Healthy teeth

There is a saying in my country: “two things have gone wrong for God, old age and teeth.” Anyway, the two are inextricably linked. Maintaining healthy teeth is often one of the biggest challenges. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to achieve this goal.

Very frequent brushing is NOT healthy, it destroys enamel and damages teeth. So does brushing immediately after eating an acidic meal. Contrary to appearances (and advertisements), studies have not shown any particularly large effect of flossing.

First thing, strontium, also mentioned in the topic about bones. Small doses of it are excellent at protecting against tooth decay. Studies have shown that in cities where large amounts of strontium salts were in the drinking water, tooth decay was much less common.

Quite popular (and deservedly so) is xylitol, or “birch sugar”. This substance “pretends” to be the food of harmful bacteria, which scrimp on it, but cannot use it. As a result, they literally starve to death. Admittedly, there are claims that xylitol should be better tested before it is considered a completely safe substance, but so far no one has managed to point out negative consequences of its use. It’s even possible that it has additional benefits, such as starving harmful bacteria in the gut as well. It’s quite expensive, so it should be used in, for example, coffee, something you drink for a long time, so your teeth have long contact with it. You can also chew xylitol gum or suck on candy.

There are oral probiotics. Just as in the intestines, health here depends largely on what kind of bacteria we have. The “good” ones can crowd out the “bad” ones, protecting us from tooth decay. In one study, kids who got to drink milk enriched with lactobacillus rhamnosus GG bacteria had tens of percent lower risk of cavities than those who got milk without it. I don’t know if there are preparations specifically for this purpose available in pharmacies in your country, but you can simply buy a regular probiotic containing this strain and sip it from a capsule into your mouth.

Vitamin K2 can have a big impact. Both MK4 and MK7 forms should be used – currently only MK4 has a demonstrated positive effect in studies, but MK7 has strong theoretical support.

Fluoride has both positive and negative effects. It is certainly harmful everywhere but the enamel, so you should avoid fluoridated water or swallowing toothpaste. Excessive amounts of it are also lethal to teeth, so in some regions you should definitely use pastes without it, but in others as much as possible the normal ones. Its deficiency on the surface of teeth is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of caries, so barring a few cities, fluoride toothpastes are a must, contrary to what you can read somewhere on the Internet.

Anyway, the one in drinking water has minimal protective effect, in countries that are not extremely backward, where people at least once in a while brush their teeth with a toothbrush and paste, water fluoridation does not have the slightest benefit, as confirmed by studies. Its effect is only a loss of health.