Well, lets take a look at how we use and need our teeth.
Appearance Teeth are very important to your appearance. They not only make a nice smile, but they also shape your face.
Chewing Teeth are important to chew food properly. The chewing of food with your teeth is the first step in the digestion of food. If food cannot be chewed properly, it can cause problems with digestion.
Talking (speech) Teeth are important for speaking Teeth work with the lips, cheeks and tongue, allowing us to pronounce words.
At your age, you should have both baby teeth as well as a few permanent teeth. This is called amixed dentition. Although you will eventually replace all of your baby teeth with permanent teeth, it is important that you continue to take care of these baby teeth.
Well, Each Baby Tooth Holds a Place for a Permanent Tooth. Your baby teeth are important for place- holders for your permanent teeth. As your permanent teeth come in, they will take up the space left by the loss of your baby teeth.
Did you know that early loss of your baby teeth could cause problems? Often baby teeth are lost early as a result of tooth decay or accidents. This early loss creates a space. This space needs to be saved in order for the permanent tooth to come in straight. The dentist can save the space by putting in a space maintainer (spacer). When the permanent tooth is ready to come in, the space maintainer is removed. Mestman, Herman, What To Do For Healthy Teeth
Late loss of baby teeth can also cause problems... Sometimes permanent teeth come in before baby teeth come out. This can cause teeth to become crowded and overlap each other. Crowded and overlapping teeth can cause gum disease and tooth decay because these crowded areas of the mouth are hard to clean. If these baby teeth do not become loose on their own, the dentist may have to remove them. The permanent teeth are white, the baby teeth are gray. Moss, Growing Up Cavity Free: A Parent's Guide To Prevention, Quintessence Publishing Co., 1993
Now that you understand how important your teeth are, lets take a look at how a cavity is formed!
Each day a thin film of plaque grows on our teeth This plaque contains germs (bacteria). Sugar from foods and drinks are turned into acid by these germs. This acid attacks our teeth and softens the hard surface until a hole is formed. + Mestman, Herman, What To Do For Healthy Teeth
How can you avoid getting cavities? Avoid sugary, sticky foods or snacks, and choose nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and cheese Avoid drinking soda or other sugary drinks, and drink more milk & water Avoid snacking all day long, and limit the amount of snacks you have throughout the day X X X
Now that you understand how a cavity is formed, lets take a look at how plaque affects your gums too! When plaque is left on your teeth for a while, harmful germs (bacteria) begin to increase and irritate your gum tissues. This causes bleeding and your gums may become sore. This is called gum disease.
To prevent cavities and gum disease you need to brush and floss your teeth regularly…
When should you brush your teeth? After eating At bedtime Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Oral Health Program
How long should you brush ? For about two minutes and at least twice each day.
How do you floss your teeth? Use 18 of floss Leave an inch or two to work with Slide the floss in between each tooth, and move it up & down against the tooth. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Oral Health Program
How often should you floss? Once each day to remove plaque from in between your teeth where your toothbrush cant reach.
To keep your teeth functioning properly, you must see your dentist regularly.
When you visit the dentist, several things will probably be done…
# 1 A visual exam. # 1 A visual exam. A dentist will look at your teeth, gums and the way your teeth come together when you bite. The dentist is looking for tooth decay, gum disease, mouth sores & whether or not you might need braces.
# 2 X-rays will be taken of all your teeth. These x-rays will show not only tooth decay, but the roots of the teeth and the bone around them. They will also show any teeth that have not come in yet, and any extra teeth as well.
#3 A Professional Cleaning A dental hygienist will remove any plaque or hard deposits called calculus from your teeth using special instruments. Your teeth will then be polished with a special kind of toothpaste. This will make your teeth feel smooth and clean.
#4 Fluoride Treatment A flavored gel or foam will be placed in a soft tray and You will be asked to bite into That tray for a few minutes. or… The fluoride may be painted on your teeth with a small brush. This is called fluoride varnish.
To prevent cavities from forming on the chewing surfaces of your permanent molars, the dentist might recommend dental sealants. Sealants are a thin coating of a plastic-like substance that are painted on the teeth. When it hardens, this plastic coating prevents food and germs from getting down into the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your molars and prevents tooth decay! Photo courtesy of the Virginia Dept. of Health, Division of Dental Health
So now that you know how to prevent tooth decay and gum disease….its up to you to keep your teeth and gums healthy!
Thank you for listening! Photos: Microsoft product box shots reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. All photos obtained from office.microsoft.com/clipart unless otherwise noted.