Teeth: they do so much for you. Imagine a world where people had no teeth. You couldn’t chew your food, bite your enemies or enunciate your words properly. Here are 6 totally fun facts about your teeth.
1. The first thing that people notice about you is your smile
You can only make one first impression and according to studies, 40% of people notice your smile first. In another study, 96% of people believe a smile is important to people’s appearance. Basically, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve styled your hair, applied makeup or painstakingly picked out an outfit – if your teeth are yellow, decayed or damaged, people are going to take notice and it will affect how they feel about your attractiveness.
2. Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your body
You may believe the bones in your body, or even your skull, is the hardest part of your body, but it is actually your tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel is the part of the tooth that acts as a barrier to protect it. Of course, even with it being as hard as it, it can wear away from acids in your food and drink, exposing your tooth to decay and damage.
3. Teeth start forming in the womb
Did you know there have actually been babies who are born with teeth poking through the gums? This is because your teeth start forming around the sixth to eighth week of fetal development. The permanent teeth are already forming as well, starting in the 20th week of prenatal development.
4. You spend over a month of your life brushing your teeth
Consider that you should spend two minutes, at least twice a day, brushing your teeth. Multiply that by 70 years (or more) and you’ll have spent 35.5 days of your life brushing your teeth. Add to that the amount of time spent flossing, picking food out of your teeth, getting cleaning and procedures at the dentist and your tooth care will have taken up a good portion of your life. But, your teeth are definitely well worth the time invested!
5. Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprint
There’s a reason that forensic scientists use your dental records when trying to identify a body. Our teeth are completely different from everyone else’s and as unique as your fingerprint.
6. You have 32 teeth
While there are a few exceptions, most adults have 32 teeth. These include 8 incisors, 8 premolars, 4 canines and 12 molars, which will include your four wisdom teeth. Most people will have all of their adult teeth in by the time they hit 20, but in some cases baby teeth will stay and in other cases, wisdom teeth don’t come through.
Sleep … it is the best end to a good or bad day. In our sleep, we recharge our batteries literally, as we restore energy, repair and grow tissue, relax our systems and it is when most of our growth occurs. But, sleep isn’t all good, as it can also be a time that you are damaging your teeth and may not have the slightest clue. Here’s how to find out.
You wake up with a sore jaw
The biggest cause of tooth damage during your sleep is from bruxism (teeth grinding). Just as many people don’t truly know they snore until a partner tells them so, you may not know you are grinding your teeth. It is believed that over 62.8 million Americans grind their teeth. When you grind your teeth, you are putting 290 pounds of pressure on each tooth! Considering this, if you are waking up with your jaw feeling sore or stiff, you can only imagine the pressure it has been under. Not only will your jaw be sore, you could have an earache, ringing in the ears, neck pain and headaches.
You grind or clench while you are awake
Ever notice that when you are stressed or actively focused, your teeth are clenched? You may think that you only do that while awake, but estimates say that about 8% of the population grinds their teeth at night and if you are doing it during the day, there is a likely chance it’s happening at night too.
Because grinding your teeth puts such pressure on your teeth, it is only natural that the teeth will feel the effects of it while you are awake. Extra sensitive teeth could be a sign of bruxism, not of just regular aging or the glass of wine you had before bed. If you are regularly brushing and flossing before bed and still waking up with sensitive teeth, bruxism could be to blame.
Of course, not only is sensitivity a cause for alarm, but if your teeth are actually breaking, cracking or your fillings are falling out, it is highly possible your tooth-grinding habits are the cause. Your sleep is not restful and you don’t know why If you are waking up through the night and don’t know why, it could be because you are grinding your teeth so badly and causing pain so your body wakes you up continually. You won’t always feel the pain upon waking, because your jaw may relax as you do so. Your best course of action if you believe you are damaging your teeth in your sleep due to grinding is to speak to your dental professional about some sort of protective device. A mouth guard or splint may not stop your grinding, but it will protect your teeth in the process. There are also other types of therapies that do help with the grinding that can be a little more invasive.
Being an adult is hard. There are so many things to take care of and worry about and because of this, many people forget to take care of their health. There are so many apps out there these days that make it easier for people to take care of their responsibilities. Here are the 5 best apps that will help you take care of your dental health.
1. Brush DJ
Making things fun is the name of the game with this app. As they say “toothbrushing is boring”. Because you need to brush for two minutes, the app will play two minutes of music so you know you’ve done a thorough job. This app is perfect for adults and kids who do a mediocre job of getting their two minutes in. This app is totally free too!
2. Dental Phobia
One of the best ways to reduce your fear or phobia of the dentist is through mediation or mindfulness. The dental phobia app helps you get into a sort of hypnotic trance so your fears are lessened while visiting the dentist. It’s worth a try for only $0.99.
3. Mouth Monster
Another great app for kids, this one lets you do so much. First, mouth monsters are basically oral bacteria and your kids need to fight them with their toothbrush. Each day the stages of bacteria will grow if they aren’t beaten (by kids brushing). You can also take photos of kids brushing their teeth and the app keeps the photos so you can see how they’ve changed. The app even tells kids when they are brushing too much or too hard.
4. Braces Help
For those with braces, this app is all about care, comfort and so much more. You can watch videos, check out the colour braces visualizer and share all information easily. You can look up info on your braces like facts about orthodontics, elastics and braces in general.
5. Dental Expert
As a patient, information is key. Dental Expert lets you have that information before or after your appointment. This basically informative app has so much information on medical conditions, bad breath, fillings, oral cancer and so much more. There are charts, ask the expert plus fun facts. While you don’t need an app to take care of your dental health, technology makes it much easier to do what you need to do.
With the DIY craze in full force and many people wondering about chemicals and other harmful ingredients in their personal hygiene products, turning to making your own toothpaste is a valid solution. Many commercial toothpastes contain fluoride (which is definitely recommended by dentists, but is a personal choice), sweeteners, Triclosan, glycerin, artificial colours, dyes, synthetic flavours and surfactants (to give it later). If you want a toothpaste that you know is 100% all natural, you need to make it yourself. How do you do it?
Different recipes for homemade toothpaste
There are many different homemade toothpaste recipes out there, so you may need to play around with the ingredients and find one that gives you a good mouth feel and cleans your mouth properly. Many people use coconut oil and baking powder, which are both excellent ingredients for cleaning the teeth. Essential oils are perfect for adding an ingredient for fresh breath. Some also use some sort of natural sugar in order to help keep the toothpaste in the mouth and not feel like they are eating paper. Salt can be useful as well, as it can aid in keeping the teeth strong.
Here are some of the best recipes for homemade toothpaste:
• 1/2 cup coconut oil
• 2-3 tbsp of baking soda
• 2 tsp stevia powder
• 15-20 drops of essential oils – peppermint or cinnamon work great
Mix ingredients together in a glass jar. Spread the mixture onto your toothbrush before brushing.
• 2/3 cup baking soda
• 1 tsp fine sea salt
• 1 – 2 tsp peppermint extract
• filtered water
Mix together in a glass jar, adding water until the toothpaste reaches your desired consistency. Those two recipes are the most simple, but if you want to get complicated, there are other recipes that use ingredients like Xylitol, bentonite clay, and even crushed cacao nibs! Did you ever think you’d be brushing your teeth healthily with chocolate toothpaste?
Controversy around homemade toothpaste
There are some detractors who don’t believe homemade toothpaste is good enough to keep away cavities and gum disease. And among the ones who believe it does, there is also some argument about which ingredients to use. Some feel that essential oils should not be placed in the mouth as they kill off natural bacteria. Some even believe that just baking soda alone will do the job. Your best bet is to speak to your dentist and get their opinion on what should work for your mouth. While trial and error is always recommended, you should watch the state of your oral health and immediately stop using homemade toothpaste (or change the recipe) if troubles (like tooth decay) occur.
As those who have had a broken bone, pneumonia or another ailment where seeing inside the body was needed know, x-rays are a very important part of your health care. X-rays are basically electromagnetic radiation used as a way of seeing inside of the body, through the skin, organs and bones. In terms of dental health care, they allow the dentist to see cavities on the teeth, bone beneath the gums and so much more. Because they are a form of radiation, some people balk at getting x-rays, wondering if they can have a detrimental health effect, especially when just doing a check-up at the dentist. That’s definitely a personal decision, but by knowing the most important times you need an x-ray at the dentist, you can make it an informed one.
1. Show areas of decay not visible with an oral exam
One of the most common reasons for a dental x-ray is to find areas of decay within the mouth that can’t be seen with the naked eye. This could be part of the regular schedule of x-rays at your checkup or if you have complaints of pain or sensitivity.
2. Reveal bone loss or changes to the bone
Gum disease and/or infection often results in bone loss, which can be detrimental to your overall dental health. Taking an x-ray to determine if the bone has changed is important so valid treatment can be taken.
3. Assist in the preparation of the mouth for procedures
If you are getting an implant, root canal, braces, dentures, wisdom tooth removal or some other type of procedure where the dentist or surgeon needs to see what they are dealing with, a x-ray is the best way for them to prepare.
4. Reveal an abscess or infection, developmental abnormalities, cysts, and tumors
Whether you have valid complaints or none, an x-ray is an important diagnostic tool in finding abscesses in the gums, undiscovered infections, developmental abnormalities, cysts and tumors. The x-ray will pick up the changes in the gums or bones and further screening can be performed.
5. Ensure a child’s mouth is developing as it should
Parents are often very concerned about children getting regular dental x-rays, but it is often very important for children to get them. Not only can x-rays help watch for decay, it will allow the dentist to figure out if the mouth will be able to fit all of the incoming teeth and if the primary teeth will fall out before the permanent teeth come in. If not, they may need to pull a primary tooth in order to ensure the best chances for the permanent ones. Wisdom teeth may also be an issue and x-rays can pick up on the fact that they are coming in and if they will be impacted and unable to make their way through the gums.
Dental x-rays are an important tool for any dental patient in both the prevention and treatment of oral health issues.
Gum disease is literally no laughing matter. Not only can it cause you distress, pain and give you troubles doing daily tasks, it can impact your overall health. Gum disease is linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, coronary heart disease, preterm birth, oral cancer, diabetes, arthritis and pneumonia aspiration. Like many health issues, if you can catch it early, there may be viable treatment options to help you. There are four stages of gum disease: gingivitis, early periodontitis, moderate periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis is what you typically think of when you think of gum disease. It is that pink in the sink inflammation of the gums that tells you something isn’t quite right. This is the first stage of gum disease and the least serious. What causes it is plaque on your teeth that is not removed and the easiest treatment is to get the plaque removed with regular brushing and flossing and a dental cleaning. You may also experience swollen and tender gums. If you are experiencing these symptoms, see your dentist as soon as you can to get your gingivitis under control.
With the above symptoms added to some inflammation of the gums and early bone loss, this is called early periodontitis. Approximately 30% of people who have gum disease are at this stage. It can be identified and differentiated from gingivitis through an x-ray at the dentist’s office, where they will see abnormal attachment levels to the teeth, as well as the state of the bone health.
If there is bone loss when your dentist does the x-rays, this can signal moderate periodontitis. The tartar has penetrated through the gum tissue and could then progress to the most serious form of gum disease – advanced periodontitis.
Only about 10-15% of gum disease patients go on to experience the advanced stage of it, which may also become a chronic disease. In this case, there is a loss of the supporting bone and then of the tooth itself. Chronic gum disease will worsen as a patient ages. A deficiency in the immune system and/or
combinations of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth could be the culprit. If this stage is left untreated, bone loss will progress in a cyclical pattern with periods of rapid disease progression followed by some recovery and then the cycle repeats. Treatments for the varying stages of gum disease include scaling and root planning, medication and surgery.
Where your health is concerned, knowing your family history is always important as many diseases and ailments are genetic and/or run in the family. What about bad teeth? Are cavities, gum disease and other problems with your oral health related to your family history?
Nature vs. nurture
Living within a family, you often pick up their habits and teachings. If your parents aren’t keen on oral health care, eat foods that are bad for your teeth and don’t regularly visit a dentist, you may be apt to follow in their footsteps. After all, your parents are the ones who show you how to brush and floss as a child and if it wasn’t important to them, it may not be important to you as you grow older. In this case, poor oral health may not be a biological issue, but a nurture issue.
Those who lack the funds to visit the dentist, perform proper oral health care and eat healthy will definitely see the effects of this on their oral health. The poorest members of our society, which include a large portion of children, will have an increased risk of cavities and gum disease simply because they can’t afford to care for their teeth. With 32% of people not having dental insurance, only 80% of Canadians visit a dentist regularly. In these situations, poor oral health is an indication of running in the family, simple because poverty is often generational.
To say something truly runs in the family, it can mean that you have a family history of it because of biological reasons – i.e., a genetic disposition to the ailment. Bad teeth are no exception:
– Periodontal (gum) disease may be caused by a genetic predisposition in 30% of the population.
– The gene DEFB1 may be to blame for people with a greater risk of cavities in permanent teeth.
– Genetics play a minor role in oral cancer (lifestyle factors play a much larger role).
– The size of your jaw is determined by your genetic makeup and will determine if you have misaligned teeth.
Asking the question “do bad teeth run in the family”, your answer can be a definitive yes, but it can be attributed to a number of factors, as you can see above. But, this doesn’t mean you are destined to suffer with cavities, bleeding gums and bad breath. Take care of your oral health, regardless of what
runs in the family and teach your children to do the same.
Imagine sheer pain when using your facial muscles – for chewing, talking, yawning or any other mouth function – that’s the basic definition of TMD. Also incorrectly called TMJ, TMD refers to the disorder of the TMJ – the temporomandibular joint. The syndrome or disorder (TMD) is pain in the
temporomandibular joint (which is basically your jaw joint) caused by a number of factors. The pain isn’t just in the jaw, but can radiate around the head, neck, ear and the rest of the face. The jaw can lock, click or pop when using, which can cause discomfort and pain as well. Your TMJ moves in two ways – rotating and hinging – and allows you to move your mouth to perform the actions it needs to do. There is a soft disk of cartilage that lies between the bones and absorbs the shock to the TMJ when you perform those actions and basically distributes the force throughout the joint. Most of the time in TMD the cause is that this piece of cartilage in the joint has slipped out of place, but there are other causes.
Causes of TMD
The main cause of TMD is trauma to the face. Microtrauma occurs when the trauma is internal, such as from grinding or clenching the teeth. Constant grinding and clenching may cause the teeth and jaw to become misaligned, leading to a TMD diagnosis. Macrotrauma happens after an accident or injury to the face, where there is some dislocation of the jaw or damage to the cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a nasty autoimmune disease that causes issues all over the body, but can also affect the TMJ. It destroys the cartilage and the bone and causes joint deformity. Osteoarthritis does a
similar thing as the joint degenerates and there is a loss of cartilage in the joint. That combined with trauma will cause TMD.
Signs of TMD
The signs of TMD can be obvious or can start off subtle. They include:
– Pain in the facial muscles
– Pain in the jaw joints
– Radiating pain in the neck and shoulders
– Ringing in the ears/hearing loss
– Clicking or popping sounds in the joint
– Grating in the jaw joint
– Swelling of the face or mouth
– Jaw locked in a wide open position
– Jaw can’t open fully
– Bite feels off and teeth don’t fit properly together
– Muscle spasms
– Trouble swallowing
How to get help
If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should see your health care or dental professional right away. If your jaw is locked, you should seek emergency help. Blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound, CT scans and/or MRI scans may be performed in order to give you a diagnosis.
Everyone has excuses as to why they don’t floss. In fact, 50% of North Americans don’t floss daily and almost 20% don’t even floss at all – ever. Not having time or not believing it is important are the two biggest excuses. Flossing literally takes two minutes out of every day. That leaves you 1,338 minutes in the day to everything else you need to do. Here’s how you can find those extra two minutes in your day:
Set your alarm earlier
Sure, you need that extra sleep, but will two minutes of lost sleep in a day hurt you? No, but not flossing will. In fact, if you don’t floss it could cost you more time with extra dental visits to fix the cavities, gum disease and other issues you’ll have because you don’t floss.
Do it while you watch television
Flossing is so easy, you can do it anywhere and at anytime. You don’t need to brush, floss, rinse, when you can enjoy sitting on your couch, flossing your teeth while they figure out who the killer is on CSI. Keep some floss and tissues in the drawer on your coffee table or in your kitchen. When you sit down to relax, get the floss out and go to town. Ever better, if you having popcorn while watching your favourite shows, you really want to keep the floss handy, because those kernels can wreak so much havoc on your pearly whites!
Do it while on the telephone
If you spend too much time on the telephone either for business or personal reasons, and most of that time is spent listening, why not get a headset or put it on speakerphone and floss while you listen? If the conversation is mind-numbing, you can at least feel somewhat productive that you are getting your oral health taken care of in the meantime.
Do it while on the treadmill
If you always find the time to exercise, you definitely make your health a priority. Your oral health needs to be a priority too. Grab some floss and take care of your teeth while you walk on the treadmill. If you weight train, do a tooth or two between sets. Of course, if you are at a gym doing these things, it may be socially frowned upon.
Do it while sitting in traffic
If your commute is long and stalled and you sit in traffic for a better portion of it, why not give yourself something to do and get the floss out? If you take public transit, the other passengers might not like it much, but in the privacy of your own vehicle: go for it!
There are a few momentous occasions in a child’s life that mark them growing up – when they sleep through the night, when they sit up, when they walk, when they independently use the washroom and when their teeth come in. The fun part about teeth coming in is that everyone notices that the gummy smile is gone and in its place are some beautiful pearly whites. But, when do these teeth come in and when do the rest start poking their way through? As well, when do they lose these baby teeth and get their permanent teeth? Read on to find out.
First teeth eruption
Every child is different, but in a general sense, many babies get their first tooth – their central incisors on the bottom – between five to eight months of age. Of course, you’ve definitely heard the stories of babies having teeth poking through earlier and later and this is just an average age range. Next to come in may be the lateral incisors (the ones next to the centrals) at seven to ten months of age. The top teeth may protrude at the same time from about six to ten months for the central ones and eight to twelve months for the laterals.
Canines and molars
While babies can still bite with their incisors, they have a hard time chewing with those teeth. Their canines usually come in around 16-20 months of age on the top and bottom and the first molars appear around 11-18 months of age. The second molars are much later and appear around your baby’s second birthday, give or take about 6 months each way.
These permanent teeth come in without replacing a baby teeth and don’t usually erupt until a child is between six and seven years old (hence the name). They are also called primary molars.
You’ll start realizing your baby is no longer a baby when instead of having baby teeth erupting, those little ones are falling out. Get your quarters ready, because the tooth fairy will now be making regular visits to your house. Those first central incisors will be the first to fall, at around six to seven years of age. Grade two is when you usually see those class pictures of smiling kids with no front teeth. The next to fall are the lateral incisors around seven to eight years of age and the canines follow at around nine to eleven years. Molars fall out around 10 to 13 years of age. Those six-year molars never fall out, as they begin as permanent teeth. You can expect that your baby will have some teeth by one year of age and that they’ll stop losing them in their early teen years.