If you have healthy teeth and gums, you are quite lucky. Although many people rarely think about their teeth until a problem arises, your dental health has a significant impact on your comfort level and overall wellbeing. Teaching your children about the importance of oral health and hygiene can drastically improve their overall health now and later on in life. Here are a few reasons that you should count yourself as fortunate to have a healthy mouth:
Dental problems are often accompanied by pain. Your teeth are comprised of multiple layers. The outermost layer, the enamel, is often the first portion of a tooth to incur damage. When oral bacteria feed on and digest leftover bits of food, they release acid as an end product of their digestion. This acid corrodes the enamel to cause decay.
Decay can easily spread, and over time, if no treatment is received, the deeper layers of the tooth may be affected. As the tooth decay invades the innermost layer of the tooth, which is the pulp, you may start to experience relentless pain.
The pulp of a tooth houses the dental nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. The decay can inflame the nerves, causing chronic pain and necessitating restorative dental care, such as root canal therapy. If a root canal is not performed, the decayed tooth may need to be extracted.
Although you may not think much about the benefits of healthy teeth when it comes to eating, without your teeth, your dietary choices would be quite limited. Each of your teeth serves a purpose. Your molars and premolars are important for grinding your food, and your incisors help tear your food into bite-sized morsels that can fit easily into your mouth.
Once your teeth become unhealthy, chewing can be difficult and painful. You may be relegated to omitting all crunchy, hard or chewy foods from your diet. Imagine how unsavory it would be to only eat soft or liquefied foods.
Healthy teeth are not only important for chewing. They are also important for the maintenance of your jawbone density.
The bones of your jaw support your teeth and give structure to your face. However, your jawbones can start to atrophy without regular stimulation. Each time you chew, the bite pressure incurred by your teeth is transferred to your jawbones. This pressure stimulates the production of additional bone cells to maintain the thickness of the bone.
If your teeth are unhealthy, you may find it difficult to chew, and your bone density may decline. This can eventually cause your face to take on a sagging, aged appearance. In addition, your remaining teeth may not rest as securely in the bone, and as a result, they may be more easily lost.
The health of your teeth and gums also affects other areas of your body. There is a correlation between the health of your teeth and gums and that of your heart. People who suffer from gum disease are more apt to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Poor oral health is also linked to a higher incidence of dementia and erectile dysfunction.
As oral bacteria access other organs of the body through the bloodstream, inflammation often ensues.
How can you keep your kid’s teeth and gums healthy?
There are multiple things that you can do to ensure that your teeth and gums remain in good shape:
- Brush regularly. You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice daily and if it helps, have your kids brush along with you. It is important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will not damage your tooth enamel. In addition, small circular strokes should be used, and all exposed crown surfaces should be cleaned.
- Floss daily. A toothbrush cannot fully access the areas between your teeth. It is important to remove plaque from the interdental spaces by flossing. String floss is typically used. If you wear braces, it must be paired with a threader to ensure that the floss can be navigated around the wires and brackets of your appliance. Another option is the use of an oral irrigator. The concentrated stream of water from the device flushes debris and plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line.
- Have regular dental cleanings. Brushing and flossing do not remove tartar from your teeth. The calcified plaque can only be scraped from your teeth using a professional dental tool.
You and your entire family are extremely lucky to have healthy teeth, but to maintain your oral health, you will still need to see your dentist regularly. Call us today for an appointment!