We all know we’re supposed to brush regularly, avoid too many sweets and floss. But how much do we really know about the health of our teeth? These five surprising facts might make you think twice before reaching for the fruit juice…
Teeth take 10 years to become coated in enamel
Enamel is the hard substance that protects the tooth from decay and erosion. And it doesn’t fully mature until the tooth has been in the mouth for 10 years. In other words: your children barely ever have enamel on their teeth, and as an adult you have to wait until you’re almost into your 20s before your gnashers have properly hardened. That means your mouth is vulnerable to decay and general attack for most of the first quarter of your life. You have been warned.
Fruit juice can make your teeth softer
That’s right: it isn’t just chocolate bars that cause holes in your teeth. Anything that has a significantly low pH is potentially capable of knocking a lump out of your tooth’s protective coating – and that includes fruit juice. Even “pure” fruit juice is a culprit. Sour foods and drinks in general are bad news, according to dentists: with citric acids being among the worst culprits.
Tongue piercings and lip piercings may cause deformed teeth
Ouch. That funky tongue stud you just bought could be the key to your middle-aged overbite. Teeth, unlike other hard substances in the body (bone, nails) are incapable of re-growth. Once the enamel has formed, that’s it. If you break it, it stays broken – which is why we have to have fillings. Piercings, which knock against the tooth enamel on a daily basis, are often cited as the cause of cracks and chips, and may irreparably damage the most visible teeth in the mouth.
Fluoride is as bad as it is good
Now here’s something confusing: fluoride, which makes teeth harder, also makes them softer. Confusing but true. In small doses, and used correctly, fluoride helps enamel to harden. In large doses, and ingested, fluoride can actually have the opposite effect, turning the skin of the teeth into a sponge like substance. If your teeth have been affected in this way, then you are much more likely to develop decay and other oral problems.
Orthodontics are a leading cause of tooth decay
It’s very hard to brush around a brace – and because of this, measures for straightening teeth can also cause decay. If food is stuck behind a brace for too long, and repeatedly, then the proliferation of bacteria will do two things: cause bad breath, and promote cavities. The cavities may not present immediately after the braces have been removed, but there will be soft spots where the toothbrush has been unable to get in. Over time, the soft areas allow bacteria through the skin of the tooth and the hole begins to develop. If you have been affected by orthodontic tooth decay, or by any other kind of misfortune arising from dental treatment, visit this website.
The Author is a dental health writer, whose articles and blogs have been published on more than 200 high profile health web sites. His work is also used by trusted UK home pages and consumer advice sites. He has appeared on television and radio in the capacity of an expert panellist on several occasions.