5 Dental Facts You Might Not Know About

Healthy teeth play vital roles in terms of mouth function. We use our teeth every day to smile, chew and talk. But how much do you really know about your teeth? Here are five dental facts you might not know.

1. Sour foods are just as bad for tooth enamel as sugary treats.

Sugar isn’t the only culprit known to destroy healthy teeth. High acid foods like citrus fruits, wine, carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices soften tooth enamel. Citric acid, fizzy and sour sweets can cause erosion. This damaging effect is even worse on children’s tooth enamel. It takes about a decade after permanent teeth erupt for healthy teeth to mature. Because the teeth are softer, the enamel is more vulnerable to acid erosion. If you plan to eat acidic foods, enjoy these items at mealtimes. You will minimize the harmful effects by consuming them with other food types. It also helps to chew sugar-free gum with xylitol. This sweetener may strengthen teeth and prevent cavities.

2. Tooth enamel is breakable.

Chewing on hard items such as popcorn kernels or ice, or wearing a tongue or lip piercing can all crack or chip teeth. In addition, metal lip and tongue piercings can cause other dental problems because these invasive adornments harbor bacteria.

3. Anyone can have missing teeth.

While tooth extraction is not uncommon for one reason or another, some people are born missing certain teeth. Often, it is one or more wisdom teeth that never develops. The lateral incisor, located beside the large front tooth, is the second most common. This can be due to a genetic abnormality, but frequently tooth loss is caused by trauma, severe decay or periodontal disease.

4. Excessive amounts of fluoride can be bad for teeth.

Fluoride helps re-mineralize teeth and ward off decay, but it can be dangerous for young children in excessive amounts. Kids who ingest large amounts of fluoride while their adult teeth are developing can wind up with fluorosis. Most cases result when a child swallows fluoride toothpaste or ingests a fluoride supplement.

5. Dental braces can cause cavities without the right care.

Be extra vigilant with your oral hygiene practices if you want your orthodontic treatment to be a success. Bacteria, mouth acids and food debris can get stuck around brackets, wires, and retainers. Tooth decay around braces can lead to demineralization, white spots, and cavities. Be sure to brush thoroughly and floss carefully, so your newly straightened smile will be full of healthy teeth.