While there are excellent, safe alternatives to mercury amalgam the better prevention is to avoid needing to repair teeth at all – so indeed, smart dentistry begins with prevention.
Prevention is so much more than brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day. In truth it is a whole slate of habits that support natural healthy smiles and some of them may surprise you.
Eat real, wholesome unprocessed food.
To have and maintain excellent oral and systemic health good nutrition is critical. Your teeth, gums and bony structure supporting them need an array of vitamins and minerals to stay strong. The key nutrients are vitamins D and K, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous as well as other trace minerals. A daily good mineral intake to re-mineralize your teeth is especially important. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E are important for your periodontal health.
Eating a varied diet based on whole – rather than processed – foods generally assures that you will get all the nutrients you need without the things you don’t need, such as synthetic additives, flavors, preservatives, sugar and colors. Local, organic and sustainable foods are best.
Science shows that exercise helps to reduce the risk of periodontal disease. After all, your body was designed to move. Let it be fun! Go for a brisk walk with a friend and catch up. Go for a run and see all the flowers in bloom. Kick a soccer ball around with your kids. Go hiking with your spouse. Play tennis with a co-worker. Attend yoga or tai chi classes – the possibilities are limitless! Striving for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, plus two days of muscle-strengthening activity is recommended.
From breathing, to transferring minerals throughout your body, to helping your kidneys filter blood, to aiding your muscles to move, water is involved in all of your body’s metabolic actions – water is essential to everything your body does!
We lose water every day and it must be replaced. We get some water through our food, but most of it, we have to drink. As for how much, the general rule is half your body weight in ounces daily.
One thing that is hotly debated in Australia is the need for added fluoride and with most of the western world, including the majority of Western Europe not fluoridating its water supply it’s not surprising.
At present, 97% of western European drinks non-fluoridated water. This includes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and approximately 90% of both the United Kingdom and Spain.
A study completed in May 2007 of European public opinion on water fluoridation, published in the journal Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, reports that the “vast majority of European people opposed water fluoridation.” And “Many felt dental health was an issue to be dealt with at the level of the individual, rather than a solution to be imposed en masse. While people accepted that some children were not encouraged to brush their teeth, they proposed other solutions to addressing these needs rather than having a solution of unproved safety imposed on them by public health authorities whom they did not fully trust. They did not see why they should accept potential side effects in order that a minority may benefit. In particular, water was something that should be kept as pure as possible, even though it was recognized that it already contains many additives.”
See the report here
So, if your water supply is fluoridated and you’d rather it not be then you could get a reverse osmosis filtering system to remove the fluoride, however if this is too expensive then look at buying a gravity fed Berkey Water Filter or drink non-fluoridated bottled water.
To see the Berkey Water Filter range click here
If you clench or grind your teeth, seek help. Bruxism can damage your teeth by placing a lot of stress on them. Clenching and grinding can cause headaches and jaw pain – eventually leading to TMJ damage or dysfunction. Chronic stress is a common trigger for bruxism and a major contributor to a host of health problems, including inflammatory conditions such as gum disease, heart disease and stroke. No matter if you’re a parent, a working professional, or college student, stress will find you, and how you deal with that stress makes all the difference. Taking time for yourself to do what you love, talk with a professional councilor, spend time with loved ones or just get some exercise, meditate or pray – do whatever helps you to keep stress levels in check.
If you snore loudly and often, seek help. Snoring is a sign that you’re not getting enough air during sleep. Often, this is due to the tongue or excess tissues around the top of the throat falling back as you relax, partially blocking the airway. In such cases, a simple oral appliance may be able to offer relief – and a better night’s sleep. However, snoring can also be a sign of a greater problem: sleep apnea. People with this condition actually stop breathing for brief periods repeatedly through the night. It can be deadly. A sleep study – either in a lab or with a take-home device – is needed to properly diagnose this condition. Once we know what the problem is, we can choose the best solution among the number of options available. In cases of mild to moderate apnea, an oral sleep appliance may be enough to correct the problem.
Smoking might make you look like a rebel – but only until you start losing teeth, as most smokers will over time. Simply, the gum disease and bone loss that smoking aggravates means less support for the teeth. In fact, smokers are 4.5 times more likely to lose teeth than non-smokers – but that risk drops significantly after quitting.
Most people are aware of the oral cancer threat, but smokers also have a higher risk of caries and gum recession, not to mention stained teeth, bad breath and a dulled sense of taste and smell.
Keep your dental appliances clean.
If you wear a partial denture, retainer or some kind of removable oral appliance be sure to clean it regularly to avoid bacterial build up. There are cleaning products available, but often baking soda and peroxide will do the job.
Prevention is better than cure!
Visit your dentist regularly – prevention is better than cure. The dentist isn’t just someone you go to when you’re in pain or have some other oral problem. Along with a good healthy balanced diet, exercise and rest, regularly visiting your dentist for a good check up and clean are also a key to maintaining good oral health. If you have good teeth and gums then twice-yearly visits are fine but if you have periodontal problems then more frequent visits are recommended.
Because it’s time to think differently about your dental health……