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YOU’VE PROBABLY NOTICED that your teeth aren’t all the same shape, but do you know the reason? Humans have four different types of teeth, and they each serve specific purposes, both in helping us chew and in giving us our beautiful smiles!
Types Of Teeth And What They Do
The reason we need so many different types of teeth is that we are omnivores, which means we eat both plants and meat. We need teeth that can handle all of our favorite foods!
At the very front of the mouth, the top four and bottom four teeth are the incisors. The middle ones are central incisors, while the ones on the sides are lateral incisors. Incisors are built for slicing. When we take a bite out of an apple, for instance, our incisors shear off a tasty chunk of fruit, but they aren’t the teeth we actually chew with.
Next to the lateral incisors are our canines, which are the sharpest and longest teeth in our mouths. This enables them to grip and tear food, particularly meat. Unlike incisors, we only have four canines. Their long roots and their position at the “corners” of our dental arches also make them some of the most important teeth in our smiles, because they provide much of the shape. Another name for canine teeth is eyeteeth. That might seem weird, but it’s because these teeth are directly beneath our eyes!
After the canines, we have our premolars. You can think of premolars as hybrids between canines and molars. They have sharp outer edges, but they also have flat chewing surfaces, which means they can help the canines with tearing food and the molars with grinding it up. We don’t have any premolars as children; our eight adult premolars are actually the teeth that replace our baby molars!
Finally, we have the molars. Molars are our biggest teeth, with multiple roots and large, flat chewing surfaces. We have eight baby molars and up to twelve adult molars, depending on whether or not we have and keep our wisdom teeth. Molars are the teeth that do most of the chewing, because those flat surfaces are perfect for grinding and crushing food until it’s ready to be swallowed.
What About Herbivores And Carnivores?
Our teeth are the way they are because we’re omnivores. Herbivores (plant-eaters) and carnivores (meat-eaters) have very different teeth. Herbivores typically have chisel-like incisors and large, flat premolars and molars for chewing plants, while their canines are small, if they have them at all. Carnivores tend to have much bigger canine teeth than we do, but their incisors are much smaller, and while they still have premolars and molars, they are often serrated like knives, built for shredding rather than grinding.
What do all four types of your teeth have in common? They need regular attention from a dentist! Keep bringing those incisors, canines, premolars, and molars to see us every six months so that we can make sure they’re all staying healthy. In the meantime, you can do your part by remembering to brush twice a day, floss daily, and cut back on sugary treats!
Americans View Oral Healthcare as Essential
Most American adults believe that proper oral healthcare is vital to overall wellbeing. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Health Policy Institute (a subdivision of the American Dental Association), concluded that 95 percent of individuals considered dental health absolutely essential. Moreover, 80 percent of Americans believe that an attractive, healthy smile is key to a successful career and an enjoyable life.
Dental Visit Statistics
Because so many individuals ranked dental care as crucial to general health, it’s no surprise to learn that 85 percent of Americans believe that biannual exams and cleanings are necessary. But while 75 percent of participants planned to visit the dentist within the next 12 months, less than 40 percent actually did.
Has it been a while since you’ve been to the dentist? Your general dentist in Thornton can assess your oral health and make recommendations for a personalized treatment plan.
Americans and Brushing
The ADA recommends brushing your teeth a minimum of twice every day, for at least two minutes each time. But how many Americans actually do this? One report launched by Delta Dental found that about 70 percent of adults in the United States follow this guideline. Most individuals fell slightly short of the two-minute recommendation; average brushing time was one minute and 52 seconds.
Americans and Flossing
To clean between the teeth properly, the ADA recommends flossing once daily. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans fall short in this department. According to the same Delta Dental study mentioned above, approximately 40 percent of adults floss once a day. Shockingly, two out of every 10 individuals reported that they do not floss their teeth at all.
Numbers on Tooth Decay
Have you ever had a cavity? If so, you are in the majority. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 90 percent of individuals between the ages of 20 and 64 had tooth decay at some point in their lives. Among the older population, this number is higher; 96 percent of those 65 and above were affected.
The good news is that the prevalence of tooth decay has decreased in recent years. Since the water fluoridation movement, there has been a 30 to 50 percent decrease in cavities among the American population.
Numbers on Periodontal Disease
Nearly as common as tooth decay and the leading cause of tooth loss, gum disease affects almost half of the United States population. In a research study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experts found that 64.7 million Americans have had gum disease at some point. Over 70 percent of adults aged 65 and over experienced periodontal issues.
Contact Your General Dentist
Avoid becoming a statistic. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits are absolutely essential to long-term oral health. Routine care can help keep your teeth and gums healthy for many years to come!
Just as in the case of adults, in children, dental hygiene is decisive for having beautiful and healthy teeth. The source of a beautiful smile is a thorough dental hygiene, started right from the first year of life. Problems related to oral health are among the most common in children, and the factors responsible for them are a diet rich in sugars and poor oral hygiene. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their kids about the ritual of a proper dental hygiene and the consequences of ignoring it.
From birth and until the first teeth erupt, oral hygiene should be maintained using sterile compresses to wipe the baby’s gums, the internal cheeks, the tongue and the lips. When the first teeth erupt, they must be brushed daily, whether the teeth are temporary or definitive.
An inappropriate oral hygiene and the accumulation of bacterial plaque allow the occurrence of many problems: caries and their complications, gum disease, bad breath etc. Some of these problems are painful and solving them may take quite some time and several trips to the office.
You must start talking with your kid about these aspects very early. While they are little, children learn through imitation, so it is equally important to them to see their parents brushing their teeth regularly.
Brushing and flossing twice a day will keep your teeth clean, but there are a few other things you can do to keep your teeth healthy.
Check out these 5 simple things the team at Hearthside Dentistry recommends that you start today to make a positive difference with your smile.
- Take Care of Your Toothbrush
For healthy teeth, your toothbrush is very important. After you brush your teeth it’s necessary to take care of your toothbrush. Rinse it well after brushing. Then, in an upright position, make sure to store it out in the open, away from your toilet, to allow for plenty of air flow around the bristles to keep your brush dry as microorganisms that can grow on your toothbrush tend to thrive in a moist environment. If the bristles on your toothbrush begin to fray or look worn, change it. Even if they don’t look worn, the American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months, sooner after an illness like a cold or flu.
- Think before you Drink
What you drink can affect the health of your teeth. Beverages such as soft drinks and sugary juices have been targeted as culprits of tooth decay. Drinking less soda and more water, milk and fresh juices can help protect your teeth.
- Brush your Tongue
When you’re brushing your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue to help fight the bacteria in your mouth. Tongue brushing is not only essential for keeping your teeth healthy, it also helps to stop bad breath. We recommend using a toothbrush with a cheek and tongue cleaner so you can easily remove bacteria from your mouth every time you brush.
- Avoid Tobacco
Do you and your teeth a big favor and avoid tobacco. By eliminating tobacco, it will save you from a higher risk of oral cancer and periodontal complications.
- Visit Your Dentist
If you haven’t been to a dentist in the last 6-months, that is okay, we won’t judge. Today is the day to change this trend and call us at (303) 280-2285 to set up a cleaning. It’s important to visit your dentist at least twice a year to have a full hygiene treatment performed. During your visit, we will include a comprehensive exam with x-rays to help detect and prevent future dental treatments from occurring
Also known as a deep cleaning- SRP