of studies published in the Pharmacognosy Review in 2014, guava leaves are effective in the treatment of periodontal disease.
As an excellent antiplaque, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, guava leaves help maintain strong teeth and gums.
They also help keep your breath fresh and clean. Herbalists recommend using tender leaves or tender twigs of guava trees to maintain oral hygiene.
- Chew a few well-washed tender guava leaves thoroughly, then spit them out.
- You can also grind some tender guava leaves and use it as toothpaste to brush your teeth.
- Another option is to prepare a mouth rinse by boiling 4 to 6 guava leaves in 1 cup of water for about 5 minutes. Strain the water and allow it to cool. Use it as a daily mouthwash.
4. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, has antibacterial properties that help maintain oral health by easily destroying bacteria that cause cavities, plaque, gingivitis and gum disease.
In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, researchers found neem to be effective for treating plaque-induced gingivitis.
- Grind 2 or 3 neem leaves into a paste. Use this paste to brush your teeth a few times a week.
- You can also rub the juice from neem leaves on your teeth and gums, allow it to sit for 5 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. Do this daily.
- You can even use a twig from a neem tree to brush your teeth.
5. Green Tea
A 2012 study published in the Archives of Oral Biology found green tea to be a promising natural product in oral health.
The natural fluoride, polyphenols and catechins in green tea can destroy the bacteria that cause tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. It also prevents bad breath.
- Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea every day. To promote oral health, drink green tea without sugar or honey.
- You can even chew sugarless gum made with green tea.
According to a 2011 study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products, licorice root may help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Scientists reported that the two predominant compounds in licorice, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, help kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults.
- Use a little bit of dried licorice root powder to brush your teeth on a regular basis.
- You can also use a soft licorice stick like a toothbrush to brush your teeth daily.
Basil is good for oral health, too. It works as an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant. It can help destroy germs and bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for cavities, plaque, bad breath and more.
In addition, its astringent properties help the gums hold the teeth tighter, thus protecting them from falling out.
- Dry a handful of fresh basil leaves in the sun for a couple of days, then make a powder from the dried leaves. Use this powder to brush your teeth.
- Chew 4 to 5 basil leaves daily.
- You can also use cooled basil tea as a mouth rinse.
The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in peppermint also help maintain oral health and keep your gums and teeth healthy for years.
Also, a 2013 study published in the Journal of International Society of Backentive & Community Dentistry found that using a peppermint mouthwash can have a significant effect on the elimination of halitosis (bad breath).
- Put a handful peppermint leaves in a glass of hot water for 30 minutes. Strain, then use the solution to rinse your mouth. Do this regularly.
- Alternatively, put a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a glass of water, then use it to rinse your mouth.
9. Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, also promotes oral health. The vitamin C and other nutrients in amla can help strengthen the gums, support connective tissue health, combat bacteria in the mouth and prevent tooth decay and cavities. Additionally, it prevents bad breath.
- Thoroughly chew 1 to 2 fresh amla fruit daily.
- Also, you can prepare a mouth rinse by mixing 1 tablespoon of amla juice in ½ cup of water. Rinse your mouth with this solution once daily.
Salt can also help strengthen the gums and teeth. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Use this homemade mouthwash to rinse your mouth at least once daily.
- Also, prepare a mixture with ½ teaspoon of salt and enough mustard oil to make a paste. Use this paste to brush your teeth, then rinse with warm water. Do this daily in the morning.
- Replace your old toothbrush with a new one every two to three months.
- Use alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse away bacteria.
- Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper once daily to remove bacteria and toxins from the tongue and prevent bad breath.
- To maintain oral health, cut back on high-sugar foods.
- Do not use your teeth as tools to open a bottle or cut something.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water after eating your meals.
- Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also improve oral health and it helps clean your teeth and stimulates saliva production.
- Eating cheese can help reduce cavities as it neutralizes plaque acid.
- Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco.
- Include more foods rich in vitamin C in your diet.
- Take a vitamin D supplement, after consulting a doctor, to improve oral health.
- Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables like guava, apples, carrots or cucumbers after eating your meals.
- Wear a mouth guard while playing sports.
- Make sure to get regular dental checkups every 6 months.