Beat Tooth Decay with Beet Juice and More
When it comes to dental health, prevention is always better than maintenance. Do you want to keep a healthy smile? There are some key things you should remember: eat smart, keep your mouth hydrated, keep up with oral hygiene, and go to your dentist regularly.
In previous blogs, we discussed some of the aspects that go into preventing tooth decay and dental health problems. Tooth decay begins when plaque forms on your teeth and breaks down your enamel surface.
The bacteria in your teeth thrive on sugar to create acids that cause tooth decay. With that being said, you’ll most likely hear to steer clear of sugary foods for the sake of dental health.
While most foods with a high sugar content are considered bad for your teeth, a recent study from a University in Austria found that beets might not be so bad for your teeth after all. In fact, they even found that beet juice can actually slow tooth decay.
The study performed by the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria consisted of 25 participants who were given nitrate-free juice and 25 participants who were given a special nitrate-rich beet juice. They found that the people who drank the beetroot juice had less acid and bacteria in their saliva.
One thing I should note is that this special beet drink was invented specifically to help fight tooth decay. The drink is called Bio Drachen Trank, which translates to “Organic Dragon Potion.” The Organic Dragon Potion is made out of beetroot, Aronia berries, and elderberry juice with added calcium. While it’s marketed towards children to help wean them off of sugary soft drinks and juices that cause tooth decay, it’s also appropriate for adults.
The students invented the beetroot drink, because beets have a high nitrate content. When the human body digests nitrate it turns into nitric oxide in the saliva. Nitric oxide is known to slow down the growth of bacteria. Nitric Oxide is a free radical gas, which has powerful antibacterial compounds when it’s released at controlled levels in your body. It stops the growth of bacteria by damaging the DNA in bacterial cells. However, just like most things in life, beets should be consumed in moderation.
Bio Drachen Trank hasn’t hit the market in America, yet. However, you can easily make your own beet juice at home with a juicer or blender. You can also buy no sugar added beet juice from your local health food store. Beyond raising the nitric oxide level in your saliva, beetroot juice is known to reduce blood pressure. In order to get the dental health benefits of beetroot juice, you’ll need to make sure that you’re maintaining proper saliva flow.
Saliva Production, Mouth Breathing, and Dental Health
Proper saliva production is critical in safeguarding your oral health from dental decay. Have you ever noticed that when you breathe through your mouth too much, it makes your mouth dry? Breathing through your mouth can actually play a role in dental decay.
Most people breath through their mouths when they have a stuffy nose from a cold or allergies. Other people might have genetic malformities that cause them to breathe through their mouth. There’s a correlation between chronic mouth breathing and having a crooked bite. Chronic mouth breathing can also lead to facial abnormalities like small lower jaws, “weak chins,” and long faces.
While mouth breathing has a variety of negative side effects, the primary side effect is dry mouth. Saliva plays a vital role in carrying nutrients to your teeth. The nutrients are useful in rehardening your enamel to prevent tooth decay.
We also need saliva to wash away the bacteria in our mouths and around our teeth. Essentially, dry mouths are the perfect environment for bacteria to wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Not to mention, dry pores in your tooth enamel are easier for bacteria to attack than ones that are coated in saliva.
Beyond dental health benefits, proper saliva production is needed to digest food correctly. Digestive issues cause a variety of problems from gas to an upset stomach and acid reflux.
Tips to Help Against Mouth Breathing
There are a few steps you can take to help correct your mouth breathing woes. Here are some ways you can combat mouth breathing:
- Set reminders to breathe through your nose. If you find your mouth opening while you’re sitting on your desk at work, then write yourself a sticky note reminder. During this habit change, you should remember to sit up straight and keep your mouth closed as you breathe deeply through your nose.
- If you’re breathing out of your mouth because your nose is blocked, you can get in the habit of nose breathing by clearing your nasal passage. Oftentimes, saline sprays and Neti pots are a good way to clear your nasal passage.
- Do you have allergies? A lot of the time people have inflamed nasal passages from allergens in their sleeping area. One way to remedy this problem is by making sure you’re dusting frequently, washing your sheets in hot water, and getting rid of items that collect dust in your bedroom. Unfortunately, this might require you to move your bookshelf to the living room. You can also take some antihistamines to calm your sinuses.
- If you frequently wake up with a dry mouth from mouth breathing during sleep, you should invest in a humidifier. You can also use “breathe right” strips at night to open up your nasal passage while you sleep. You can also try rubbing vitamin E oil on your gums to keep your gums hydrated at night.
If you’ve tried everything possible to stop breathing through your mouth, I’d recommend visiting an ear, nose, and throat doctor to get to the bottom of your nasal problems. Prevent tooth decay by forming healthy habits.