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Monthly Archives: November 2012

About Your Mouth – Facts and Info

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How much do we really know about our mouths? The mouth is one of the most interesting parts of the human body and is made up of so many complex elements that there are many facts surrounding it! Read up on these fun facts below, because the mouth is really a lot more than teeth, gums, a tongue, and lips!

Just at the tip of my tongue

Did you know that the tongue is the only muscle in the entire body to be attached at only one end? (Did you even know it was a muscle?) Perhaps even more interesting than that is the fact that every tongue is different and unique. The tongue is basically the fingerprint of the mouth. Shall we compare tongue prints?

But what about the taste buds? The tongue actually has about 50 to 100 taste cells per taste bud. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds, which makes an average of about 750,000 taste cells per tongue! Pretty incredible.

Bare your teeth

Perhaps one of the most surprising facts is that the enamel on your teeth is the hardest thing in the entire body! Enamel is also a main part of the crown of the tooth (which is the visible part) that we see in the mouth. The crown is made up of three smaller parts: the enamel, dentin, and pulp. Dentin is the cream colored material under the enamel, while the pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth.

For most people, wisdom teeth are painful to have removed. For some people, the wisdom teeth do not actually develop fully; and therefore do not have to be removed. Wisdom teeth also fall in to the type of teeth known as molars, which are used for the final breakdown of food before swallowing.

There are four types of teeth in total: the incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Incisors are responsible for the initial cutting and biting of food. Canines assist in this process and are the sharpest teeth in the mouth that tear and shred food. Premolars then breakdown the food further before the food moves to the molars that complete the mashing of food before swallowing.

About those gums

Did you know that our gums are actually tightly attached to the underlying bone?  Their main purpose is to protect teeth, but they can be very sensitive.

Brushing your teeth does not only help your teeth themselves but also keeps your gums healthy! The gums are a large breeding ground for bacteria to grow, especially in the gum pockets and the spaces between the teeth. Flossing helps prevent bacteria growth also.

Button up those lips

Did you know that the lips are actually the most sensitive part of the entire body? This is also why they get their rosy color, because the blood vessels are so close to the skin surface there. If you’ve had a cut lip, you know how sensitive they can be.

Lips do not have any glands or hair in order to regulate their moisture. This is why we can get chapped lips and even see them dry out and get flaky.

We take our mouth, tongue, teeth and gums for granted. Imagine no taste buds, or no teeth! From why we have gums to why we get chapped lips, there is an endless amount of information about the mouth and all its parts!

 

 

ABOUT TOOTH ENAMEL

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If you take good care of them, your teeth can last a lifetime.

Nowadays, we know that brushing, flossing, and rinsing teeth—as well as regular visits to the dentist and dental hygienist—can help protect our pearly whites. Yet we may not realize that many dental products now focus on strengthening and protecting tooth enamel. Your dentist and hygienist will also evaluate it during check-ups.

So why is tooth enamel so significant?

TOOTH ENAMEL: BASIC FACTS

Tooth enamel is the visible, surface layer of the tooth. It covers the crown and protects the soft, inner tooth tissue below.

  • It is the hardest, most highly mineralized substance in the human body. Because enamel has no living cells—and thus no nerve cells—it cannot heal itself. And although it is extremely tough, it can become brittle and eventually, fracture. Your body cannot repair chipped or cracked enamel.
  • It is semi-translucent, so you can see through it. Tooth enamel’s natural color ranges from light grey to grayish white. The “whiteness” of your teeth isn’t due to the enamel but rather to the dentin, the supporting structure below. The dentin’s natural hue–whether it is white, off-white, grey, or yellowish–strongly affects the appearance of your teeth.

As a tooth becomes stained or damaged, however, the enamel surface itself can become discolored, thereby altering a tooth’s appearance.

  • Your tooth enamel can last a lifeline—and beyond. Or it can disintegrate while you are still alive.

How Enamel Helps Protect Our Teeth

  • Tooth enamel is the first line of defense against tooth decay; it shields the rest of the tooth from encroaching bacteria.

According to the American Dental Association, bacteria start attacking teeth within 20 minutes of eating or drinking, and the assault begins against the tooth enamel. But because enamel is so hard and made up of incomparably tight mineral bonds, bacteria have a hard time penetrating the living tooth.

  • Tooth enamel also helps protect your teeth from daily use such as chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding.
  • And it insulates the teeth from potentially painful temperatures and chemicals.

KEEP YOUR TOOTH ENAMEL HEALTHY

In spite of its toughness, everyday acids that develop from plaque, and from certain foods and drinks–particularly those that are sweet or contain starch—can endanger your enamel. Acids can attack and soften the tooth surface, leading to cavities or fractures.  Indeed, some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid.

When tooth decay gains entry into the hard enamel, it has access to the main body of the tooth. The most vulnerable points for entry are the deep grooves, pits, and fissures of enamel, where a toothbrush cannot reach. These locations are excellent hiding places for bacteria.

Follow These Tips:

  • Drink fewer soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored waters (with added sugar), Kool Aid and all other sugary drinks. Cut way back on candies, sweet treats, and sour candies (the worst offenders). The most significant cause of tooth decay is sugar consumption.

Remember that contrary to popular belief, the most critical factor is not the amount of sugar consumed but the frequency. So avoid frequent grabs at the candy jar during your workday.

  • Physical wear and tear of the tooth surface is called abrasion. For example: brushing teeth too hard, improper flossing, biting on hard objects (such as fingernails, bottle caps, or pens), or chewing tobacco. To protect your tooth enamel, avoid or stop these habits.
  • Order a custom-fitted mouth-guard if you clench or grind your teeth. This habit, which often happens involuntarily while sleeping, is a condition known as  bruxism. It can cause destructive and irreversible damage to the enamel very quickly.
  • Be aware that tooth enamel corrodes when highly acidic contents hit the tooth surface. This can occur with certain medications like aspirin or vitamin C, highly acidic foods, and frequent vomiting from bulimia or alcoholism.
  • Keep your mouth from drying out during the day. A wash of saliva around the teeth helps keep the mouth clean, prevents decay from forming rapidly, and provides needed moisture for gum tissue. Various medications, such as decongestants and antihistamines, dry up saliva. Drinking a glass of water will help moisten your mouth.
  • Use a fluoride rinse: fluoride has been proven to hinder the growth of cavity-producing bacteria.

And finally, a note about appearance: reduce exposure to substances such as coffee, tea, cola, red wine, and tobacco, which can cause internal staining on your enamel. Over time, your teeth can become discolored and appear darker or more yellow overall. Once this occurs, you might want to consider teeth-whitening products.