Facts about teeth
Make taking care of your teeth a priorityImagine life without teeth. What a gruesome thought. But are teeth really that important? After all, there are blenders and smoothies, right?
The fact is teeth are very important. Of course, chewing without teeth would be extremely difficult. And despite advances in liquid nutrition and meal replacement drinks, studies show that people with an inability to chew properly are more like to suffer from a wide variety of other medical issues from diabetes and malnutrition to increased bone fractures.
And then there's the mirror....
Let's face it: a toothless mouth is unattractive. Losing teeth ages your appearance because the mouth and lower face will sink in. And there's not enough lipstick in the world to overcome that issue!
Have you ever counted your teeth?
If you have, you'll probably know that a healthy adult human has 32 permanent teeth. And then there's the set you shed for the benefit of the tooth fairy.
Most people have two sets of teeth during their lifetime, including twenty baby teeth - which are milk teeth or primary teeth - and the permanent set.
And in the beginning, there were teeth...
If you think teeth start to form when we're toddlers, think again. Our teeth actually start to form before we are born. (This is one of the reasons why it is so important for a pregnant woman to get enough calcium in her diet. Calcium helps keep her bones and teeth strong as well as the just-beginning teeth of the developing infant.)
Babies start to show their teeth through their gums at approximately six months of age, but some get them sooner.
When a child is between five and seven-years-old he or she will lose their first tooth. Eventually they will all fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. Forget what dentists tell you about how and why this happens. We know that in truth it's all about job security for the tooth fairy.
The pieces and parts of teeth...
Did you know that the enamel on a human tooth is the hardest substance in our body? (Yeah, I know. You think your teen is much more hard headed than any tooth. I hear you!) And much like teen hard-headedness, tooth enamal will wear down and erode over the years.
Our front teeth are called incisors and we have two canine teeth, much like the teeth of animals, which are used for tearing our food. The canine teeth are more pointed than the other teeth.
Our molars are used to grind food. Frequently, our final molars (called wisdom teeth) are removed because they have become ingrown and problematic. These special molars are not as important as they once were, given the changes in modern diet.
Blood and nerves keep our teeth alive. If a nerve that leads to your tooth is damaged this can cause your tooth to die and become discolored.
That's a heck of a bite...
Human adults put between 20 and 40 pounds of pressure on our teeth when the teeth make contact. Some people put as much as 250 pounds of pressure on teeth when they are chewing. Sometimes we break our teeth when we bite down onto something hard or chip a tooth against something; however, it is amazing what the teeth endure considering the daily beating that they take.
If you grind your teeth at night you are considered a bruxer. Bruxism can cause you to lose tooth length. Some grinders wear mouth guards at night to protect their teeth.
A tooth's biggest, badest enemies
An eating disorder such as bulima, where frequent vomiting occurs, can destroy the enamel on your tooth. If you suffer from acid reflux this will cause gum and tooth erosion.
Other substances also harm tooth enamel. People who spend a lot of time in a swimming pool that is overly chlorinated may experience the eroding of tooth enamel.
Citrus drinks and soda because these fluids are caustic and bad on tooth enamel. And chewy items like sugary gum, soft chewy candies and even dried fruit can be bad for teeth, as they tend to stick in crevices and cause decay.
Bacteria formed by the food bits cause tooth decay. When sugar is left on your teeth for a long time, this leads to the formation of bacteria, which develops into a sticky coating on your teeth, which is called plaque. Plaque consists of acid and this acid destroys the enamel on your teeth. When that happens, dentine is exposed and you get a toothache.
How are our teeth faring?
The answer is "not so well." Unfortunately, one in four adults over the age of 60 has lost all of his or her teeth. And millions more have lost at least a couple of teeth over the years.
What to do for your teeth...
Visit your dentist at least once or twice a year. A dentist will help you take care of your teeth and make certain that you have a smile you can show off. Maintaining general health and ensuring that our bodies receive essential nutrients will result in a beautiful smile. Excellent dental care and personal hygiene, including flossing, brushing and the use of anti-bacterial mouthwashes will help to keep teeth decay-free