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How Do My Teeth Function? Part 2

See part I of this post here.

There are two parts and four types of tissue that come together to make a tooth. Understanding these parts can help you better understand how they work, and how to care for them.

The first of the two parts of the tooth is the one you can’t see, the root. Their job is to keep the tooth attached to the jawbone, and it does so beneath the gum line. The second part of the tooth is the crown. This is the white part that you see and identify as the tooth.

As for the four types of tissue that teeth are made up of, they are pulp, cementum, dentin and enamel. Cementum’s job is to keep the root covered and help it stick better to the bone. It is light yellow in color, generally not visible because it’s job is below the gum line, and is made of soft tissue. Without proper oral care, this may become exposed if the gums shirk down due to disease. This will require care from your dentist; because it means bacteria and other elements can harm the tissue.

Pulp tissue is where the nerves and blood vessels are, and it is also where the tooth gets all its nutrients delivered. It rests at the center of the tooth.

Outside the pulp is the dentin tissue. While it looks like bone, it isn’t quite as hard as bone. This means without proper oral care it can decay easily if the outer tissue is damaged.

This outer tissue is enamel, which is what we all see when we look at teeth. Enamel is made up of calcium and phosphorus, is tougher than bone, and it’s job it to prevent tooth decay.

Now that we know what teeth are made up of, we can take a look at the different kinds of teeth you have and what their function is.

Starting in the back of the mouth, you have a set of third molars, which are more popularly known as wisdom teeth. While some never actually get a set of third molars, those that do see them come out somewhere between the ages of 18 and 20. Most of the time, your dentist will suggest you remove your molars because they may crowd your other teeth, causing cosmetic issues or possibly more sever ones.

Two sets of premolars are up next, and these are the teeth that allow you to chew your food. These come in on the top and bottom of your mouth, and show up around ten years of age.

Next in line are the canines, which come up top around 9 years of age and on the bottom around 11 or 12. Their function is to tear apart food.

Lastly, we have the incisors that come in at the front and center on the top and bottom of your mouth. These eight teeth have the job of biting your food. They come in before any others, generally around 6 to eight years old.

Now that you understand your teeth and the importance of all of their functions, the importance of your oral health and regular dental visits should be even more apparent. Be sure to keep a healthy diet, manage stress and maintain good dental hygiene habits, and you’ll be sure to keep your pearly whites looking lovely for a long time.

How Do My Teeth Function? Part 1

We know all know what our teeth do for us, but do we know how they do it? Teeth play a pivotal roll in our speech, chewing food, digesting food and additional health factors. We take regular trips to the dentist for them, use them, and take care of them every day, so to better understand them will allow us to better care for them, as well. This will all help in setting the stage for optimal oral health.

So how do teeth develop? It starts with a set of primary teeth, more commonly known as baby teeth. These begin to form right around the second trimester of pregnancy, even though the
y may not begin to come out until a baby is around 6 months old. When they do begin to grow, they generally do so in a parallel manner, so the same tooth will grow in on either side. Roots will still form even once the tooth becomes visible, while the crown is the first thing to form fully. The primary set of teeth will be complete around 3 years of age.

From the age of 3 to about 6 years old, the baby teeth will remain in place. A second set of teeth will develop around 6 years old, when the primary teeth start to fall out. The second set is your permanent set of teeth. Replacing the initial set of 20 baby teeth will be a full set of 32 permanent, or adult, teeth. The adult set will take more time to come in than the baby teeth.

Both sets of teeth still require diligent oral care, and regular visits to the dentist. Getting young children in the habits of caring for their teeth will help ensure that they do so as adults.

Avoid Trouble With Your Wisdom Teeth

While dentists have been recommending removing wisdom teeth before it becomes necessary, some people may still have the symptoms that indicate when it is time for them to be taken out. It is very important that these symptoms not be ignored to avoid any complications.

There are many symptoms of wisdom teeth, which can come in the form of redness, tenderness, swelling, and even infection if they begin to grow thru the gums. Pain behind the molars will get stronger if the wisdom teeth are growing the wrong way, which can also lead to crowding of the teeth around them.

Additional symptoms can include a bad taste when chewing food and bad breath. Cysts can be a result, as well as tumors, however this is very uncommon.

Removing wisdom teeth is the most used method to remedy and prevent any problems. The original purpose of wisdom teeth is said to be a backup for times when oral heath was far less advanced and people would loose teeth easily. Since this is no longer the case, and our mouths only have room for 28 teeth, the 32 that we have are not all necessary, and as we now know, will generally just lead to problems. Your dentist or an oral surgeon will perform the extraction and any potential complications will be discussed before the procedure is done. It is usually performed under local anesthesia and is fairly simple in most cases.

7 Steps For Kids Oral Health

With the school year coming to a close, the changes in many family’s schedules can
derail some of the good habits we get ourselves and our kids into throughout the
school year. Here are some great ways to keep kids on track.

1. The Morning Brush – Kids tend to pass on the morning brush when sleeping later
than normal. If your child is doing this, a good way to remind them is to provide a
way for them to track the habit daily, such as with a chart or a check list that you can
review.

2. Skip the Snacks – If children have too much free time on their hands they tend to
become far less active, which generally leads to more TV and more bad snacking.
Extra sugars can cause not only cause weight gain, but tooth decay. Keeping you
child active will benefit them in a number of ways, including helping prevent extra
trips to the dentist. Charts like mentioned in number one may be helpful here, as
well

3. Bad Snacks Go Good – Making healthy snacks easily accessible can eliminate bad
snack options. Portioned fresh fruits and veggies can be put into containers to make
things even easier. Healthy snacking means healthy teeth and gums.

4. Get rid of the Sports Drinks – Campers and sports players need to stay hydrated.
Sports drinks are very popular and given to many thirsty, active kids. Unfortunately,
they can do more harm than good. With so much sugar in them, every time you
drink some it creates an acid attack in the mouth, which lasts for 20 minutes. This
happens every time you take a sip of a sports drink. Water is the best, and less
expensive, alternative to keep teeth healthy.

5. Injury Prevention – Accidents happen, but some can be avoided with simple steps.
A mouth guard is a great way to protect your jaw and teeth from a sports related
injury.

6. Water is Best – Make sure water is always accessible and available for kids to
rehydrate with. It’s much better than juices and sodas.

7. Moderation is key – Keep a balance between summertime fun and foods like ice
cream and lemonade and a healthy diet and free time to activity time. If you eat
healthy and move all the time, a lazy day and a popsicle every now and then won’t
hurt, and can even be more enjoyable!

Diabetes And Your Oral Health

Oral Health and Diabetes may seem like they have nothing to do with one another, but developing research is showing that not only are the almost 26 million Americans that suffer with diabetes at a higher risk, but those with gum disease might be at higher risk for diabetes.

Periodontitis is a serious disease where your gums will separate from your teeth, making pockets that fill with pus and germs. Eventually, this can lead to your teeth loosening or moving, and needed to be removed.

When you are diabetic, it is critical that you maintain proper blood glucose levels. If you don’t, it puts you at higher risk for gum disease and tooth loss, and just as the sugar levels can cause the disease, the disease can make the sugar levels harder to manage.

So what does this mean if you’re a diabetic? Routine oral health is important to begin with, but this is where you have to take extra care. Inform your dentist of your condition and any medication you may be taking. This way your dentist, and you, can take the necessary steps to maintain your oral health.

Steps You Can Take To Fight Bad Breath

Bad breath, or Halitosis, can happen to the best of us, often at the worst times. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that are fairly easy to get, and keep, your breath fresh and minty, and help eliminate those moments of self-consciousness.

More Brushing and Flossing

Dentists recommend that you brush and floss at least twice a day, so if bad breath is a concern, double up on your oral health routine to keep bad breath causing plaque at bay. Still do so cautiously, however, as harsh brushing can have a negative impact on tooth enamel.

Embrace the Scrape

Tongue scraping with a toothbrush or tongue scraper removes the bad breath causing bacteria, dead cells and food debris with pressure.

Avoid Halitosis-Causing Foods

Certain foods, mostly Garlic and Onions, can’t just be brushed away, so the only solution is to avoid them. “The volatile substances they contain make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out,” says dentist Richard Price, a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

Stop Smoking

As if there weren’t enough obvious health reasons your doctor will tell you to avoid smoking, your dentist will likely mention it, as well. It can increase risk of oral cancer, damage gum tissue and stain your teeth.

Use Mouthwash

Anti-bacterial mouthwash not only freshen breath, but they also prevent it from happening later. A rinse with just water after eating can also help.

Chew Gum

Saliva is the body’s way of preventing plaque build up, and therefore, bad breath, and gum chewing promotes its production. Mints, on the other hand, contain sugars that can produce more bacteria and make matters worse.

Gum Care

Bad breath can be caused by gum disease, or periodontal disease. This can make breath worse. A periodontist, or gum disease specialist, can help.

Stay hydrated

Less saliva means more bad breath. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent your mouth from going dry.  If you have a persistent problem, have a chat with your doctor or dentist, as it may be caused by certain medications.

Talk to your Dentist

If all else fails, contact Dr.Band’s office for a consultation to determine whether there is a serious underlying problem.

Stress and Your Oral Health

Stress can have an affect on so many things both physically and mentally, and it can even have an impact on your oral health. While it might not be the most obviously impacted area there are quite a few ways it can happen, such as clenching or grinding your teeth, sparking gum disease or making an existing condition worse, causing cold or canker sores and stress can cause you to eat the kind of foods that have a negative impact on your oral health.

If you find yourself a bit more stressed than normal there are some ways that you can prevent these problems from occurring, some that don’t even require a trip to the dentist.

Cold Sores

What they are: Caused by the herpes simplex virus these are contagious blisters filled with fluid that show up generally in the lip area.

Cause: Skin abrasions, fevers, sunburn and emotional upset.

Fixes: It will likely heal on its own in about a week but an over-the-counter or prescription meds should be used immediately to prevent spreading. Your dentist or doctor can advise you which is best.

Canker Sores

What they are: Found inside the mouth, these are small ulcers that are red around the outside and grayish on the inside. You may find a few to many at once. They are not contagious

Cause: The cause is unknown for now but it is believed to be bacterial, viral or related to immune issues. Canker Sores are worsened or triggered by allergies, fatigue and stress.

Fixes: Avoid acidic foods like citrus and tomato and spicy hot foods. Over-the-counter topical treatments are available. They generally heal in 10 days or less.

Grinding Teeth

What it is: When your mouth is clenched tightly or you grind your top and bottom teeth together. Temporomandibular joint problems can arise.

Cause: This is often caused, and made worse by, stress.

Fixes: Your dentist can help here. There are things that can be placed in the mouth during sleep to reduce or stop grinding.

Gum Disease

What it is: An overabundance of dental plaque that can lead to gingivitis, bleeding gums or more serious conditions.

Cause: Stress can cause it from poor oral hygiene, negligence due to stress.

Fixes: Brush and floss twice daily at minimum, use mouth wash, regular dental visits and a good diet will all help.

Poor Oral Hygiene

What it is: When oral health suffers from a lack of a steady routine.

Cause:  Stress can affect moods or lead to depression and your oral health routine may take a hit from skipping brushing and flossing. Stressing and snacking often go hand in hand so the poor eating habits are impacting oral health, as well.

Fixes: Try finding stress relieving activities to stop yourself from snacking on high sugar foods and beverages that can lead to things like tooth decay. Exercise is a great way to keep your energy up and prevent you from slacking on your routine.

Don't Brush Too Hard! - And Other Things To Avoid For Healthy Teeth

As with any most things, the key to good oral health lies in preventative maintenance. Once our baby-teeth are gone and our permanent teeth set in, that’s it. We have one chance with them, and an ounce of maintenance is worth a pound of cure.

With that said, there are many things that we do each day that are destroying our teeth and our oral health, and we don’t even know it! Keep reading to see what practices you should avoid, to ensure that you get the most mileage out of your teeth.

  1. Brushing Too Hard – Brushing your tooth to vigorously can cause gum recession, and wear away at your enamel. It is best to brush with a soft-bristle toothbrush, and use a tight circular motion when brushing your teeth.
  2. Eating Too Many Acidic Foods – Soda (diet too), OJ, wine, sports drinks, sour candies, and very sour citrus fruits, etc. can all cause tooth erosion. The top layer of your teeth is a protective layer, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. The nerves that anchor the teeth lose their protection from the elements, and you may become much more sensitive to certain foods and temperatures than before.
  3. Over-whitening – As we age, our teeth get darker, and it’s natural to want whiter, glowing teeth. While whitening your teeth is certainly not discouraged, it is best to avoid overdoing it. The active agent in teeth-whiteners is a very mild acid, and while it removes stains, it can also begin to erode away at the enamel, leaving teeth more porous, susceptible to increased sensitivity, and even breakage.

If you notice any of the effects mentioned above, it is important that you consult with your dentist, or contact Dr.Band today to find out what dental treatments are available to restore or protect your oral health, and keep your smile shining bright.

3 Benefits to Using An Electronic Toothbrush

There are two types of toothbrushes on the market today. Both assist in accomplishing great oral health. Manual toothbrushes do not require batteries, and are available in a variety of designs and styles. An electric toothbrush requires individual batteries, or some type of battery charging system. Another feature of an electric brush is the availability of both soft and firm bristles. The brush heads can be easily replaced when the bristles are worn.

Electric toothbrushes are beneficial for several reasons.

  1. Remove stains and plaque more effectively. Although a manual brush can accomplish this task, electric toothbrushes remain in a constant circular motion. They also apply an equal amount of pressure to the teeth and gums. Electric brushes remove bacteria that collect on the teeth, which can eventually cause tooth decay or loss. Some electric brushes also have the ability to rotate in different directions, which offers even greater benefit. Because electric toothbrushes are efficient at removing bacteria which also prevents oral plaque build up, they tend to result in less invasive dental cleaning procedures as well.
  2. Get kids excited about oral hygiene. Once the excitement of learning how to brush is over, children tend to lose interest in this necessary part of accomplishing great dental health. There are many designs available that are kid friendly that feature popular cartoon  characters or funky designs. Some companies also offer electric brushes with built-in music. The music shuts off when the recommended brushing time set by professional dentists has been met. Most children view an electric brush as being more grown-up and feel proud to use one.
  3. Easy to use at any age. Electric brushes are usually started by gently touching a button or switch. Many are also lightweight, which allows those with arthritis to operate the brush effortlessly. Some arthritis sufferers also experience jaw pain and often hesitate to brush, which can lead to poor oral health. Several companies design brushes that are thinner, which allows effective brushing without the need to open the mouth so wide. In general, electric brush handles are wider, which makes them easier to grip.

If you are considering purchasing an electric toothbrush, ask Dr.Band for a recommendation!