Know your teeth and gums

Know your teeth and gums …

The primary function of your teeth is to cut and chew up food. This in turn affects not only your dental health, but also the functioning of your body systems and your overall well-being. That’s why you need to know exactly what your teeth and gums are made of, and how to take care of them.

The Dentine
This makes up the bulk of your tooth. The dentine is highly resilient, and absorbs all the pressure you exert on your teeth while chewing.

The Enamel
This is the hardest tissue in the body. The enamel protects the upper end of the dentine, which projects into your mouth, and gives your teeth the strength to bite.

The Pulp
This is the central portion of your tooth, composed of blood vessels and nerves.

The Root
This is the lower part of your dentine, set under your gum

The Gums
Your teeth are set into your jaw, and supported by the gums. Gums are essentially a tough fibrous tissue. The outer layer of your gums fits snugly around the enamel. The inner layer protects the roots of your teeth.

Know your dental problems

Bacterial plaque.
This is the root cause of most dental problems. Plaque is a filmy substance made up of millions of bacteria, which collect around your gum line and between your teeth. The furry coating you feel on your teeth when you run your tongue over them, means that plaque is present. You can temporarily get rid of this coating by brushing. But the bacteria begin growing again almost the moment you finish brushing.

Tooth decay
When the bacteria encounter sugars in your food, they utilize the sugars to form acids. These acids attack your enamel, creating tiny holes. If they’re left untreated, the holes can develop into larger cavities, eating into the tooth’s dentine. This is tooth decay, technically called dental caries. At this stage, a filling can save the tooth. But once the decay has reached the dental pulp, the problem requires more complicated treatment. Your dentist would call this a root canal treatment.

Bleeding gums
If neglected, bacterial plaque attacks your gums, leading to inflammation and bleeding. This condition is called gingivitis. Bleeding gums are a warning that plaque is weakening the tissues between your gums and teeth, and the bone supporting your tooth. The eventual result could be tooth loss. However, the development of bleeding gums can be controlled with the use of special toothpastes.

Sensitive teeth
When plaque settles between your gums and teeth, it may force your gums to recede from your teeth, exposing the roots. This makes your nerves vulnerable to extreme temperatures and sweet and sour food. The result is an electric, shooting pain every time you drink cold water, or eat sour fruits like oranges and lemons. The condition is known as sensitive teeth, and can be cured with specialized remedies.

Bacterial plaque that is not removed, begins absorbing your salivary salts, particularly calcium and phosphates. As a result, plaque hardens into tartar, or calculus. Once this has happened, a dentist can only remove the tartar.
Know your dental health plan
Fortunately, dentists around the world agree on some tried and tested ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Follow this simple dental health routine, and you’ll probably never know a dental problem again.

1. Brushing:
Brush twice each day, preferably with a soft toothbrush. Keep
the bristles of your brush at a 45 angle to your teeth and gums.
Move the brush back and forth, concentrating on two or three teeth
at a time. Change your toothbrush at least every three months.

2. Flossing:
This is important to remove the plaque that collects between
your teeth. Wind some floss around your middle finger and gently
guide the floss between your teeth, taking two at a time.

3. Diet:
Restrict your snacks between meals, and processed and sugary
foods, so you don’t give plaque the chance to attack your mouth.
Instead, make sure your diet includes plenty of milk and dairy
products, fresh fruits and vegetables.

4. Dentist:
Visit your dentist at least every six months, even if you don’t have a problem. The regular check-up will ensure you remain in perfect dental health.

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