A good oral care practice to maintain healthy teeth and gums seems like a no-brainer, right? Brush and floss your teeth twice daily, visit the dentist regularly and maintain a balanced diet.
But what if you keep an A+ routine but are still having issues? Does it mean you've tried all "oral health enhancers" possible – and that the current state of your oral care is as good as it gets?
Well, there is probably one thing you haven't tried or thought about: collagen. But what does collagen have to do with healthier teeth and gums we hear you ask?
Let's find out.
How Collagen Helps Your Teeth
Many people believe that teeth are made up of bone when the truth is they are mainly made up of collagen. More specifically, type 1 collagen which makes up more than 90% of the organic matrix in bone, so teeth are not bones, and it's important to understand the difference.
Bones: Are Living tissue that can regenerate. They are made up of collagen and calcium phosphate.
Teeth: Are not living tissue and cannot regenerate or repair themselves if there's significant damage. Made up of four different tissues: enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp.
You won't find any collagen in the outer layers of your teeth (i.e., enamel, dentin, and cementum), but once you reach the pulp, which is essentially what makes up the centre of your tooth, you'll find it. The pulpal nerve tissues contain all three types of collagen.
Keeping Your Teeth Anchored in Your Mouth
So we now know that teeth aren't bones – nor do they contain bones. However, the rest of your oral cavity still contains bones. Take a moment to consider: what holds your teeth firmly in place? Well, that would be your jawbone (also known as alveolar bone), which surrounds the roots of your teeth and contains their sockets.
Collagen supplements have been shown to enhance bone density (collagen is 90% of the organic matrix in bone), so we can assume that they will also strengthen tooth anchorage to the jawbone.
How Collagen Helps Your Gums
According to a 2012 study, bovine collagen can enhance gum integrity, resulting in thicker gums around the teeth and, in more than half of participants, complete coverage of exposed tooth root surfaces. While scientists aren't sure exactly how (and why) bovine collagen works to regrow and regenerate gum tissues, they do know that it does.
Vitamin C - Supporting Your Natural Collagen
Whilst its great to support teeth and gums with collagen supplements, its also important to nurture your natural collagen. Vitamin C is vital in the production of collagen. Without Vitamin C, the body can't form collagen, making this antioxidant an essential cofactor in collagen synthesis.
You may want to consider a Vitamin C supplement or using a toothpaste with Vitamin C to help support your gum health.
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