Your mouth is an important organ in the body. It’s the entrance to the body. Digestion starts in the mouth. If you have missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures you can’t chew properly which may affect your digestive system.
The mouth has a lot to do with how confident you are. If you have constant bad breath, yellow stained teeth, cavities and misaligned teeth, you won’t have a confident smile, or feel comfortable speaking to others, not to mention kissing anyone.
Your mouth also has an effect on general health.
For example, gum disease (periodontal disease) may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Dry mouth increases chance of gum disease, and also tooth decay. Eliminating and preventing dry mouth can contribute to a healthy mouth.
There are many causes for dry mouth - systemic illness, side effects from medications, and poor oral hygiene. With a dry mouth, your mouth becomes more acidic. This allows harmful bacteria to thrive, producing acid, and increasing plaque formation, which if left converts to tartar.
Dry mouth contributes to gum inflammation, bone loss and eventually, tooth loss.
Two ingredients in your daily oral hygiene products promote dry mouth - alcohol, and sodium lauryl sulfate, referred to as SLS. It was used originally as an engine degreaser and industrial detergent, now used as a foaming agent in many personal care products. It has been reported in two studies that it also exacerbated canker sores.
Other ingredients to avoid include: artificial dyes and sweeteners, botanicals, such as plant extracts, and essential oil which have very little or no effect on a healthy mouth.
For example, tea tree oil is an anti-fungal drug used in some toothpaste and mouthwash. If you don’t have a fungal infection, why would you want to use a toothpaste or mouthwash that contains tea tree oil? Charcoal in toothpaste is another ingredient to avoid. The American Dental Association warns it may be too harsh and abrasive.
Mint and all mint family flavorings are an allergen according to the American Academy of Dermatology and studies show it can result in extreme dry lips and rashes around your mouth. Of course most toothpaste and mouthwash contain some form of mint.
Fluoride in toothpaste is another ingredient to be aware of. On the back of every tube of toothpaste with fluoride there is a warning: keep out of reach of children under the age of 6. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, contact a medical professional or poison control center right away.
This warning is there because children under the age of 6 years can’t spit. If a child under the age of 6 years old, does swallow a quarter of a yummy candy flavored toothpaste, it can be fatal.
So what’s needed for a healthy mouth? Same as any organ: keep it clean with gentle products, hydrated, drink adequate amounts of water, eat healthy nutritious food and manage stress.
As far as ingredients, xylitol has been shown in initial studies to help prevent tooth decay. It also helps promote saliva which may help prevent dry mouth. Instead of artificial sweetener, xylitol can make a toothpaste taste good as well due to its natural sweetness.
Baking soda helps remove surface stains and bring about a more alkaline environment in the mouth, which is what you want.
Cleure flavor free toothpaste is fast becoming the #1 toothpaste recommended by dermatologists.
For tips and information on how to have a healthy mouth, visit our Advice by Concern Blog!