The mouth is truly a unique part of the human body. It may look tiny, but there are a lot of things going on inside it. Aside from being a key tool in the digestion of food, it also contains the tongue, teeth, and saliva that have been scientifically proven to be as unique as a fingerprint. A lot can be learned from the mouthpart such as a person’s diet, health problems, and habits.
The mouth also contains bacteria that we get from improper dental hygiene. There may be good bacteria in the mouth, but most of them are bad bacteria that cause oral problems like tooth decay and bad breath. Most people neglect to learn about their oral cavities, and most do not clean their mouth and teeth properly. To avoid doing these mistakes, one must be eager to learn about the teeth and the mouth, and how the two work together to help us speak, express emotions, and digest food.
How did bacteria get into my mouth?
Even the most obsessed in dental care have bacteria in their mouths. Some neat freaks will surely shudder in disgust if they know bacteria and germs lurk in their oral cavities. Oral bacteria are normal, and not all are considered bad for dental health. Good bacteria exist too, and both are lurking in your teeth and below your gums to feed and survive.
The environment in our mouth is harsh for most bacteria. Still, over 6 billion bacteria survive and exist in your mouth. To give you a comparison, it is almost the same number of the total population on Earth (7 billion as of 2019). Most wonder how bacteria enter their mouths because humans do not see, feel, smell and taste them. The mouth is home to 34 to 72 different strains of bacteria. Some strains help in keeping our mouth healthy, while some just want to feed and destroy teeth and gums.
Among the six billion bacteria are pathogenic bacteria that are the culprits of enamel erosion, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Included in the long list is the Porphyromonas gingivalis. It is the bacteria that causes infections on the gums such as Periodontitis. It is an oral condition in which the tooth loosens from the gums and may even fall out. The bacteria works by attacking the tissues and alveolar bone that holds the teeth to the gums. To prevent this from happening, do not only brush your teeth but also incorporate flossing and gargling with mouthwash in your routine.
Another common type of bacteria found in the mouth is the Streptococcus mutans. They destroy the teeth by targeting its outer covering — the enamel. They produce acids after feeding on sugar and starch, and these acids will then weaken the enamel of the teeth. These oral bacteria may cause diseases such as thrombosis, tooth decay, and halitosis.
Along with proper dental hygiene, good bacteria can also keep the oral cavity clean. Known as probiotics, these good bacteria reduce the amount of plaque on the teeth. These microorganisms also live in your mouth to prevent oral infections and diseases. They are useful lurkers in the mouth, but they cannot do the job of cleaning the mouth alone. Always remember that a proper dental routine can be effective alone as long as people do it diligently.
How does a tooth grow?
The teeth go through a lot in its long journey. A tooth is born when it first erupts from the gums, and then it grows. After a few years of being used in food digestion, it will fall out to make way for a new tooth. This newborn tooth will then grow and continue doing its functions in the digestive process. Once tooth decay happens, this tooth could be extracted from the mouth and will meet its end. This shows that a tooth has a lifespan, and it should be taken care of because every tooth is important.
The teething process is a painful and stressful thing for a baby. Some do not want to breastfeed when their first tooth starts to come out. Their gums are inflamed, and they have nothing to do but cry and wail. They go through that a lot of times, as the total number of baby teeth is 20.
Baby teeth are also called milk teeth and deciduous teeth. They start to erupt when an infant has reached the age of six months. By the age of six years old, most children start to experience tooth loss as the permanent teeth grow. An adult has a full set of 32 permanent teeth, including 4 wisdom teeth. Though stronger and bigger, permanent teeth are not capable of regrowing. Once they erode and fall off, they will not grow back again.
Why do teeth have different shapes and sizes?
Each tooth has a specific function determined by its size and position in the jaws. A person’s full set of teeth is comprised of incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. A tooth can function on its own, but the mouth is more productive when different types of teeth can work together.
The eight front teeth, known as incisors, are important in the process of breaking food into tiny pieces. It is responsible for cutting food before it is moistened by saliva and ground by the other teeth. On the other hand, the canines, which are the teeth with pointed tips, are responsible for biting food and helping us speak.
The bigger teeth, called premolars and molars, are responsible for chewing, grinding, and breaking down food in the tiniest pieces. The mashed food is then lubricated by saliva for people to swallow it easier. Humans usually have twelve molars, but some only have eight. That is the case when their wisdom teeth do not come out at all.
The third molars, or more commonly known as wisdom teeth, usually appear when a person is around the age of 20. As they come out, it is usually accompanied by pain. If it is an impacted wisdom tooth, pain will sometimes be unbearable because the tooth is stuck in the bone below the gums. Some experience swelling of the gums and cheek because of infections, so they seek professional services to remove the tooth. It may also be extracted if there is not enough space for the tooth to grow on, as it may lead to overcrowding and crooked teeth.
What is my tooth made of?
Understanding the anatomy of the tooth is pretty simple. The innermost part is the pulp. At the center is the dentin, and the outermost part is the enamel. Knowing about these parts will make you understand the importance of proper dental hygiene.
The enamel, which acts as a protective barrier of the tooth, is the strongest substance in the human body. Most would think it is the bone. However, the enamel is composed of minerals that made it more durable. It is the first thing that gets destroyed when cavities start clinging on to our teeth. The tooth will then start to erode and its inner parts will be slowly exposed.
When the enamel has eroded, it exposes the dentin which is a soft tissue that has sensitive nerves in it. When we eat something too hot or too cold, it is the dentin that causes sudden sharp pain. It also protects the innermost part of the tooth — the pulp. The pulp cavity is the living part of the teeth. It has bundles of nerves and numerous blood vessels that the teeth utilize. When the cavity reaches the pulp, it will start to swell and become infected. In the worst cases, people with dental problems that have reached the pulp choose to undergo dental extraction surgeries.
To avoid all of these from happening to your teeth, people should not neglect a proper dental routine. The plaque that starts to destroy the enamel can be eliminated by brushing the teeth, rinsing the mouth with mouthwash, and flossing in between the teeth. Take care of the teeth’s enamel because they are not like bones that can regenerate.
Remember that the mouth has parts aside from the teeth. These units have also significant purposes in the digestive process. The tongue, which is a muscular organ, is responsible for giving humans the sensation of taste. With thousands of taste buds, it is something that we should not forget cleaning. Notice how your tongue moves, especially when you make the l sound. It also gives people the capability to speak. As a part of the digestive system, the tongue is responsible for pushing food from the mouth towards the throat.
These parts work together as a system. It is necessary to take care of the mouth’s overall cleanliness. Every part should be thoroughly cleaned for it to function well, and to help other parts in the process of food digestion. Regular teeth and oral care is a must. So if you still need help in improving your dental routine, we have compiled a few tips for you.
What can I do to eliminate bad oral bacteria?
In this article, it has been frequently mentioned that proper dental hygiene is a must. Once neglected it affects your overall health and may cause dental issues that can damage your self-esteem too. Through probiotic lozenges, one is now capable of providing the body with good bacteria. But there are still practices that you should religiously do and follow to eliminate and combat oral bacteria.
It is recommended that we brush our teeth for three minutes three times a day. Out toothbrush should also be replaced every three months, and when we get sick with any diseases. Germs could still be lurking on the brush and it is not advisable to use them again. We should also be careful about how we brush our teeth. Dentists advise on doing gentle strokes instead of harsh side-to-side brush strokes. This bad habit can also weaken the enamel rods of our teeth and further lead to tooth erosion.
Avoiding starchy, sweet and citrus foods is also one of the must-dos in maintaining a clean mouth. Bad bacteria feed on the sweets that we eat and produce an acidic by-product that can easily destroy the external coatings of our teeth. These bacteria can also turn into plaque and cause tooth decay. It is recommended to drink lots of water to remove acidic residues on our teeth. Water also helps in keeping our oral cavities hydrated.
Most importantly, do not forget to consult your dentist regularly. It is advised that we undergo dental check-ups every 6 months. Most people think that the only time you need to visit a dentist is when you have dental issues such as tooth decay, toothache, and bad breath. That is wrong. Dental check-ups are important because we get to know the status of our teeth’s condition and also get services like dental cleaning that can further improve the cleanliness of our teeth. Our dentists will surely help you if you have any inquiries regarding dental issues. The money, time and effort spent in visiting dental professionals are worth it because they do not just take care of your mouth. They also take care of your smiles.