Although we know from Chinese medicine that the tongue is a projection of internal health, today we’ll learn 5 ways to keep the mouth healthy from a conventional Western perspective. 

Doctors say that they can tell about one’s health by examining the mouth. Problems that are exhibited by the teeth and gums are usually symptoms of underlying health issues in other parts of the body. Your oral health is directly linked to your overall health and you need to take care of your teeth and gums. By taking your oral health seriously, you will benefit from a great smile and a good quality of overall health. There are simple ways to protect your health and your teeth which I will share with you below.

1. Proper cleaning

Most people have heard this all their lives but it cannot be stressed enough. Brushing and flossing the appropriate amount is vital. Many people tend to skip flossing because, frankly, it is boring, painful, they notice bleeding, or it takes too much time. By brushing and flossing your teeth, you reduce the bacteria that grow in the mouth. Bacteria in the mouth can encourage cavity development in your teeth, and can lead to gum disease. It also causes halitosis or bad breath. The bacteria tend to grow more in the night when the mouth produces less saliva or whenever your mouth may be dry

You should never go to bed without brushing your teeth, however sleepy you may be. Brushing your teeth two times a day for at least two minutes will remove some bacteria and leave the mouth clean; flossing is even more essential because it removes the bacteria that are between the teeth contained in something called biofilm.

This is where most gum disease begins because between the teeth it is difficult to breakup biofilm with a toothbrush. There are different types of flosses in the market and you can choose a type that feels and even tastes good in your mouth. The important thing to remember is that you are using the floss to lightly buff the roots of the teeth and if you see bleeding and feel pain it is critical to floss those places MORE not less.

2. Good diet

Well, just like with the case of overall health, eating a good diet will help to keep your teeth, gums and bone support strong and healthy. Fruit and vegetables provide the nutrients that are vital for oral hygiene. Whenever possible, e.g. in the case of apples and pears, eat the fruit with the skin on as these hold the most vitamins and minerals.

While everyone knows about the benefits of eating apples, crunching on vegetables like carrots is also great for the teeth. Other leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale provide calcium, which is important for the health of the bones. Basically, a good diet will ensure that the gum remains healthy.

3. Avoid sugars

One of the biggest enemies of the teeth and of overall health is sugar. Sugar encourages the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Staying away from sweets will help you to maintain good oral health and decrease your risk for obesity, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If you have a ‘sweet tooth’ and find it difficult to stay away from the sweets, limit your intake and make sure you brush your teeth after consumption. Remember there is absolutely NO nutritional value to sugar and it is in virtually all processed foods.

Extra brushing is important to ensure that you do not get cavities. Drinking water immediately after taking the sweets is also helpful as it helps to sweep away some of the harmful substances. Sweets that ‘stick’ to the teeth are especially harmful, as they are not dislodged easily. Better yet, try to get rid of the sugar addiction–you’ll live a better life if you do.

4. Dental care

Visiting the dentist for regular checkup will help you to maintain good oral health. During the checkup, the dentist can look out for any issues that can lead to tooth problems. This will help to avert serious tooth problems or tooth decay.

Getting orthodontic treatment can also help to create a great smile. Crooked teeth can lead to tooth decay and other teeth problems. It easier to keep teeth healthy when they are straight because brushing and flossing is more manageable. Correcting teeth abnormalities has become a common procedure around the country as people strive to enhance their smiles. It is also critical to remember that bite problems are very prevalent and anyone pursuing any dental treatment should have a comprehensive bite evaluation by a trained practitioner.

Healthy and bright teeth can help to boost your self-esteem. Many people have difficulty smiling or being around others because of the state of their teeth. A good restorative dentist with training in bite problems or what is called “Occlusal Disease” will also help you to solve issues like teeth grinding that damages the teeth and jaw. Dental care is essential for anyone who hopes to maintain his or her teeth in good condition for years to come.

5. Exercise

As strange as it may sound, regular exercise does lead to healthy teeth and gums. When you exercise, you strengthen and increase your bone density. A strong jawbone leads to healthy gums and teeth. When bones become fragile or porous, it means that intake of the vital minerals required to keep the mouth and jaw strong is reduced. With time, the gums begin to recede and you will notice bleeding when you are brushing your teeth. Remember, a weak jaw compromises oral health, leading to many dental issues.

Jayden William is a health blogger and is fond of sharing dental care tips. He offers comprehensive dental care from preventive and regular oral health care to cosmetic dentistry and TMJ treatment.