Saturday May 21, 2022

Teeth are for life not just Christmas

We chew and bite with them, talk with them and smile with them so the need to look after them throughout our lives is essential. A life long routine of regular brushing, flossing and trips to the dentist for check-ups will improve our overall health and this needs to be instilled right from an early age for maximum benefit. The mouth is the gateway to our body so by keeping up high standards in oral hygiene, we could be saving ourselves a lot of bother and discomfort further down the line. How much do know about our teeth? Teeth are the hardest substance in the body and are made up of the following:

  • Cementum – tissue that connects roots to the gums and jawbone
  • Pulp – soft, inner part of the tooth in which the blood and nerves run
  • Periodontal ligament – holds teeth against the jaw
  • Dentin – under the enamel, it is a hard mineral substance
  • Enamel – the tough, white part on the outside made from calcium

An adult has 32 teeth made up of incisors, canines, premolars, molars and wisdom teeth. These different teeth are designed to do different jobs. Incisors are at the front and are the sharpest as they need to cut food. Canine teeth are in the corner as they are designed for tearing and grasping. Premolars are next and have a flat chewing surface and the molars at the back are bigger as they are for chewing and grinding before swallowing.

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Between six and ten months, a baby’s teeth begin to come through and the process begins again at about age seven. The baby teeth become loose and fall out and are replaced by permanent adult teeth. Most people have all their adult teeth by 21. It is during the process of getting adult teeth through that it might become apparent that overcrowding or overlapping is an issue. Corrective dental treatment can take place in the form of braces. Metal or clear braces are available. For a Dentist in Cardiff, visit

An adult mouth will hold 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, 8 molars and 4 wisdom teeth. Unless, of course, you’ve had any removed for some reason! Wisdom teeth usually appear at around 18 years of age but are often removed if they cause discomfort and displacement of existing teeth. The crown is the tooth as it appears above the gum line and what is seen when you smile. The root is below the gum line and is the largest part of the tooth but can’t be seen.

According to the dentists, electric toothbrushes offer the best protection against the build up of plaque and are often considered better than manual ones, particularly if they have an oscillating head. Evidence suggests that after a 3 month period, using an electric brush led to a decrease in plaque by 21%. If you get one for Christmas, make sure you keep using it and don’t think it’s just a time to spoil your teeth but make it a lifelong commitment to avoid cavities and decay.

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