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Why is Toothpaste Usually Mint Flavoured?

Why is Toothpaste Usually Mint Flavoured?

Although a wander through the toothpaste aisle at the supermarket will uncover a variety of different flavoured toothpastes, mint is by far the most commonly available, and the most commonly used. In all likelihood the toothpaste in your own bathroom is mint-flavoured - but why? Read on to find out about the history and benefits of mint-flavoured toothpaste…


The History


Mint leaves have been used in herbal toothpastes as far back as 500 BC in China, making it one of the oldest ingredients of toothpaste still in use today! Humans have experimented with different ingredients for toothpastes throughout history, ranging from abrasive soaps and charcoal to more fragrant herbs and spices, but not all of these have been successful. Mint continued to be a popular ingredient until Colgate started mass-producing the first tubes of toothpaste in the late 1800s, taking it from a common ingredient to a staple one.


The Benefits


Mint flavouring in toothpaste contains large amounts of menthol, which leaves a tingling sensation in the mouth and gives the brusher the feeling of freshness, which for many is an intrinsic part of their oral hygiene routines! But overall, there are no specific health or hygiene benefits to using mint as opposed to other herbs and spices - it’s just about preference! Mint also grows in abundance year round, making it an excellent ingredient to harvest and use in commercial products.


The Alternatives


Other flavouring ingredients have been used in toothpaste for as long as mint, such as cinnamon, fennel, anise, or even citrus. Different flavours create different sensations: where mint is cooling, something like vanilla is warming, and lime is refreshing. The concept of having minty-fresh breath is often comforting for people and gives the impression of having a cleaner or healthier mouth, but the reality is that as long as you are brushing twice a day with a good quality toothbrush and following up with flossing, the flavour of your toothpaste really doesn’t matter at all! Some people find flavouring in their toothpaste distasteful, and for this reason you can even find neutral or flavourless products on the market!


The Takeaway


So, despite having been used for millennia (literally) in oral hygiene care, mint actually has no specific benefits that can’t be gleaned from a good quality toothpaste with any other flavour. This is great news for those that baulk from the intense freshness - why not try something with a warmer taste, like clove? And if you feel that your mouth doesn’t feel clean without that minty freshness, rest easy that you’re doing no harm, and as long as it makes you feel good, continue as you are!

Is Oral Health Different for Men?

Is Oral Health Different for Men?

Although many aspects of human health are entirely non-gendered, there are some things which are determined or affected by gender, whether that be for biological or social reasons. For instance, women are known to have oral health issues directly linked to the hormones present during pregnancy, which is an issue that men don’t have to deal with. But are there oral health issues that are specific to men? Read on to find out…


Cause and Effect


Unfortunately, it seems that health education has let men down at some point, as studies show quite staggering differences in the understanding of oral hygiene between men and women. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that men are half as likely to regularly visit their dentist in contrast with women, and that up to 33% admit to not regularly brushing their teeth as compared to 20% of women. This shows we need to better educate men and boys about their dental health, as well as encouraging them to brush and go for checkups regularly!


Gums and Your Heart


Direct links have been found between cardiovascular, or heart, disease and gum diseases, which means that poor oral hygiene is directly linked to being at a higher risk of serious complications such as stroke or heart attack. Men are generally more likely than women to suffer from cardiovascular issues in their lifetime, which means that they should be especially vigilant when it comes to brushing their teeth!


Physical Risks


Men are generally more highly encouraged to take part in sports, especially contact sports, and activities which put their bodies in harm’s way. It’s important to take teeth into consideration when undertaking such activities and doing whatever possible to protect them, whether that means wearing a mouthguard while practicing martial arts or full-face helmets for extreme contact sports!


Men and Cancer


Men are at a much higher risk than women when it comes to developing oral cancer, which is especially concerning given lower attendance at dentists’ bi-annual checkups. Oral cancer is also affected by lifestyle choices, such as tobacco or alcohol consumption, so these are best limited (or stopped entirely!) to protect your mouth. Given that oral cancer symptoms can often manifest as other oral health issues, it’s important to monitor anything unusual going on in your mouth - if you have been experiencing discomfort or unusual symptoms in your mouth for more than a fortnight, make an appointment to see your dentist!


Keep in Mind


The most important part of your oral hygiene routine is consistency, so make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly twice a day! Consider investing in a sonic powered toothbrush for an even deeper clean and a more engaging brushing experience to encourage yourself to keep up with your routine!

Headaches, Migraines, and Your Oral Health

Headaches, Migraines, and Your Oral Health

Headaches and migraines are commonly suffered by people worldwide and can occur for a variety of reasons, from physical triggers such as atmospheric pressure to tension caused by stress or insomnia. But can your oral hygiene affect your headaches? Research in the dentistry field implies that, yes, your teeth can have a significant effect on headaches. So if you commonly suffer from headaches and can’t find an obvious cause, the answer may be in your mouth! Read on to find out which oral health issues directly impact headaches, and the best ways to alleviate both the cause and the symptoms…


Bad Bite


The most common oral cause for migraines is bad bite, or misaligned teeth, which can cause inflammation to your gums and muscles around the jaw, which then causes tension headaches and migraines. If you are concerned that your bite is misaligned, pay a visit to your dentist! There are many possible solutions, from orthodontic braces and surgery to retainers for nighttime use - once you find out which is the right step for you, you’ll be closer to banishing those headaches once and for all!


Bruxism


Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism is something that people experience for different reasons. Some find that they grind their teeth in their sleep, while others unconsciously grind their teeth due to stress or the use of stimulants, such as coffee. Common symptoms of bruxism include worn down teeth, disordered sleep, jaw pain, and - you got it - headaches! As a result of the different causes of bruxism, there are also a lot of different treatment possibilities to try out.  If you know that you grind your teeth due to stress, for instance, it is recommended to give yourself a jaw massage and do a relaxing activity before bed! You can also try out a night guard to protect your teeth from being ground down during your sleep.

 

Tooth Decay


Something as simple as a cavity can cause headaches if untreated, too, as the nerve endings around your teeth in your gums are connected through the jaw to the rest of your head, which is why sometimes a painful toothache can result in a pounding headache! If you know you have cavities, don’t delay treatment - it may result in more serious problems down the line. 


The Takeaway 


Unhappy and unhealthy teeth and gums can cause compounding problems, including headaches and migraines. If you suffer from frequent headaches without a known cause, it’s worth getting your teeth checked to make sure your headaches aren’t a symptom of an oral health issue! Avoid cavities and ongoing oral hygiene problems by making sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing twice a day with a good fluoride toothpaste. If you find yourself often missing out on your daily routine because you’re on the go, invest in a portable toothbrush to ensure that you’re keeping your teeth and gums clean and sparkling even at your busiest!
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