If you remember and observe what your parents taught you about oral hygiene when you were a kid, you probably try to avoid sugary foods as much as possible and floss as often as you can. Not that highly refined sugars are not detrimental to your dental health, but they are not the ultimate enemy of healthy teeth. Haven’t you ever wondered why people who strictly avoid sugar and sugary foods still develop bad breath, recessed gums and tooth cavities? The reason behind all these problems, and your teeth and gums’ main nemesis is acidity. It enters your mouth through the foods and beverages you ingest and can even influence the level of acidity in your saliva.
In order to properly ‘safeguard’ your teeth and gums, saliva is supposed to be alkaline, not acid. Levels of alkalinity, a property diametrically opposed to acidity, vary according to the quantity of acidic foods and drinks you consume, as well as the duration of time for which these elements stay inside your mouth. Naturally, the more coffee and wine you drink, the more your teeth will be affected. Brushing your teeth with certain types of alkaline toothpastes will restore the alkaline properties of saliva and the aim is to offset the duration of the acid intake with that of alkaline intake. It is prolonged and repeated exposure to high acid levels that will cause damage to your teeth, eventually causing them to corrode, develop cavities and ultimately break into pieces.
The good news is that restoring alkaline levels in your mouth is not impossible and can be easily achieved through diet control. Simply make sure that you add an alkaline-based food at the end of each meal – your healthiest options are low fat dairy products (make sure they are not artificially sweetened, however!) and basically any type of nuts, especially almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Buttermilk and tea are also highly alkaline, as are certain oils, which you can take as dietary supplements or employ for cooking. Borage oil, cod liver oil, and evening primrose oil fall into the first category, with coconut oil and flax seed oil as viable options for those who want to add some variety to their cooking. Also, surprisingly enough, there is one particular type of sugar that will help bring back alkalinity into your oral cavity. It is plant-based, called Xylitol and available as a sweetener from various health stores, as well as contained in several brands of mints and mouthwash solutions.
Laura Hobbs, a professional dental hygiene expert, has spent the past five years writing about health, good teeth (how to get and keep them), and a host of other dentistry-related topics. She has always recommended Glebe Dental Group Sydney for their professionalism and quality of dental services.