MANILA, Philippines – We all know that we have to keep our teeth clean by brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day and going to the dentist for regular checkups every 6 months.
But it would be good to know some facts about your teeth so you can develop and maintain good oral health.
Here are some facts that you may not know about teeth and some things you could be doing that can damage them.
1. Dry mouth and tongue can cause tooth decay
Saliva helps protect the teeth from dental caries, gingivitis, and aids in chewing, swallowing and digesting food. Also, saliva neutralizes the acid included in the food that you eat, helping the enamel absorb less acid.
Remember to drink 8-10 glasses a day not just to keep yourself hydrated, but also to avoid a dry mouth.
2. Damaging your teeth right after eating
If you brush immediately after drinking or eating, especially food with high acidity such as soda or citrus fruits, you’re scrubbing the acid into your slightly softened enamel. This increases the chance of tooth decay.
Wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after every meal. If you just drank liquids with high acidity, drink a cup of water first before brushing your teeth. By then, your saliva has neutralized the acids.
3. People will outgrow their wisdom teeth
We’ve learned in biology class – if an animal has no use for a particular body part, it will stop developing. Similar to us humans, 35% of the human population are born without wisdom teeth. Are you part of this lucky bunch?
4. Pregnant women are at risk of oral problems
The surge of hormones – estrogen and progesterone – in a pregnant woman’s body can affect the gums and teeth. Maintaining good oral hygiene while pregnant will be helpful in keeping teeth healthy and less prone to decay.
5. Two minutes is all it takes
Since you’re already brushing your teeth, you might as well do it the right way and with the right toothbrush.
Brush your teeth for 2 minutes. You can time it yourself or maybe hum a tune in your head like “row row row your boat…” If you brush too long – or too often – it can damage your teeth and even your gums.
In finding the right toothbrush, choose what’s best for your teeth. Consider the shape and arrangement of the bristles, criss-cross bristles can get to hard to reach spaces.
6. Some people may still have their baby teeth
Did you know that not everyone loses their baby teeth? There are cases when a permanent tooth won’t push out a baby tooth and so no matter what age you are, you can still have a baby tooth or two.
They will stay put but since baby teeth are weak, they must be removed eventually and replaced with an implant. Ask your dentist on your next visit if your teeth are all permanent.
7. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body
But if not well taken care of, enamel can easily break or chip. Once you have permanent teeth they can’t be replaced anymore. So take care of your teeth. Don’t use them to remove price tags or open sachets of ketchup.
Three basic rules to follow: brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once a day and visit your dentist every 6 months.
All graphics by Jessica Lazaro
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