Having strong, healthy teeth is of paramount importance to everyone. This allows the consumption of a variety of foods, including some which need a strong set of teeth to properly break them down. This equates to a balanced diet for the person, which is the optimal intake of different vitamins and minerals in the food for the body. The jaw contains four types of teeth, which are:
The four front teeth are known as the incisors and are thin and sharp, and their function is to cut the food. Next to the incisors are the canines, which have a cusp, or a pointed edge, which served to hold the food in place. Canines are very suited to this specific job, and are strong and stable teeth. Behind these teeth are the premolars, which are sometimes referred to as bicuspids, as they usually contain two cusps, but many of these teeth contain three cusps, so the term premolar is preferred. These teeth perform two functions; one is holding the food in place, the other is to crush the food. Farthest back in the mouth are the molars, which are the main grinding teeth, breaking down and crushing food. These teeth usually have three or four cusps, and have a broad chewing surface to facilitate their role.
The incisors and canines, because of their location at the front of the mouth, are known as the anterior teeth, and the premolars and molars, sitting at the back of the mouth, are called the posterior teeth. Keeping these teeth healthy and in a condition to work for a lifetime is very important, and it would be informative to look at ways to achieve this.
Foods to Avoid
Many authorities, including candy manufacturers, publish guidelines with regards to ‘safe’ intake levels of substances such as sugar. However, there are some considered by most authorities to cause the most damage:
- Sticky sweets and candy. This type of product not only introduces large doses of sugar into your mouth, and due to its sticky nature ensured that this stayed on your tooth for as long as possible. This is considered the worst combination of risks. Avoid caramel and toffee.
- Carbonated drinks. Most carbonated drinks contain excessive amounts of sugar, and in fact, this has been identified as the leading source of additional sugar in a child’s diet. Carbonated drinks contain citric and phosphoric acids in addition to the sugar, and this increases the damaging effects of consuming these types of drinks.
- Sugared cereals. These products, which can be topped, filled, or sprinkled with sugar and sweeteners, while at the same time trying to promote the use of healthy grains in the product on the front of the box, can contribute to tooth decay.
- Acidic citric fruits. Products such as tarts containing lemon or limes can contain high levels of citric acid found in the fruits, exposing the teeth to high levels of corrosive acid.
- Sports drinks. Studies have shown that some types of these drinks can contain as much sugar as carbonated drinks, which can be cleverly mixed with the advertising reared toward exercise and health products to mask this fact, and are as corrosive to the teeth.
Good Foods for Teeth
There are a number of food products that are considered good for, or promote health, in our teeth. Some dentists will tell you that:
- Milk is good for your teeth, because it contains calcium and also helps prevent against gum disease as well.
- Wild salmon contains vitamin D, which is critical for good oral health, as it allows your body to absorb and use the calcium for the body.
- Oranges can promote good gum health, as the blood vessels and connective tissue holding the tooth in the jaw are strengthened by consuming these fruits.
- Water is one of the best fluids to consume for good oral health, as the water not only is effective at washing away food debris, it also keeps the levels of saliva in the mouth at a level that is effective to remove plaque from teeth.
How Long to Spend Brushing
It is recommended that a minimum of two minutes every day is spent thoroughly cleaning teeth. Some sources state that the minimum should be twice a day, for two minutes per time. The most important thing here is to actually do the routine, so you are cleaning every single day, and on the occasions that you can, brush more than once. Some people like to brush their teeth every time they eat, but this is over excessive. As long as the acids and sugars do not sit on your teeth for days, cleaning once at night and once in the morning seems sufficient.
A minimum of two minutes should be spent thoroughly, but not overly aggressive, cleaning all areas of the teeth, which will at the same time ensure your inner cheeks and gums are cleaned as well. Follow this, and selecting the correct style of toothbrush will help to maximise the effect of the routine and the brush you are using. To maintain absolute efficiency, change the toothbrush every three months, so the next time you are due to purchase a new one, have a think beforehand as to your requirements, and buy accordingly.