According to the American Medical Association, your oral health is directly affiliated to your general health so to a degree, keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy will prevent any unwarranted problems later down the road. The structure of a tooth is important. And your knowledge of it will be helpful in understanding how to properly and effectively maintain good hygiene.
Your teeth not only start the digestive process by helping you bite and chew food, they also give shape to your face and play an important part in speech. The pulp that makes up the center of each tooth contains blood vessels that nurture the tooth, along with nerves that sense heat, cold, pressure, and pain. A tough, durable substance called dentin surrounds the pulp, and a hard material called enamel covers the dentin. Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, acids formed during the breakdown of simple carbohydrates such as sugar in food can erode the enamel and cause tooth decay. When your enamel wears down, your teeth may become discolored, the edges of your front teeth may look transparent and in later stages, you may feel extreme dental sensitivity when consuming hot or cold foods and fluids. Failing to brush and floss your teeth every day promotes tooth decay and can lead to gum disease, which can cause pockets to form between the gums and teeth, where infectious material can collect. Left untreated, gum disease ultimately leads to tooth loss.
Not taking proper care of your mouth can lead to many dental problems: bad breath, gum disease, cavities, sensitivity and even tooth loss. Playing a vital role in keeping up with oral hygiene can ward off all these scary things. Here are some hopefully helpful tips that will allow you to respond to the care of your mouth before it’s too late.
A healthy lifestyle makes a healthy smile. Regular exercise and a healthy diet decrease the chances of gum disease; which goes beyond the mouth and may raise the risk for heart disease and stroke. A poor diet filled with sugary foods and liquids can lead to cavities. Reduce the incidence of tooth decay by practicing good oral hygiene and by cutting back on sweets, avoid snacking between meals, and eat a healthy diet. Snacking on candy and other sugary foods or refined carbs (such as cookies) between meals harm your teeth because the bacteria in the mouth that break down such foods produce acid that can dissolve tooth enamel. Don’t give your kids fruit roll-ups or gummy candy that sticks to the teeth. If you want a better alternative to giving your child candy, make sure it is sugar-free gum or small amounts of chocolate (since chocolate quickly dissolves in the mouth).
Good oral hygiene takes time. It is a gradual process. Positive changes in your routine don’t have to be big- start small. Brush your teeth for about two to three minutes, twice a day, about the length of your favorite song. Squeeze some toothpaste onto your brush, place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line, and gently move the brush back and forth. A helpful tip about your toothbrush: use only a soft bristled brush to prevent damage to your gums that could cause them to recede. (A harder brush doesn’t necessarily mean it will scrape off the tartar.) Use interdental tools such as floss and mouthwash. Flossing once daily before bedtime (even before you brush). Using dental floss helps to remove plaque buildup and dislodge food particles from between the teeth.
Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning.