Your dental hygiene for preventing tooth decay needs less than a minute after each time you eat. Interdental brushes¹ can be kept in one's pocket or purse.
Food particles rotting between our teeth aren't nice and are incompatible with having sweet breath.
Starch particles don't smell, but cause trouble anyway.
Ptyalin is an amylase² in saliva which can then provide sugar for germs in dental plaque to ferment into cavity producing acid.
Plaque has been named and blamed as the cause of dental decay, but as always it isn't as simple as first thought.
Germs need food, so good food combined with dental hygiene prevents your plaque from housing dangerous cavity causing varieties. White flour products are good food for the wrong germs but not for us.
An important trial³ which hasn't been picked up on, was done with heat-killed probiotics, which still have undamaged bits of their DNA and can influence our immunity.
Chewable tablets of heat killed lactic bacteria or placebo were given once a week for 16 weeks to seven-year-old children. After 2 years of follow up a 42% reduction in the incidence of dental caries was observed in the experimental group compared to the control group.
This presumably worked by altering the germs in the teeth tartar.
Food allergy in children can cause mouth breathing.
Mouth breathing can directly contribute to tooth damage through drying. People with Sjogrens syndrome get very bad dental caries because of lack of saliva.
Mouth breathing alters the growth of the jaws, so there can be crowding of teeth, again predisposing to caries.
The book⁶ "Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life" by George Catlin is very straight forward (and very dated in the attitudes.)
Babies need their tongue fitting up against their palate and the insides of their teeth, to counteract the cheeks pressing the dental arch inwards. With mouth breathing the tongue is down in the floor of the mouth and the cheeks gradually push the teeth inwards.
I haven't read the original work, but here is a link⁴ to discussion based on May Mellanby's work.
You can download a pdf with a more complete summary from another page on the same site⁵.
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