What do you really know about your teeth? Understanding their positioning, structure and proper care can help you maintain good oral health throughout your life. Here are a few details about your teeth and effective dental care:
So, About Those Pearly Whites...
The number of teeth in an average adult mouth is 32. Adult teeth, which are permanent, are preceded by 20 primary teeth, the first of which appear when a child is only a few months old. The bottom two center teeth usually present first, followed by the top two center teeth.
There are four specific kinds of teeth, each with a different function. The incisors are at the front of the mouth and are helpful for chewing and biting down on foods and such. The canines are those "fangs" that are at the corners of your mouth. They help you get a nice grip on things. Your premolars sit behind the canines and have a flat surface that can crush food and get it to a digestible consistency. Finally, your molars are the big guys in the back who do the bulk of the crushing and grinding.
Peeling Back the Dental Layers
A typical tooth is made up of several layers. You will probably be most familiar with the enamel (the white outer coating).The enamel is the protective layer of the tooth. It is constructed of the toughest material and comes in contact with the food and drinks you eat. If the enamel becomes compromised, the layers of tooth that lie beneath can be invaded by oral bacteria.
Underneath the enamel lies the dentin, which is a porous, dull yellow layer that separates the enamel from the center of the tooth.
The inside layer of the tooth is the pulp, which a soft living material that contains the dental nerves and blood vessels.
Below the surface of your gums, the roots of your tooth are firmly embedded in your jawbone. The outer layer of the roots is the cementum. It is not as hard as dentin or enamel, but it is as hard as bone.
Things Your Teeth Like
Most people know that they should brush and floss daily, but here are a few additional measures you can do to keep your teeth healthy:
- Munch on crunchy fruits and vegetables. The fiber helps scrub plaque and bacteria from the tooth enamel.
- Chew gum sweetened with xylitol. The xylitol is antibacterial, and the chewing action bathes your mouth with saliva.
- Visit your dentist at least every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning. Tartar, which is hardened plaque, can only be removed by a professional scraping tool. It cannot be brushed away.
For more ways to improve your oral hygiene and health, contact a dental professional such as Chen Sharon DMD PC.