Did you know that half of Americans drink soda each day? Did you also know that those who have 3 or more glasses have a 62% increase in having their teeth decay? Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body and is made up of various minerals that are found in the foods you eat. However, substances—such as that soda—as well as sugar, acids and more, can decay your teeth, breaking up minerals, attacking your gums, causing tooth loss and decay. Find out fun facts about your teeth, your gums, your mouth and your food, and how they are all connected!
How Teeth Function
Our teeth are the hardest substances in our bodies and perform many functions, such as assisting in chewing, eating and speaking. Amazingly, our teeth begin developing before we’re even born, including both sets of primary and permanent teeth. When we’re born, the tooth buds of our 20 primary teeth and those of our 32 permanent teeth are already residing in our jaws. Wisdom teeth, however, are excluded from this list, as they don’t develop until early adolescence. Most people have four types of teeth: incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Incisors are the eight sharp front teeth that help cut food, while the canines are shaped like points and tear and grasp food. The premolars have two pointed cusps on their surfaces and are used for crushing food. Molars, on the other hand, have multiple pointed cusps used to grind and chew food. All four types of teeth work together to help us properly chew our food so that it can be digested.
Each type of tooth is made up of three distinct parts: enamel, dentin and pulp. The enamel is the hard outside of the tooth that is commonly damaged by tooth decay. The dentin is underneath the enamel, above the pulp. The pulp contains the nerve tissue and blood vessels, and if decay reaches it through the dentin, it can become painful. If decay gets to this point, a root canal is the most viable option to clean the tooth of decay and restore it to its former health.
Food and Tooth Decay
Our teeth are designed to last us a lifetime, but the foods and drinks we consume can damage them through tooth decay. Tooth decay, or caries, develops when our teeth and gums are continuously exposed to starches and sugar, which eat away at tooth enamel. Candy, cookies, soft drinks and fruit juices leave deposits on our teeth, and when they’re not cleaned off, those deposits bond with bacteria to form plaque. Plaque contains enamel-eating acid that wears away at our teeth until decay forms. Even hot and cold drinks can lead to decay as they create sensitivity in our teeth, leaving them vulnerable to microscopic cracks and gum recession. Lacking proper nutrition can also increase your likelihood of tooth decay. Just like our bodies, our teeth need certain nutrients, like Vitamin D and calcium, to strengthen enamel and keep our gums healthy. It’s important to make conscious, healthy decisions when deciding what foods you eat because whatever you put into your body will affect your organs and teeth, whether positively or negatively.
Making Wise Choices
While it’s always a good idea to eat healthy as often as you can, our teeth are resilient enough to enjoy a cookie or ice cream cone every now and then. Making wise choices each day with what foods you eat will help you protect your teeth without having to sacrifice your favorite sugary treats. For starters, it’s not only what you eat but how often. Eating a balanced diet full of grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and protein, plus monitoring how many snacks you consume, will help you stay at a healthy weight and keep your teeth decay-free. Following a consistent brushing and flossing regimen each day is also an essential part of removing plaque, avoiding bad breath and keeping teeth brilliant. Brush with fluoride toothpaste, and if you want, you can include mouthwash in your routine to minimize the effects that bacteria has on your teeth and gums. Make sure to drink plenty of water each day, as well, to stimulate saliva production and help wash away leftover food particles that can get stuck between teeth.
Get A Beautiful Smile With Our Help!
A healthy smile is developed over time and by making healthy choices. To give your teeth a better advantage against decay, schedule a dental checkup with Dr. Evanson by calling our office at (720) 409-0008! Our team is dedicated to your oral health needs and experienced in all aspects of dental care. Call today to get the beautiful smile that you deserve!