Top 10 Facts About Your Teeth That Will Surprise You

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We often don’t think about our teeth unless they are bugging us, but they are incredibly important to our overall health and wellbeing. After all, they help us eat, chew, talk and smile. And they are an incredibly complex and often misunderstood part of our anatomy. Here’s 10 interesting facts about your teeth that you might not know:

  1. At First Glance

The first feature people notice about another person is their smile, according to a survey done by the American Academy of Periodontology. And good teeth are kind of important to a good smile.

  1. In the Womb

Although a child’s teeth don’t start to appear until the child is six to 12 month’s old, they actually begin forming before they are born. Baby teeth, also called milk teeth, begin forming when the child is in the womb.

  1. 40 Sets of Teeth?

While humans only have two sets of teeth (32 teeth total), other species vary widely in the number of sets of teeth. Sharks top the list with around 40 sets of teeth!

  1. That’s A Lot of Toothpaste!

US consumers buy more than 14 million gallons of toothpaste annually. The typical person spends 38 days of their lifetime using that toothpaste to brush their teeth!

  1. Name All Four Types of Teeth

There are four different types of teeth used by humans to cut, tear and grind their food. They are incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.

  1. The Power of Saliva

Your saliva is critical to your oral health because it protects your teeth from bacteria in your mouth (and bacteria are the first ingredient in the formation of a cavity) and helps you digest your food. The typical person produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in their lifetime.

  1. Undercover

More than one-third of the length of your tooth is hidden out of sight underneath your gums. The part that is hidden is the root.

  1. Now That’s A Valuable Tooth

Sir Isaac Newton holds the record for the most valuable tooth. It sold for $3,633 in 1812, which today would be worth $35,700. Why would someone want to buy his tooth? To set in a ring!

  1. Inflation From the Tooth Fairy

In 1950, the Tooth Fairy left on average 25 cents. That went up to $1.00 in 1988, and now the rate is up to almost $2.00!

  1. No Self Repair

The bones and tissue in your body can repair themselves – but your teeth can’t. That’s why fillings and other dental work are necessary to protect your teeth from further damage once you have an oral health problem.

Is Xerostomia Making Your Life Uncomfortable?

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Does your mouth feel constantly dry? If it does, then you may have xerostomia – also known as dry mouth.

What is dry mouth? Simply, a lack of saliva. You need saliva to keep your mouth moist, to cleanse it, and to digest food. In addition, your saliva controls bacteria and fungi which prevents infections in your mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, you are at a higher risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such as thrush. Dry mouth can also make it hard to wear dentures.

Dry Mouth Causes

Medications. One of the leading causes of dry mouth are certain types of prescription and nonprescription drugs. Among the main culprits are drugs used to treat pain, depression, allergies, anxiety, obesity, colds, epilepsy, acne, diarrhea, hypertension, nausea, asthma, urinary incontinence, psychotic disorders and Parkinson's disease. Muscle relaxants and sedatives can also produce dry mouth.

The side effects of certain diseases and infections. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, mumps, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, Parkinson's disease, hypertension, stroke, anemia and diabetes.

The side effects of some medical treatments. If the salivary glands are damaged, it can reduce the amount of saliva that you produce. Cancer treatments that involve radiation to the neck and head or chemotherapy can cut down on the amount of saliva produced.

Nerve damage. An injury or surgery in the head or neck can create nerve damage that causes dry mouth.

Dehydration. If you become dehydrated because of excessive sweating, fever, vomiting, blood loss, diarrhea and burns, these can lead to dry mouth.

Removal of the salivary glands through surgery.

Your lifestyle. If you smoke or chew tobacco, the amount of saliva you produce can be affected and this can aggravate dry mouth. If you regularly breath with your mouth open you may also experience dry mouth.

Dry Mouth Symptoms

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Frequent thirst
  • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue
  • Bad breath
  • A dry, red, raw tongue
  • Sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips
  • Hoarseness, dry nasal passages, sore throat
  • Problems speaking or trouble tasting, chewing, and swallowing

Dry Mouth Treatment

If you are taking a medication that may be causing your dry mouth, talk to your dentist about the problem. He may suggest that you talk to your medical doctor about adjusting the dosage you take or switching to a different drug that doesn't cause dry mouth.

Another option is to use an oral rinse such as Biotene to restore the moisture in your mouth. You might also consider Salagen, which is a medication that increases saliva production.

Additional steps you can try that can help improve saliva production include:

  • Try sucking on sugar-free candy or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Drink lots of water to help keep your mouth moist.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste, use a fluoride rinse, and visit your dentist regularly.
  • Breathe through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible.
  • Use a room vaporizer to add moisture to the bedroom air.
  • Use an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.

SOURCE: WebMD

When You Brush Your Teeth, Do Your Gums Bleed?

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If your gums bleed regularly when you brush your teeth, you may be suffering from the early stages of periodontal disease. The earliest stages of this disease of the gums causes inflammation of your gum tissue, followed by bleeding from your gums when you brush. If you don’t take care of periodontal disease, it can progress to causing significant damage to the soft tissues and bones in your mouth, and can lead to loss of teeth.

Periodontal disease usually begins because of inadequate brushing and flossing. Both help remove bacteria from your mouth, and bacteria leads to plaque, which begins the steps that lead to periodontal disease. Some people are more prone to gum problems because of diabetes, certain medications, hormonal changes for women, other illnesses, and susceptibility because of genetics. But for the majority of the population who don’t have those issues, there is a direct link between inadequate oral health care and periodontal disease.

The initial physical sign of periodontal disease is inflammation of the gums, which is called gingivitis. Your gums will look red and swollen and when you brush, your gums may bleed easily. At this stage, you won’t be dealing with bone or tissue loss.

However, the next stage of periodontal disease is much more impactful on your oral health. If your gingivitis is not taken care of, the inflammation in your gums will move into the area around your teeth. Your gum tissue will begin to move away from your teeth and form pockets of infection. At this point, your bones, gums and tissue that support your teeth can be destroyed if left untreated.

So now that you know what happens if periodontal disease takes up residence in your mouth, what can you do to prevent this nasty oral health disease? Follow these four simple tips:

  • Be sure to brush your teeth twice daily and always use a toothpaste with fluoride
  • Make a habit of flossing daily to get rid of plaque from between the teeth
  • See your dental hygienist every six months for your routine cleaning and a check-up by your dentist
  • Avoid smoking

Follow this basic plan, and you are sure to keep your gums healthy, your teeth happy, and continue to have a winning smile.

Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

 

How Clean Is Your Toothbrush?

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When you brush you teeth in the morning, you’re probably not aware of what may be lurking on the bristles of your toothbrush.

It may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses if you’ve been sick. Even if you haven’t been sick, normal healthy microorganisms can cause infections in your mouth if there is an injury or break in your gum tissues. In addition, a brand new toothbrush still in its packaging might already have bacteria on it since the packaging doesn’t have to be “sterile” to be sold.

So what can you do to keep from getting sick from your toothbrush?

 

 Clean It!

Cleaning your toothbrush might not be at the top of your “to do” list since you rinse it off every day after you brush. But it’s actually an important item to add to your daily list. Here’s three “must dos” for your toothbrush to keep it clean:

Wash it. Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with hot tap water after you brush to remove debris and wash away bacteria. If you’re suffering from a systemic illness or immune system disorder, you should consider regularly soaking your toothbrush in a glass of antibacterial mouthwash or run it through a cycle in your dishwasher.

Deep clean it. Consider purchasing a toothbrush sanitizer – there are a range of them available. They often use ultraviolet light to kill microorganism in as little as three minutes.

Keep it properly stored. Always store your toothbrush upright – in a cup or rack – so that it can properly dry out. If you want to put a cover on it, be sure to use one that allows air to circulate to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

 

Toss It!

How often should you toss your toothbrush to prevent bacteria from building up on it? Here are a couple of useful tips:

When to let it go. It’s recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if the bristles show excessive signs of wear. Bristles that are frayed will not effectively clean your teeth.

If you’re ill, get rid of it. Toss your toothbrush if it was used while you were sick. If you share a toothbrush holder with other family members, and one of them is sick, be sure to throw away all of the toothbrushes in the holder. Also, be sure to treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one. Get rid of the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear.

 

Don’t Share It!

If you’re tempted to lend your toothbrush to a family member or friend, just say “no”. The same advice is applicable if you’re thinking of borrowing a used toothbrush. By sharing, you’re transferring saliva and bacteria to the other person. Remember, bacteria is the first stage of the process that leads to cavities. Plus tooth decay is considered an infectious disease – one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush.

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

Top Tips to Make Travel Less Stressful on Your Oral Health

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If you travel very often, you probably know how difficult it can be to maintain your oral health routine. But missing a week or two of your regular routine can be tough on your teeth and gums. Eventually, those missed days of brushing, flossing and making good oral health decisions can lead to cavities! So here are five easy tips to follow to boost your oral health when you travel and insure that your smile remains healthy.

Don’t travel if you have a toothache. Be sure to schedule an appointment before you travel if you are experiencing pain or irritation in your mouth. You really don’t want to end up needing emergency care while you are out of town and away from your usual dentist. And just in case you experience a dental emergency without any earlier warning signs, you might want to research emergency dental clinics in the town where you will be staying.

Keep travel-sized oral health products handy. Invest in a travel-size toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, and floss and keep them in your travel bag. That way, you won’t forget to pack them the next time you take a trip.

Be a fan of probiotics. Research has shown that probiotics help maintain oral health in addition to being great for your gut. Because traveling involves lots of time in communal places that are usually chock-full of germs, taking probiotics can help as a defense against oral health issues.

Replace your toothbrush. It is usually recommended that you replace your toothbrush every three or four months. That’s because the bristles start to wear down, and more importantly, germs build up on your toothbrush that you can’t remove. But on a trip away from home, all those new germs you are exposed to just compound the potential problems. So when you get home from a trip, toss your toothbrush and break out a new one!

Embrace the power of gum. Your oral health can get a wonderful boost from chewing gum. It has to be sugarless, and if it has xylitol that is a bonus. So why is chewing gum so powerful? It tastes good, freshens your breath, and removes food stuck between your teeth (kind of like brushing your teeth). Perhaps the biggest benefit of chewing gum is that it helps produce saliva in your mouth. Saliva washes away bacteria in your mouth that can eventually lead to cavities.

So there you have five easy tips to pump-up your oral health the next time you travel.

SOURCE: American Dental Association

 

Healthy Resolutions for a Brighter Smile in 2019

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