The Truth About Your Teeth | Written By a Dentist
Written By: Kane Sears, DMD
Gingivitis is what occurs when gums become inflamed and bleed regularly. This inflammation can lead to bone loss around your teeth, which is known as periodontitis. Over time this can look ugly because your gums do not cover your teeth anymore and you may even lose your teeth if you lose all of the bone around them. More seriously, the bacteria causing these diseases is strongly associated with heart disease.
What causes this? Dirty teeth, smoking, diabetes, age and time. Now this is a slow progressing disease and if you are young it most likely will not be affecting you presently, but can in the future if you do not create good habits now.
This is why you brush and floss your teeth all the way by the gums and this is why you go to a dentist twice a year to have a professional clean your teeth around the gums.
Did you know only brown bears and humans get cavities?
In the modern American diet, it is nearly impossible to avoid sugar because even carbohydrates (such as bread) break down into sugars.
So how does this work?
Bacteria in your mouth breaks down these sugars into acids. These acids start eating away at your tooth causing a cavity.
Your tooth has three layers. The outer part is the protector called enamel. If the breakdown is contained in this zone, you are still safe. In fact, your body can heal and create a scar by depositing minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, and fluoride.
Now if you get to the second, softer layer called dentin, a filling may be required. A filling will take out all the bacteria and put a filling material in its place.
This is why drinking soda on a regular basis may cause tooth erosion
The third layer is the core of the tooth where the blood supply and nerve is located. If the cavity reaches here, that is the tooth ache zone. You do not want to get to this point, but if you do, have no fear! A root canal will be done to get you out of pain and remove the infected nerve.
The bacteria that breaks down the sugars only works in an anaerobic environment. Meaning, where there is no oxygen. In your mouth, anaerobic environments include the deep grooves on the chewing surface of your teeth, the areas right below your gums, and the most common, right where your teeth touch. This is also known as the flossing zone.
The main reason to take dental x-rays is to see right where those teeth touch each other. This is one of the most common three areas we see cavities…make sure to keep it clean!
Don’t think that it’s okay to have a cavity because the dentist will just fix it. Once you start the process it goes as follows:
You get a filling. Then, you get another cavity where that filling meets the tooth. Then, the whole tooth is a filling and you need something stronger, such as a crown. Then, the crown will need a root canal. And if that fails, you remove the tooth and put an implant in. Hopefully by the time that fails you are in heaven or whatever you believe. This will happen to you UNLESS you make a habit change and either clean your teeth better or reduce sugar intake.
Some people genetically have a more basic saliva and some have a more acidic saliva. Those with more acidic saliva are more prone to cavities and as a recommendation I would suggest extra fluoride as a mineral to help prevent cavities. Those with a more basic saliva will turn their place into a hardened calculus and may have more gum problems, but less cavity risk. For these people, I recommend going for a professional cleaning more often.
So, everyone: Go see your local dentist, and don’t forget to brush with an electric toothbrush and floss!