Your teeth and gums are important. However, even if you brush and floss regularly, you may feel as though your efforts are just not enough to protect your oral health. There are more things that you can do beyond brushing and flossing to help keep your gums and teeth in optimal condition. Here are a two:
Use a tongue scraper.
The same tongue that you regularly use for talking and tasting can house thousands of microorganisms on its bumpy, grooved surface. The bacteria that reside on the tongue release acid that dissolves your tooth enamel. Nevertheless, when you brush and floss, most of your attention may be on your teeth and gums. Some people neglect their tongue altogether.
Even if you happen to be one of the people who does actually brush his or her tongue during every teeth-brushing session, you may want to invest in a tongue scraper. Results from a comparative study show that a tongue scraper removes more bacteria from your tongue than a soft-bristled toothbrush.
The study reviewed the reduction in volatile sulfur compounds, which are released by active bacteria. For participants who used a tongue scraper, the compounds were reduced by 85 percent. However, for people that cleaned their tongue with a toothbrush, the compounds were only reduced by 45 percent. The larger reduction in volatile sulfur compounds is indicative of a reduction in decay-causing bacteria.
Chew sugarless gum that contains xylitol.
Chewing gum can also help improve the health of your teeth and gums. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is sometimes used in sugarless gum. It has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of new tooth decay. In addition, xylitol can stop the progression of dental caries, and in some cases, even reverse them. Apparently, the positive effects on dental health are long-lasting, since low rates of dental decay continue even years after clinical trials have been discontinued.
Some oral bacteria are unable to digest xylitol in the manner that they can digest sugar. Thus, acid is not released by the microorganisms as a digestive byproduct that demineralizes teeth. The reduction of acid also helps prevent cavities by creating a less-than-optimal living environment for decay-causing oral bacteria that prefer acidic surroundings.
If you would like to protect your teeth and gums, add tongue scraping and chewing xylitol-sweetened gum to your dental hygiene routine. In addition, talk to your dentist about additional ways to promote oral health. If you have not had a recent appointment with a dentist, like Advanced Dental Professionals, schedule one today.