What Is Teeth health?
Our teeth have a lot of work to do like chewing, grinding, biting, talking and also face the aging process. Hence, they need the care to keep them away from dental diseases. Brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing the mouth are age-old mantras to keep them healthy and safe. Other than this, attending routine dental check-ups and watching what you eat and drink are vital factors in deciding the health of your teeth.
The diseases of teeth are:
Also called tooth decay, this happens due to adult bacteria which survive on refined white sugar. When we eat candy or other sugary food, some morsels stick to the teeth, gums and in between teeth. Bacteria feed on this sticky food and thrive, releasing a toxin which causes tooth decay. The solution is to brush teeth regularly and floss the mouth. Avoid eating sticky sugary food.
This is a gum disease and occurs in the mild alkaline to the mild acidic environment in the mouth. The cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene and lack of the certain type of enzymes which can digest food substances. Gingivitis is a reversible condition with proper dental treatment.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses into periodontal disease. In this disease, the plaque bacteria form crystals, which attach to the teeth, and these crystals destroy the ligaments, which attach teeth to the bone. As a result, pockets are formed, in which more food particles can be trapped and lodged. This causes the disease to progress, and eventually, it may lead to the removal of the tooth. The damage to the tooth and gum caused by periodontal disease is permanent and irreversible.
Also called bad breath or halitosis, mouth odor is due to remnants of food particles in the mouth. Enteric bacteria feed on these food particles and release an odor. Again, good brushing and flossing habits and the kind of food we eat play a key factor in preventing bad breath.
What Are The Symptoms Of Teeth health?
The general symptoms of all dental diseases are:
- Tooth pain.
- Sensitivity: There is a sharp tingling sensation when consuming hot or cold drinks or beverages.
- Bleeding gums.
- Red and swollen gums.
- Cavities in teeth.
- Pain while chewing.
- Bad breath.
- Mouth sores.
- Loose teeth.
What Are The Causes Of Teeth health?
Dental diseases are caused by microorganisms that live in the mouth and release toxins causing damage to dental tissue. The mouth offers resources for the bacteria to survive and multiply. There are three types of bacteria thriving in the oral cavity - pathogenic, beneficial, and neutral. When the mouth is dominated by beneficial bacteria, then there is good dental health. When pathogenic bacteria dominate the oral cavity, it leads to dental diseases. Neutral bacteria follow whichever bacteria are dominant.
Causes of tooth and gum diseases are:
- Sugary foods: When bacteria in the mouth combine with remnants of sugary or starchy food particles, they form a colourless, sticky substance called plaque. When you don’t remove plaque from mouth by proper brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar or calculus. Removal of tartar will require a dental procedure by a dentist.
- Acidic foods: Acidic drinks and foods attack the tooth enamel, thereby damaging it. Soft drinks contain enormous amounts of sugar, which facilitate plaque formation. The acidic content of soft drinks erodes teeth enamel and causes damage to teeth.
- Dry mouth: Saliva in the mouth is helpful in inhibiting plaque formation. People with dry mouth are more prone to dental problems. Dry mouth condition is caused by certain medications. Diseases like diabetes also cause dry mouth issues.
- Grinding of teeth: People who grind teeth in their sleep or under stress are invariably damaging their teeth. The grinding process strips away the enamel (outer layer of teeth), thereby causing tooth decay.
- Genetics: Some people inherit tooth crevices and enamel problems from parents. This can also lead to teeth problems.
- Poor dental hygiene: Improper brushing and flossing is the number one cause of teeth problems.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Teeth health?
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day to wash off any food substances remaining in the mouth.
- Flossing your teeth regularly is as important as brushing. Flossing removes food particles trapped in between teeth and also removes bad odor.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months. Bristles become weak after a time and are ineffective in cleaning the teeth. You have to change your toothbrush after a bout of illness to prevent re-infection.
- Wash the bristles thoroughly after each brushing ritual.
- Chew on sugarless gum. Chewing produces saliva which helps in washing off the bacteria.
- Give a massage to your gums at least two times a week.
- Clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner.
- Drink lots of water to keep the mouth moist.
- See the dentist biannually for a general check-up of the teeth.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Teeth health?
- Do not brush too hard, you will tear the gums or damage the tooth.
- Do not forget to rinse your mouth after eating sugary food.
- Do not sleep with your mouth open.
- Do not smoke as it is known to cause oral cancer.
- Do not keep sipping on beverages like tea or coffee throughout the day. This gives a chance to the bacteria to thrive and attack the enamel of the teeth.
What Are The Best Foods For Teeth health?
- Fresh, fibrous fruits and vegetables: Apples, carrots, cucumbers, oranges, celery and all crisp fruits and vegetables help in saliva flow and also fight plaque and bad breath. Vitamin A present in fruits helps in building tooth enamel and vitamin C helps in healing of gums.
- Milk and other dairy products: Milk, cheese, and yogurt contain calcium and phosphates which help in fighting tooth decay and strengthening the teeth. If you are a vegan, you can try soy milk and other calcium-fortified products.
- Green and black tea: Tea is known to contain substances which suppress or destroy bacteria which attack food particles in the mouth. This prevents the formation of cavities and also reduces gum inflammation. Remember not to add sugar to the tea.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids are known to prevent inflammation and infection, thereby reducing the chance of gum disease. Sources are fish, flax seeds, and walnuts.
- Water: Water is, undoubtedly, the best food for your mouth. It rinses off any food particles left in the mouth, keeping it clean and with neutral pH. Fluorinated water is even better because fluoride remineralizes the tooth surface and prevents cavities.
What Are The Worst Foods For Teeth health?
- Sugary sweets and candies: Sugary food is what bacteria thrive on. Even if you wish to have sweets, opt for those which leave no particles sticking to the teeth and clear out of the mouth quickly.
- Starchy carbohydrates: Foods like chips, crackers, bread, and pasta contain starch which is available as sugar to the bacteria.
- Carbonated soft drinks and sodas: Firstly, carbonated drinks again contain a lot of sugar. Secondly, they contain phosphorous and carbon dioxide which are known to wear away the enamel of the teeth. This causes them to get brown or stained.
- Fruit juices: Though fruit juices are healthy, they contain sugar and acids which are a bad combination for teeth. If you regularly consume juices, don’t keep them for too long in the mouth. Use a straw for minimal contact with teeth.
What Are The Medicines For Teeth health?
What Are The Tips To Manage Teeth health?
- The best advice for teeth health is good oral hygiene and regular appointments with the dentist.
- Keeping a watch of what goes into the mouth as food will go a long way in protecting those pearly white assets.
- Along with brushing and flossing, using a mouthwash is very important. Mouthwash containing Listerine and chlorine dioxide will help in maintaining the good bacteria in the mouth. It will also promote good breath and make teeth strong.
- Choosing toothpaste with fluoride will make the enamel strong, and hence, avoid tooth decay. But take care to use the pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for kids. Using too much of it can cause white spots on the teeth.