If we lose a permanent tooth, it’s gone forever. That’s why it’s so important to keep our teeth and mouths happy and healthy.
When it comes to knowledge about oral health, are you armed to the teeth? Take this quiz and find out!
Another name for baby teeth is:
B. At one time, people thought that babies’ teeth grew in as a result of the mother’s milk washing over the baby’s gums—hence, the name milk teeth. But now we know that babies' teeth begin to develop before they are born, though in most cases they don't push through the gums until the baby is six to 12 months old.
There are _____ different types of adult teeth.
The incisors are your eight front teeth—four on the top and four on the bottom—that are used for cutting and chopping food. Your canine teeth, which help tear food, are the four sharp, pointy teeth located on the outside of your incisors. Your premolars, also known as bicuspid teeth,are the eight teeth next to your canine teeth and are used for crushing and grinding food. Your eight molars—four on top and four on the bottom—are your strongest teeth and work with your tongue to mash up the food until it's ready to be swallowed safely. Most people also have four wisdom teeth, often known as “third molars.”
When a person develops fewer than the usual number of adult teeth, the condition is called:
A human adult should have 32 teeth. Because many adults have had their “wisdom” teeth removed, they may have only 28 teeth (if no other teeth have been lost or removed). Some people, however, never develop all their permanent teeth. The condition, known as hypodontia, is diagnosed when a person fails to develop one or up to six permanent teeth. (This excludes the four wisdom teeth, since it’s not unusual that some of them never grow in.) Treatment may include the use of bridges or implants to fill in the gaps created by the missing teeth.
The hardest part of the tooth is called the:
Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and protects the more sensitive inner parts of the tooth. The part of the tooth that you can see above the gum is covered in hard, shiny enamel. Under the enamel is the dentine—a substance that protects the inner part of the tooth, called the pulp, which houses each tooth's blood supply and nerve endings. Cementum (which sounds the hardest, right?) covers the root of the tooth but is nowhere near as hard as enamel.
_____________ is the film of bacteria that coats your teeth if you don't brush them properly.
Plaque is a film of bacteria that contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. Plaque contains bacteria that interact with sugars in the food you eat, creating acid that causes the breakdown of tooth enamel and results in cavities.
For optimal dental care, how long should you brush your teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush for about two minutes with a soft-bristled brush twice a day, and clean between your teeth daily with floss. The same applies if you’re using an electric toothbrush. Replace your brush (of brush head, if you use an electric toothbrush) every three to four months. Remember the old saying: You don’t have to brush all of your teeth—just the ones you want to keep.
Tooth decay can be a concern with:
Dental plaque (or bacteria buildup) is a problem for your natural teeth, as well as any artificial teeth, such as dentures or implants. Even teeth that already have fillings are at risk because plaque can find its way underneath a chipped filling and cause new decay. The bacteria that cause tooth decay can also stick to dentures. While cavities cannot form in the denture itself, people who have partial dentures should be aware that the denture can trap bacteria and cause decay in the surrounding teeth. If you wear dentures remember to brush them on a daily basis with a nonabrasive toothpaste or denture cleaner, and soak them in a denture-cleaning solution regularly. It’s a good idea to take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every 24 hours to keep the lining of your mouth healthy.
Which forms of tobacco use are bad for your oral health?
All of the major forms of tobacco use can harm your oral health. Both cigarette and cigar smoking can lead to a variety of adverse oral effects, including gum recession, oral cancer, periodontal (gum) disease and tooth staining. Use of smokeless tobacco can have similar consequences such as tooth discoloration, bad breath, enamel erosion, tooth loss, cavities due to the sugars added to the product—and even oral cancer.
Xerostomia, a common condition that can compromise your health, diet and quality of life, is also known as:
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, can cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing and speaking. It can also increase the chance of dental decay and oral infections. Xerostomia can be caused by chemotherapy…head and neck radiotherapy…medications…an autoimmune disease (including Sjögren’s syndrome)…or other conditions (such as uncontrolled diabetes, infections or hormonal changes). Sugar-free gum may provide relief. Be sure to see your doctor if you have any symptoms of dry mouth that you think may be related to a medical condition.