They’re majestic, they’re robust, and they arguably win the title of cleanest mouth in the world. We’re talking about horses. And we can learn from a lot from them.
For years, humans have looked to emulate other things in nature. Whether it’s through architecture or technology, we’ve gradually inched our way back to the basics. The natural world, in a sense, provides a simple roadmap to otherwise complicated issues. The same thing goes with dental care. While the mechanisms between a horse’s and a human’s mouth may differ, they do offer enough similarities to take an example from.
What, then, can we learn from the cleanest mouth in the world? A few things. Especially regarding our dental health.
- Chewing your food correctly goes a long way
Mastication, or chewing, isn’t just a way for horses to consume their food. In horses, proper mastication serves another purpose. When horses chew their food the right way, they can self-clean their mouths. They break their food down into pieces small enough to be washed away by saliva. When this happens, a horse doesn’t have to worry about any stray sugars clinging onto their teeth.
While our mouths aren’t entirely that self-sufficient, there are still some things we can take away from this example. When we chew the right way, two things happen. For one, we break down the food we eat into easily digestible particles. For another, we signal our mouths to produce more saliva, which washes away these food particles. Chewing correctly, then, gives our mouths a good boost against plaque buildup by reducing the food particles bacteria can feed on.
- Saliva is your friend
Saliva plays a vital role in keeping a horse’s mouth clean. The more they chew, the more they produce saliva. And the more they produce saliva, the better their mouths can wash away food particles.
If you keep this in mind every time you eat, you can use this saliva flow to your advantage. When eating sugary food, for instance, save those treats ‘til the end of a large meal. Usually, at that point, your mouth has produced enough saliva to dissolve the sugars present in that snack. Aside from this, you can also incorporate saliva-friendly food into your daily snacks or meals to further promote this flow. In line with this, you might want to watch out for any foods that may cause a dry mouth, such as salty or baked snacks.
- Eat the right food for your teeth
Horses are a vegetarian species. They feast mostly on grain, grass, hay, and the like. This diet not only helps them in their mastication but also helps brush away any plaque that may film on their teeth.
We’ve discussed before the merits of eating healthy food for your teeth. Fibrous food, in particular, provides the same effect to human teeth as hay does to a horse’s. But don’t go munching on apples and carrots all day long. Remember that your teeth need other nutrients, too. And since humans are omnivores, you can vary your diet a bit with some eggs, cheese, and other tooth-friendly animal products.