Dental health across the globe is an enormous problem. Despite the tireless work of dental professionals, almost every population in the world has overwhelming oral health concerns. Dentists help patients by extracting teeth and providing restorative care, but our current approach to prevention needs to be updated and become more effective. We have new knowledge about the oral microbiome and motivation from studies that show dental disease impacts general health in many catastrophic ways.
A Lifetime Of Health
My goal is not to scare anyone, but explain why we should take oral health more seriously. The oral microbiome of a child transfers to their adult teeth, and eventually constitutes over 40% of their oral microbiome in adulthood. This means the oral health of children is very important - yet statistics show we have an epidemic of disease and decay in preschool children in the United States. We also know 90% of adults in this country have decayed, missing, or filled teeth. Of course we do not see these problems in our population at large, because this damage is skillfully masked by dentistry. Just imagine if we removed the veneers, crowns, fillings, bridges, implants, and dentures from everyone’s mouth. I believe we would be shocked by the damage this horrific and progressive disease causes. Poor oral health is a worldwide problem that decimates smiles and also causes serious damage to our general health in a variety of ways.
For over a hundred years many people have believed that dentists control oral health. Today we know dental problems are from an imbalance in our mouth’s microbiome and that only an individual controls the health of their teeth and gums. Naturally, it’s great to have professional oral health evaluations and necessary care, but dentists cannot prevent dental disease any more than an orthopedic surgeon can stop your bones from breaking.
Three (3) Steps To Oral Health
Oral Disease is an imbalance in our mouth’s microbiome. There are logical ways to help rebalance the mouth’s microbiome, but for maximum disease prevention, it’s more effective to nurture the development of a healthy microbiome in early childhood and sustain it as adult teeth erupt. Good oral care and preventive daily habits can help maintain this state of oral health, potentially for life. Here are 3 important steps to Oral Health:
1. Nurture A Healthy Microbiome
Regular use of xylitol helps nurture a healthy oral microbiome and simultaneously helps reduce harmful plaque bacteria in the mouth. Parents can be carriers of dental infection and studies show that mothers who consume small amounts of xylitol daily, during the first year of their baby’s life (as their baby’s teeth erupt) can substantially reduce the chance of decay in their child’s teeth. Pregnant women who ate small amounts of xylitol gum daily, were at less risk for preterm birth.
Read an interesting study here.
Xylitol can be used to protect baby teeth as they erupt. The prevention of Early Childhood Caries is important and xylitol can be used effectively if you follow these simple steps.
Regular use of xylitol will promote a healthy microbiome as a child grows. Toddlers and older children can enjoy xylitol in various ways - like Zellie’s mints or gum. A favorite for children is Zellie’s Cherry Berry Mints. Xylitol helps nurture healthy bacteria, feeding them as a prebiotic and simultaneously making plaque bacteria less sticky and more easily removed. Developing a healthy oral environment is important as adult teeth erupt in the years between Kindergarten and adulthood. Children can be encouraged to have xylitol as a quick dissolving mint before nap or bedtime.
And For Life!
Good nutrition-that supports a healthy oral and gut microbiome – is vital for a lifetime of good health. Xylitol can be eaten by adults and children at the conclusion of meals and after drinks to nurture healthy bacteria and limit mouth acidity, which can easily damage the health of the oral microbiome.
2. Clean Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes are infected by a single use, and dirty toothbrushes spread infection. Brushing adult teeth can improve gum health, but not if the brush is infected. Toothbrush hygiene is important. One of the best ways to disinfect a toothbrush is to allow it to air dry for 24 hours between uses. Replace your toothbrush frequently - about every 3 months.
In countries where toothbrushes are not available, an interesting option is the Miswak chew stick. The Miswak is recognized in many parts of the world as an effective tooth-cleaning device. This chew stick naturally contains fluoride, silica, and resins to help teeth. A chew stick can massage gums and be discarded, or the end of the stick cut off to prevent reinfection at the next use.
3. Topical Fluoride
Fluoride is last on this list because it cannot help to promote a healthy oral microbiome. On the other hand, correct use of topical fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel and effectively help teeth resist damage from trauma or disease.
All adult teeth, especially adult molars, are soft when they erupt. This puts them at increased risk for cavities. Use of a sodium fluoride toothpaste (Crest Cavity Protection Paste) or 0.05% sodium fluoride rinse (ACT Zero Alcohol) can encourage minerals to be absorbed into the enamel of new molar teeth, to strengthen and harden them.
If we strengthen teeth daily, we can help protect them from damage throughout life - at any age.
My Complete Mouth Care System
My Complete Mouth Care System is a specific collection of oral care products that promote the strength and health of adult teeth. When used in this specific method, these products work in harmony to balance the mouth’s biochemistry, leaving teeth cleaner and gums healthier than when any of these products are used alone. It only takes 5 minutes, twice a day, to protect your smile and improve your oral health!