BODY and SOUL

Natural Teeth and Gum Helpers:Good for Your Smile and Your Body


| April/May 2005


Whitening toothpastes. Mouthwashes. Home bleaching kits. Our national obsession with white teeth and fresh breath has spawned an entire mouth-care industry. We are a nation obsessed with the appearance of our mouths. But the focus of all this obsession might be misplaced: In the scheme of things, how our teeth look and our mouth smells really don’t add up to much. The overall health of our mouths and gums, however, that’s a horse of a different color.

Research shows that our overall well-being is clearly linked to the condition of our teeth and gums. By cultivating good habits of dental health — and with help from herbs known to promote healthy teeth and gums — we can prevent tooth decay, gum disease — even heart disease. And, of course, we’ll have whiter teeth and fresher breath.

HEALTHY MOUTH, HEALTHY BODY

The bacteria in plaque thrive on the sugars and starches we eat, producing acids that attack tooth enamel and cause decay. A buildup of plaque at the gum line also lays the groundwork for gum disease.

Daily brushing and flossing sweep away most plaque deposits. But it takes only 24 hours for plaque to harden into calculus, a cement-like substance that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. It’s not possible to completely prevent calculus buildup with home dental care, so twice-yearly professional cleanings are a must.



While brushing and flossing are essential for preventing gum disease and tooth decay, other factors are also important. To keep your mouth healthy, follow the same basic principles necessary for general health and well-being: Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep and learn to manage stress. All of these factors keep your immune system in top condition so it can maintain the upper hand over the bacteria that cause disease.

HERBS FOR A HEALTHY MOUTH

Aloe (Aloe vera). Aloe leaf gel has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and helps heal gum inflammation and mouth ulcers. Apply a small amount of gel directly to the affected area.







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