You probably look at your teeth every morning or every time you smile in front of a mirror. Teeth are an integral part of our appearance and day-to-day activities. And yet, how much do we know about them? The average person can get a surprising number of things about their teeth wrong. Here are five things you may never have known about your teeth:
1. Saliva is More Important for Cavity-Free Teeth than a Toothbrush
What do you think is the most important for keeping your teeth clean and free of cavities? If you think toothbrush, then you are wrong. In fact, saliva is the body’s natural, first-line defense against cavities. We think of saliva as something that helps us chew and swallow food. Saliva performs a more important role in your mouth: it’s a disinfectant. Saliva fights off the bacteria in your mouth that feeds on sugary and starchy food residue. Cavities form because of the acids these bacteria extreme. Saliva can kill or flush out bacteria and keep your risk of cavities to a minimum. Lack of saliva can increase your risk of a cavity. That’s why conditions like dry mouth can result in a cascade of oral health problems. When there’s not enough saliva to counter against sugar-loving bacteria, the enamel of your teeth is more exposed to attacks. Dry mouth could result from several conditions. Quite commonly, dry mouth is the result of not drinking enough water or a side effect of certain medications. Drink plenty of water, not soda, to keep your mouth hydrated. Also, you can carry a sugar-free snack, like no sugar mints, to chew on and stimulate saliva production in your mouth. It will be good for your teeth.
2. Snacking is Worse for Your Teeth than Eating a Giant Meal
What do you think is worse for your teeth? Eating three big meals a day, or snacking every hour or two? According to dentists, snacking is truly terrible for your teeth. Here’s the truth about cavity-causing bacteria: they emerge to feed on food every time you eat. So each time you eat a cookie or take a cola sip, the bacteria come out in full force for the sugar and the starch. And each time your enamel is exposed to an acid attack. It takes about 20 minutes for the mouth to clear off all sugar from the meals you eat. So that’s 20 minutes for bacteria to be active and release acid on the enamel of your teeth. After 20 minutes, the saliva works to neutralize the bacterial activity. When you eat one big meal, there’s plenty of time between meals for your mouth to clear itself. But that’s not the case when you snack all the time. If you eat a snack now, and then an hour later drink a sugary beverage, your mouth is more exposed to bacterial activity than when you eat during set hours. Dentist in Turkey , therefore, recommend eating big meals with plenty of time in-between than to eat several little meals per day with little time in between to keep cavities at bay.
3. Too Much Fluoride is a Real Thing
There’s some controversy regarding how much fluoride ends up in our mouth. It’s important to understand that fluoride is not bad for your teeth. There’s no medical dispute that fluoride can help reduce the risk of tooth decay. However, too much fluoride can be bad for you. Excessive levels of fluoride can lead to a condition known as fluorosis. It causes white spots on the surfaces of your teeth. These spots are usually mild. The condition is not considered serious. However, doctors do recommend keeping your fluoride consumption levels to necessary limits. The problem is, in the modern environment we may end up consuming more fluoride than we should. Fluoride gets added to drinking water supplies. In some areas, there have been incidents of having too much fluoride in drinking water. It’s also an added ingredient in the dental products we use like toothpaste and mouthwashes Because we get enough fluoride from dental products, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 recommended dropping fluoride levels in drinking water to 0.7 mg. This doesn’t mean you should ditch your fluoridated toothpaste. But don’t overuse it. Small children under 3, especially, should not brush their teeth with more than a rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Children between 2 to 6 years should only brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
4. No, You Don’t Need to Rinse Out Toothpaste
Are you in the habit of madly rinsing your mouth after brushing to get all the toothpaste out? Dentists say you don’t need to rinse your mouth at all. The logic is this: fluoridated toothpaste works better if the fluoride remains on the enamel longer. Then there’s more time to neutralize bacteria. This effect is lessened when you rinse your mouth soon after brushing. This is why when you go in for professional teeth cleaning or whitening services, the dentist lets a fluoride-containing gel stay on your teeth for about 30 minutes. If you are at high-risk of cavities, a dentist may recommend a high-fluoride toothpaste. To get the best out of fluoridated toothpaste, keep it on your teeth for slightly longer. However, do not swallow toothpaste. You risk ingesting high levels of fluoride if you do so, which can be toxic to your body. Children, in particular, shouldn’t be allowed to swallow toothpaste. So spit out once you are done brushing your teeth.
5. Bad Teeth Lead to…Heart Disease?
If the eyes are the window into your soul, then your teeth are a window into your overall health. Do you have missing teeth or decayed teeth? If so, you could be at risk for gum disease, a condition affecting one in 7 adults in the U.S. Recent research has uncovered that gum disease is not just a tooth problem. It’s also associated with other very serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Those who suffer from heart disease or diabetes, are also likely to have had gum disease. Not only that, a woman who has gum disease is more likely to give birth to a premature baby or a baby with lower than average weight. Doctors are not certain why gum disease is so related to other conditions. But many suspect that the inflammation associated with gum disease, as the body fights bacterial infections in the gum tissue, can spread to other parts of the body. In any case, gum disease puts you at risk for serious medical problems as you age. So that’s even more reason to brush your teeth twice a day. Now you know why it is important to keep your teeth as healthy as possible. Practice good oral hygiene and see a dentist at least once a year not just for oral health, but to maintain your overall wellbeing.