Millions of Americans suffer from dental issues. Whether they’re dental carries (cavities), poor arches, bruxism (teeth grinding) or pyorrhea (swelling of the gums) your dental health goes a long way at determining your overall state of health and well-being. For an athlete, this could lead to lowered performance not only during competition but while training as well.
The Science Behind It
Science is now catching up to the 21st century, and people are finding out that poor dental health is more related to dietary deficiencies than flat out consumption of sugary and acidic foods. Poor soil nutrient quality leads to low mineral concentrations in vegetables and fruits. Studies show that plants are losing some of their vitamin content.
Without proper vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, teeth begin to lose their strength, become brittle and may even become sensitive to heat and cold. Without an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals, the body won’t function at its peak. For athletes, this means decreased performance. Without proper nutrition, muscles won’t heal properly, and injuries might occur that otherwise wouldn’t have. Studies also suggest that poor mouth health can correlate to a risk of cardiovascular disease and heart problems.
How To Prevent It
There are a number of things individuals can do to improve dental health on their own. Using mineralized toothpaste may help redeposit minerals onto the teeth and help to refortify the enamel. Brushing and even flossing after meals helps keep food particles from penetrating the delicate gum line, possibly leading to inflammation and then infection.
Old School Remedies
An old Ayurveda medical practice for improving mouth health is known as oil pulling, and it’s recently come out to the public as a very good way to clean between the teeth and remove bacteria. Oil pulling is easy and can get done while you get ready for your day in the morning. To do oil pulling, you first need quality oil. Sunflower oil and sesame oil both work well because of their viscosity, or essentially its thickness. Coconut oil is another good oil to use, because of the medium chain triglycerides Capric, Caprylic and Lauric acid – which all have very good anti-microbial properties.
When oil pulling, you are trying to suck the oil or “pull” it through your gums. You aren’t to just swish it around in your mouth like a mouthwash. New practitioners of oil pulling may only need around 5 to 10 minutes of pulling, but in time you will want to work up to 20 minutes twice a day (upon rising and before retiring for bed).
So you can see how dental health can relate to ill health elsewhere in the body. Dental care is especially important, and there are a number of all natural ways to address dental problems. Visit your preferred dentist regularly to make sure you’re on the path towards a healthier mouth.
Becca is an avid health and nutrition blogger. She’s currently working with Dr Patricia Hunter in Richmond, BC to help educate the athletes about the role dental care plays in performance.