A few weeks ago we went out on an all-out search to find interesting facts about the reasons why we should worry about our oral health habits, and why we should know a few facts about our teeth. The interviews with astounding medical professionals from the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, Metro Dental in Richfield, Neibauer Dental Care, Aspen Dental Tulsa and Imako cosmetic teeth, located across the midwest led to this article, which we think offers a clear view of why taking care of your teeth is so important.
“Did you know that dental health care has been a priority for thousands of years?” said Ben. I really didn’t understand what he was talking about. As far as I knew the dental profession was only a recent development, one of maybe a couple of hundred years old. Dr. Massell went on and explained, “While a visit to your favorite dentist may be a relatively modern phenomenon, people have worried about their teeth since about 500 B.C., a time when the ancient Greeks invented a type of toothpaste from iron rust and coral powder.” It was here that I learned that Dentistry is an ancient profession, one that Ben Massell is proud to be a part of. In fact, he said, “this is why I studied Dentistry. I am a part of an ancient profession that really cares and worries about people and their oral health.” Of course, we can’t leave any of the other professionals from the other dental clinics we interviewed out either. All of the doctors we interviewed, including those at Metro dental, Neibauer Dental and Imako, heartily agreed and feel the same in this firm statement.
Thankfully, we no longer use branches and twigs to brush our teeth. Dental care has advanced quite a bit since then, and think good we have cheap veneers to cover up dental flaws and yellowing stains. Today, everyone, no matter what their age or the state of their oral health can have a beautiful smile. Still it is important to realize how much we rely on our teeth to help us eat and keep our entire body healthy and happy. Knowing these 10 teeth facts can give you a little more insight into how amazing your teeth really are, and armed with this awareness you may want to protect and care for them a little more.
1. According to the Metro Dental Richfield Clinic: Your Teeth Are A Very Personal Feature
In a recent conversation with the professional team at MDRC (Metro Dental Richfield), we learned that every person has a set of teeth that are uniquely their own. In other words, your teeth are just as identifying as your fingerprints. That’s why the police sometimes use dental records to identify human remains.
2. The Pros at Metro Dental Say That Your Teeth Are a Bit Like Icebergs.
The part of the tooth we can all see is not all there is to behold. About a third of each tooth lies underneath the gums.
There are several things your dentist considers when he gives you a routine checkup,” says Ben Massell from the Ben Massell Dental Clinic. “We always look at the following:”
- The Crown – The part of the tooth that is visible to everyone. He will inspect the shape of the crown to determine its proper functionality. For instance, the front teeth should be sharp and shaped like a chisel for cutting foods, while the molars should have flat surfaces for grinding.
- The Gumline – This is the area where the tooth meets the gums. It is here that plaque and tartar build up when people don’t use proper brushing techniques.
- Root – the tooth that is held by the bone. This is the area that makes up about two thirds of the tooth. The tooth root holds the tooth in place throughout a persons lifetime.
- Enamel – This is the outer layer of the tooth and the hardest part of the body. Still, your teeth can decay if you don’t care for them properly.
- Dentin – this is the layer that lies under the enamel and when decay progresses through the enamel it then attacks the dentin, and because this is softer material, the bacteria can flow through the dentin tubes to reach the dental pulp.
- Pulp – The doctors at Neibauer Dental Care defined the pulp for us as being a soft tissue located in the center of a tooth. It is here that we can find nerve tissue and blood vessels, and if decay reaches this area, there is an intense pain that doesn’t go away.
3. The Neibaur Team Says, “You Have 32 of The Wonderful Pearly Whites.”
Adults have 32 teeth in total. Starting at the front of your mouth, you’ll find eight incisors (front teeth), four canine teeth, eight premolars and 12 molars, and every one of these has a specific function.
- Incisors— these are the sharp front teeth you use for cutting food.
- Canine teeth – also known as cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points and you use them to tear food before you chew.
- Premolars – are teeth with two pointed cusps on the surface and you use them to crush and tear food.
- Molars – are the teeth you use for grinding food and have several cusps on their surface.
The Tooth Enamel Is The Hardest Part of the Human Body
Your tooth enamel is the outer shell of your teeth, and its primary purpose is to protect the inner dentin, nerves and blood vessels. This enamel is made of calcium and phosphate much like human bone but is even stronger because of the specific crystallites it contains.
It is basically translucent say most endodontic specialists. You can see light through the enamel so it is the interior dentin that is primarily responsible for your tooth color, whether that be white, off-white, yellowish or grey. Of course, if you drink a lot of coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juice, cola, or if you smoke, then you can stain the enamel of your teeth even further. “To prevent this from happening you need to make regular visits to your dentist,” say the specialists at Imako cosmetic teeth. The lead doctor here at ICT said, ”Regular professional cleaning helps remove surface stains and keeps teeth healthy.”
4. But it isn’t invincible Say The Endodontic Specialists at Smiley Dental
Up until the early part of the 20th century, people often thought that toothache were caused by a tooth worm that lived in the gums. When the pain subsided the worm was resting. Like many beliefs in history, this is now quite a silly thought.
The dental professionals at Smiley dental tell us that in reality, the pain is caused by a break or crack in your tooth enamel, and that this enamel is much like human bone, in that once it is chipped or when a portion is lost, it can’t be retrieved. Your body can’t make new enamel. That’s why all of the doctors interviewed agree that it’s important for everyone to know how important tooth enamel is. This way, you can make it a life-long goal to protect the enamel you have. Your dentist can also help you strengthen and repair the tooth enamel through a process known as remineralization. This takes place by using products that contain calcium and fluoride.
According to the American Dental Association and other endodontic dental professionals, such as the Aspen Dental Tulsa Doctors, fluoride offers a protective layer to teeth, sort of a barrier between your teeth and the acids that the foods you eat produce.
While lost tooth enamel can’t be replaced, weakened enamel can be repaired, so long as the erosion hasn’t removed this hard shell completely. Still, the most effective solution is to keep your teeth healthy, and you can do that through prevention by visiting your dentist twice a year. You can also take other preventative measures such as using an enamel-strengthening toothpaste and changing damaging behaviors like teeth clenching.
We Can Keep Tooth Enamel Healthy with These Tips:
- Avoid acidic foods
- Use an enamel-strengthening toothpaste
- Drink juice or sugar-filled drinks through a straw to prevent contact with teeth.
- Sip water while you eat to wash away particles that cling to teeth
5. Yellowish Teeth Mean Decay
It is just too easy to brush-off yellowing teeth as a stain problem. Enamel is “to-a-degree” responsible for your tooth color and when it erodes you teeth start to yellow. Decaying enamel can also cause pain. To protect eroding enamel, many dentists will recommend some sort of the cheaper veneers options, as these will protect the enamel from further erosion.
6. Dentin grows, enamel doesn’t.
Dentin is the layer that sits under the tooth enamel, and it is also harder than bone, but less so than the enamel. Dentin is a hard substance with small channels and passageways that transmit nutrition and nerve signals to the interior tooth nerve and pulp. Amazingly, Dentin continues to grow where enamel doesn’t.
Dentin is unique in that it:
- Continues to form throughout your life
- It can be made to grow further as a counter response to tooth decay.
7. “Truly Unusual,” Say the Guys at Aspen Dental Tulsa: Your Mouth is Home to More than 700 strains of Bacteria
What is so amazing is that you have both good and bad bacteria in your mouth. You can’t see them, feel them or taste them, but there are hundreds of micro-organisms living in your mouth. Most of these are harmless, some are even beneficial as they offer probiotics that help in the digestion of food. Other types even protect teeth and gums. However, there are a few that cause tooth decay, and these are the ones we want to protect our teeth against, suggest the pros at ADT.
The two most harmful types of bacteria in your mouth are Streptococcus mutans and orphyromonas gingivalis
Stretococcus mutans – the bacteria that most often lives your mouth and feeds on starches and sugars you eeat. The by-product of this organism is an enamel-eroding acid which causes tooth decay in humans.
Ophyromonas gingivalis – a bacteria not usually present in a healthy mouth but when present, it does cause periodontis. Periodontis is a disease that affects your gums and the bone that support your teeth. It is a serious oral disease, and one where you must contact your dentist to get treatment.
8. Plaque Is Not a Good Thing
Though it sounds like plaque would protect your teeth, it doesn’t. This is a white sticky film that forms on your teeth and continues to grow if you don’t visit your dentist. You can remove it by brushing and flossing regularly, and making your twice a year visit to your dentist. However, if left unchecked, plaque will harden and develop into tartar which can cause enamel erosion and gum disease.
The doctors at Metro Dental Richfield have told us that plaque is a serious problem in oral health, but more importantly, it can also threaten your overall health. Plaque causes bleeding and inflamed gums, the loss of teeth, but it is also linked to other problems including heart attacks and dementia.
Plaque Can Cause:
- Heart Attacks
- High Blood Pressure
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Premature Birth
The doctors at Metro Dental say that the Medical research field is still trying to determine what the link is, but they believe that the oral bacteria escapes through the dentin into the bloodstream and injures other major organs of the body.
9. ADTD Gave Us Another Interesting Fact
Did you know that you make 10,000 gallons of spit throughout your life. That’s right! Your body produces a quart of saliva every day, and that turns into 10,000 gallons of spit over your lifetime. Why is this an interesting fact? According to the doctors at Aspen Dental in Tulsa, Oklahoma, saliva is important to your overall health. It makes food easier to digest, washes away lingering food particles, and it contains calcium and phosphate that neutralize those bad acids in your mouth.
This means you can decrease tooth decay by limiting the acid your teeth come into contact with when you brush and floss after you eat. If that is not always possible, chewing sugarless gum to increase the flow of saliva and eliminate the acids through saliva.
10. Your Eating Frequency: “Yep!” Says AD, “It Affects your Oral health”
Remember our talking about the acids that the bacteria in your mouth creates. Well it does this for all the food you swallow, whether it’s a spoonful of sugar you add to your morning coffee – or that donut you couldn’t resist. The more often you eat sugary foods and drinks, the more of those acids get in your mouth, and the more chances they have at chipping away that cool enamel. To put it plainly says the Doctor at MDR, it’s better for your teeth to eat less frequently than to eat a lot of meals, even if they are only tiny bits and bite.
What can we do to keep our teeth healthy throughout our lifetime? Every doctor and dental professional we talked to, all said the same thing. Prevention is key. It is a simple process. Brush and floss your teeth after every meal. When that isn’t possible, chew sugarless chewing gum after eating a sugary carbohydrate as this will increase your levels of saliva production and remove food particles that remain in your mouth. And don’t forget! Talk to your dentist about smarter choices you can make to improve your oral health.