Basic parts of the oral cavity
The first space of the mouth is the oral cavity bounded on the side and in front by the teeth, and at the back by the soft palate and root of the tongue. Next time you look in a mirror, look at your teeth and the gums around them. Because the health of one often depends on the health of the other. To be strong, teeth needs healthy gums.
Our teeth are mainly for the first step of food digestion that is to bite and chew food before swallowing. Humans have two sets of teeth in their lives. The first set called milk or deciduous teeth that can start erupting as early as six months, and the second set called adult or permanent teeth that will replace milk teeth around the age of 13. There are 32 teeth in an adult including the wisdom tooth or third molars which appear between 18 to 25 years of age.
The teeth and gums can help you in many ways. Teeth are important for good health, infection from bad tooth can spread to other parts of your body. Cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, diabetes and pregnancy-related complications are some of the conditions that are being studied for their relationship to oral health.
As Gregory J Seymour said “you cannot have good general health without good oral health.” Good looks: healthy teeth that look good help you feel good. Use of dental prosthesis and implants can prevent loss of jawbone and sagging of facial features. Good speech: your tongue and lips touching a good complete set of teeth can help you make better sounds. Good eating: your teeth break food into small pieces so that you can swallow and digest it better. Good breath: healthy clean teeth give a good sweet smell.
4 oral health tips in caring for your teeth and gums
First, clean your teeth every day. If you do not clean your mouth properly, the food that is left on your teeth can destroy the teeth and hurt the gums. Bits of food stay longer in groups and hiding places. This is where both tooth and gum problems start on biting surfaces of the back teeth as commonly seen in children. Between the teeth that is hard to reach by toothbrush alone. Therefore, flossing is also important near the gums as commonly seen in adults.
In choosing a toothbrush, dentist’s consensus is to choose soft bristled toothbrushes, especially if you tend to push harder against your teeth. More pressure does not equal cleaner teeth and in fact can cause gum loss which can contribute to tooth sensitivity.
Whether you are using a manual or electric toothbrush, you should spend 30 seconds in each section of your mouth. For the outer surfaces, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line use gentle short strokes moving the brush back and forth in circular motion and flicking motion outward against the teeth and gums. Use this same motion to clean the inner tooth surfaces to clean the inner front tooth surfaces. Hold the brush upright and use gentle up and down strokes. Don’t forget to brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Also give your tongue a brushing, it will help keep your breath fresh. When toothpaste is not readily available you may use salt or baking soda with a few drops of water to make a paste or simply just water as a last alternative. Once done, rinse away the loose pieces of food.
Take about 18 inches of floss, estimate measure from your fingers to the tip of your elbow and loosely wrap most of it around each middle finger leaving only two inches of floss in between with your thumb and index fingers. Gently slide it down between your teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth and gently move it up and down the sides of each tooth.
Second, eat only good healthy foods. Healthy balance is the key. As with good overall health maintaining, good dental health means eating a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups and drinking plenty of fluoridated water. Timing is important. A diet that promotes good oral health is not just about the foods you eat or avoid, when and how you eat them is equally important.
Third, use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride will make the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay. Fluoride use can also encourage repair in early decay before it causes a cavity. Using fluoride toothpaste is an important way to ensure that your teeth are reaping the benefits of this dental friendly mineral. Fluoride varnish or topical fluoride application is a treatment done inside a dental clinic. These are recommended for infant and children, and can be done as early as when the first tooth appears.
Lastly, visit the dentist at least twice a year. It is important for everyone to visit the dentist at least twice a year for tooth cleaning. At this appointment, the dentist will inspect your teeth and gums for infections, imperfections with jaw alignment, healthy tooth growth and possible cavity formation.
Knowing and following these four important tips can help prevent more serious oral health problems.