By Adewale Sanyaolu Despite being a country with the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, Nigeria, according to Foraminifera, a marketing and research firm, spends about N2 billion yearly on importation of asphalt, a derivative of bitumen. The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is twice the amount of existing reserves of crude…
Can you imagine your mouth without teeth? Needless to say you can’t eat most of the things you enjoy and even your ability to pronounce words clearly too, would be affected. Having teeth with cavities and decay would equally pose a problem. That said, you need to take care of your teeth every day in order to maintain it and prevent a lot of mouth problems which can be very painful and/or annoying. Brushing, flossing and using a mouthwash daily is essential in order to maintain good oral hygiene. However, what you eat also determines the health of your teeth and there are several herbs you can use to beat oral health issues like tooth decay, bad breath, mouth ulcers, gum disease, tongue bumps, yellow tongue and yellow teeth.
Try these botanical remedies to beat your oral health problems:
Cloves – if the mouth ulcer is causing a lot of pain, gently chew on a clove bud (kanafuru- Yoruba) making sure the juice so generated gets to the ulcerated area. The mild anesthetic effect of the clove will reduce the pain you feel. You may also boil some clove bud for five minutes over a low flame. And to prevent the ulcerated area from getting infected, make it a point to rinse your mouth with a little salt water or bicarbonate of sodium (baking soda).
Basil (nchuanwu, effirin) : The leaves have amazing medicinal properties and one of the important actions of basil is as an adaptogen – a substance that aids the body to adapt to stress. Chew a few leaves of the herb along with some water about three to four times every day. This will help the ulcers go away faster and also have a preventive action against their recurrence.
Honey : It is a natural humectant, helps to retain moisture and prevent dehydration. It also helps reduce scarring and hastens the process of new tissue growth. This, along with its anti-microbial effect, ensures faster healing of the mouth ulcer. You can either dab a little honey onto the mouth ulcer ormix with a little turmeric to form a paste before applying.
Coconut : It’s oil, water and meat are all beneficial for treating mouth ulcers. Drinking tender coconut water helps to keep the mouth in an alkaline state. Applying a little coconut oil directly onto the mouth ulcer or chewing some coconut (fresh or dry) helps to reduce pain and inflammation and this helps the ulcers heal faster.
Bad breath : This can be embarrassing and extremely unpleasant for those around you.
Water : Drink and also hold water in the mouth for a few minutes several times in a day to help fight bad breath. Keeping the mouth hydrated ensures that saliva does not dry up. Saliva tends to clean the mouth by diluting the bacteria. It is the bacteria and their by-products that are responsible for that offensive bad breath.
Vitamin C : It is known to fight bacteria. Oranges, lime, lemons, kiwis, mangoes, guavas and all citrus fruits rich in the vitamin help in keeping the breath fresh. When lemons and apples are taken, the salivary secretion gets stimulated. This literally bathes the mouth and rinses out the odor-generating bacteria in the mouth. So endeavor eating foods rich in vitamin C daily. You may have to avoid foods like onion and garlic, as they contain malodorous sulphur compounds.
Mint – most products available in the market claiming to freshen your breath use this ingredient. Tea made with mint leaves has a strong and cooling effect that will help freshen your breath.
Green tea : If you have bad breath, make this herb your friendly tea. Not only is green tea great for your overall health, thanks to its high antioxidant value but it’s also great for your mouth. It has anti-inflammatory potentials to prevent gum disease, prevent tooth loss and keep bad breath away. Drink a tea bag 2 X a day to prevent bad breath, it’s better than many commonly used items like chewing gums.
Cloves are excellent remedy for bad breath and also been traditionally used to alleviate toothache. You can either chew them raw or add it with your tea.
Fennel seeds : Say good-bye to even the worst bad breath with these exotic seeds. Fennel may not be too popular here but it is very popular in India, thankfully you can now purchase it locally from health stores. Make a strong tea with the seeds and use as a mouth gargle. Chewing them raw can give your mouth a strong aromatic fresh scent.
Cinnamon-is essentially good for the teeth and gums. For instant relief,chew on a small piece of cinnamon. The oil known for its antibacterial properties, would also help immensely.
Garlic-simply putting some crushed cloves of garlic directly on the affected tooth will help relieve toothaches due to its antibacterial and analgesic properties. Please note that using it in excess can be irritating to the gum.
Clove-grind a handful into a powder form and apply directly on affected tooth or simply bite on a clove. You will get instant relief from the toothache.
Gum disease: The best way to keep gum disease at bay is good oral hygiene. In most cases it can be reversed by practicing proper plaque control. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Floss once or twice a day preferably after dinner. Try these:
Neem (dogonyaro)– use the twigs to brush teeth instead of toothpaste and tooth brushes. Studies have shown that neem is actually as good as regular mouthwash.
The plant itself has immense antimicrobial and anti fungal properties.
Ginger : It is known to help maintain healthy teeth and gums and prevent plaque. Grate a finger of ginger and make a strong tea, dab onto the gum using cotton wool.
Basil : This highly valued herb is a natural antibiotic and is known to protect against bleeding gums. The antibacterial property of basil can prevent dental plaque build-up and eliminate bad odor too.
These can be painful, but they usually go away within a day or two. Children and adults can get them on the tip of the tongue, and they sometimes feel itchy or tingly. Tongue bumps have been linked to infections, food allergies, and sensitivity to oral hygiene products.
Aloe vera gel may help with the painand also treat any infection. Check your oral hygiene products as well.