About Oral Health

WHAT ARE TEETH?

  • Small, white and calcified structures in the mouth attached to the jaw bone and maxilla.
  • Primary function: mastication (chewing) of food

Teeth are composed of many layers:

  • Enamel: hardest and mineralized structure in the body. Is the visible layer of the tooth. Stronger than bone, enamel protects softer inner layers of the tooth (dentin).
  • Dentin: inner layer of tooth. Is softer than enamel and decays at a more rapid rate. Is the layer in between the enamel and pulp of tooth.
  • Pulp:  In the center of tooth, holds blood supply of tooth and has nerves and blood vessels.
  • Root: not coated with enamel, is coated with a (dentin-like) substance called cementum. Is softer than enamel and dentin, as you age, roots get exposed, making teeth more sensitive.

MOUTH-BODY CONNECTION

“Mouth is a window into the health of the body” -ADA

  • In the mouth, dentists can see signs of malnutrition and if you are risk of certain disease (i.e. gum disease can be a sign of diabetes or leukemia)
  • Mouth is filled with bacteria which can cause tooth decay or gum disease
  • Gum disease (Periodontal disease) is linked with diabetes and cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke)
  • Grinding and clenching your teeth can lead to migraine-like headaches

COMMON DENTAL PROBLEMS

A. Cavities

  1. What is a cavity?
  • Cavities are referred to as tooth decay, holes, or structural damage to teeth
  • The cavity or hole is caused by bacteria in your mouth (aka plaque)
  1. Cavities and food
  • Bacteria in the plaque feed on sugars found in food and drinks and create an acid by-product
  • These acids sit on your teeth and over time breakdown the enamel, causing cavities/holes in your teeth
  1. Severe tooth decay
  • If a cavity is not treated early on, tooth decay (infection) spreads deeper into the tooth until it affects the pulp
  • Then the infection spreads into pulp and out into root end opening.
  • Consequence of no treatment could be life threatening as bacteria starts to spread into surrounding tissues.

B. Tempromandibular (TMD) Joint Disorder– a disorder causing pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement

Tips for Healthy Oral Care

  1. Brushing Three Times Daily

  2. Flossing Daily

  3. Periodic Dental Visits

  4. Healthy Food Choices

  5. Fluoride Products Usage

  6. Mouth Rinses