When it comes to tending to our health, most of us don’t give our teeth the attention they deserve. Typically, we are most concerned about our chompers from an aesthetic standpoint which is fine. But, poor oral hygiene has been linked to increasing the risk of other health problems, such as heart disease. If you are interested in natural substances that may improve your health and appearance of your smile, here are a few worth considering.
While the name may not have a great ring to it, it naturally contains a substance widely available in commercial toothpastes and mouth rinses to reduce the formation of plaque. Look for natural toothpastes containing sanguinarine to get the dental benefits of blood root.
Gotu kola, a popular herbal treatment in the traditional Indian medicine system of Ayurveda, is commonly used for improving dental health. It may be particularly useful if you suffer from gum disease. It is meant to be taken orally, and you should aim for a dosage that provides 30 milligrams of its key active component, triterpenic acid, twice a day.
The mineral zinc plays an important role in various aspects of our health, and it is particularly active in promoting gum health and keeping plaque at bay. You can either take it in supplement form—30 mg of zinc picolinate—or use a mouth wash that contains 5 percent zinc.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea contains powerful compounds that have been found to offer numerous benefits to our health, from increasing fat-burning to reducing the risk of certain cancers. When it comes to oral health, it appears to work on a few different fronts. It contains a particular antioxidant that appears to strengthen the connection between teeth and the gum line, and improve overall gum strength. Secondly, it appears to block the actions of certain enzymes linked to inflammation, which can worsen gum disease and prolong healing of oral infections.
Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that appears to offer many benefits in the body, from improving heart health to easing muscle pain. Poor oral health has been linked to low levels of Q10, which appears to play an important role in repairing damaged gum tissue and easing inflammation. One study in Japan found using a toothpaste containing coQ10 led to a significant improvement in gum infection and inflammation.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been found to have strong antimicrobial properties, and has been successfully used to treat a variety of conditions resulting from bacteria, fungi and viruses, such as acne and athlete’s foot. Because of its ability to fight bacteria, it may be useful for fighting gum disease and its uncomfortable symptoms. One study found brushing with a tea-tree oil gel significantly reduced gingivitis and bleeding compared to a placebo group. Make sure you use commercially prepared products, and not pure, undiluted tea tree oil.
I remember a sticker in my dentist’s office that read ‘’ignore your teeth and they’ll go away.’’ It is easy to neglect our oral health because there does not seem to be any immediate consequences, but eventually, poor habits will catch up with you. There may be a variety of procedures to improve the appearance of your teeth and treatments to address damage already done, and it is a good thing they exist. But, your best bet is to be proactive in caring for your teeth, and preventing damage.
Kelli Cooper is a writer who has seen the benefits of using herbs and other natural health treatments in her own life, and is passionate about educating others.
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