Maintain good oral hygiene (i.e., brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit the dentist regularly). Eat a nutritious diet rich in calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin A. Quit smoking. But what if you’ve already done all these? Does it mean you’ve exhausted all “oral health enhancers” possible – and that the current state of your teeth and gums is the best it could ever be?
Well, there may be just one thing you haven't tried nor thought about trying: collagen. But wait. What does collagen (most associated with dewier skin, thicker hair, and stronger nails) have to do with healthier teeth and gums? Let’s find out.
How does collagen help your teeth?
#1: Promotes tooth pulp health
Like most people, you may believe that your teeth are made up of bones. If that were true, it’d explain why collagen is beneficial for teeth health; collagen (more specifically, type 1 collagen) represents more than 90% of the organic matrix in bone, after all. But here’s the shocker. Teeth are not bones. Understand the differences below:
- Bones:Living tissue that's constantly being remodelled and regenerated. Made up of collagen and calcium phosphate.
- Teeth:Not a living tissue, so it cannot regenerate or repair itself if there's significant damage. Comprised of four different tissue types: dentin, enamel, cementum, and pulp.
Right. So, what’s up with all this talk about collagen being crucial to the health of your teeth? While the outer layers of your teeth (i.e., enamel, dentin, and cementum) do not have any collagen composition, that changes as you dive deeper inside the tooth – right into the pulp that essentially makes up the centre of the tooth. All three collagen types can be found within the pulpal nerve tissues.
The tooth pulp plays three essential functions: 1) create dentin, 2) provide the dentin layer with moisture and essential nutrients, and 3) sense changes in temperature or pressure. Meaning? Supplying your body with an adequate amount of collagen could promote tooth pulp health, which, in turn, contributes to optimal tooth function.
#2: Encourages firm tooth anchoring
Yes, your teeth aren't bones – nor do they contain bones. But that doesn't mean the rest of your oral cavity is free from bones. Think about it: what holds your teeth firmly in place? Well, it's none other than your jawbone (also known as alveolar bone), the bone that contains the tooth sockets and surrounds the teeth's roots. And given that collagen supplements have been shown to enhance bone density (remember, collagen makes up more than 90% of the organic matrix in bone), we can safely assume that they’ll encourage firm tooth anchoring to the jawbone as well. Bye-bye, shaky teeth.
How does collagen help your gums?
Your gums are made up of gingival fibres – connective tissue fibres primarily composed of type 1 collagen, although type 3 fibres are also involved. And with that said, the importance of collagen supplementation for gum health should immediately become clear to you. But where’s the evidence? As we all know, just because something makes logical sense doesn't necessarily mean that it's correct.
Well, that’s where this 2012 study comes in. The researchers found bovine collagen capable of enhancing gum integrity – resulting in thicker gums around the teeth and, in more than half the participants, complete coverage of exposed tooth root surfaces. Scientists aren't sure of how (and why) bovine collagen works to regrow and regenerate gum tissues, exactly, but the critical thing to know here is that it works. And sometimes, that's all that matters. For now, at least.
Collagen can indeed enhance teeth and gum health. And while the specific mechanisms through which collagen supplementation helps may sometimes be unknown, the research remains promising. Still on the fence? Remember that there are plenty of other well-documented reasons to start a regular collagen routine, anyway – from a more youthful-looking complexion to pain-free joints (better still: it’s also pregnancy-safe!)
Oh, and if you’re hunting for a quality bovine collagen source … look no further than The Collagen Co. Our products are made different. A good kind of different. And it's a difference you'll be able to see and feel; shop here.