Dental Facts to Chew On!
Dentistry has come a long way since the beginning of time. Enclosed is a list of Dental Facts for you and your family to chew on.
- The number of cavities in the average mouth is down and people are keeping their teeth longer with the advances in dentistry. People, on average, have healthier mouths than even 10 years ago.
- 60% of people don’t know that a sore jaw, when combined with chest pain, can signal a heart attack – especially in women.
- The average American spends 38.5 total days brushing their teeth over a lifetime.
- The average person only brushes for 45 to 70 seconds a day, the recommended amount of time is 2-3 minutes.
- More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque.
- Just like fingerprints, tooth prints are unique to each individual.
- 32% of Americans cite bad breath as the least attractive trait of their co-workers.
- Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
- A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans
- Only 40% of young people age 6 to 19 have experienced their first cavity. That’s down from 50% a decade ago.
- Over the last ten years the number of people age 60 who’d lost all their teeth had decreased from 33% to 25%.
- 44% of dental care expenditures are paid out-of-pocket.
- It has been estimated that 69 percent of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth, and one in four over the age of 74 have lost ALL their natural teeth.
- Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
- More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones.
- More than 51 million hours of school are lost each year by children due to dental related illness.
- 94% of Americans say they brush nightly’ 81% say they do it first thing in the morning.
- People who drink 3 or more sugary sodas daily have 62% more dental decay, fillings and tooth loss.
- People with red hair are more sensitive to pain and consequently need more anesthetic during operations than other patients. Those with red hair needed 20 percent more anesthetic to numb the pain, according to New Scientist.
- The enamel on the top surface on your tooth is the hardest part of your entire body.
- Many diseases are linked to your oral health, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
- If you get your tooth knocked out, put it in milk and hold it in your mouth—this will help your tooth to survive longer. Make sure you see a dentist right away.
Tough Brushing Tortures Teeth
Most dentists don’t go a day without seeing patients who are damaging their teeth and gums by brushing too hard. Some report that as many as two out of three patients brush their teeth too hard. This is a problem. A stiff-bristled toothbrush combined with overzealous brushing teeth can cause serious dental problems over time, including gum disease and tooth sensitivity.
People think that if they brush twice as hard, they will do twice as much good, In fact, overzealous brushing can cause significant damage to the periodontal tissues and bones that support the teeth. If you used the same amount of force and brush the side of your arm, you could take your skin off.
One way to avoid damaging your teeth and gums is to purchase a “soft” toothbrush featuring rounded bristles which are less abrasive to teeth. You should hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger, not with the fist. When brushing, do not `scrub’ the teeth with a horizontal, back-and-forth motion.
Instead, start at the gum line and angle the brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush both the teeth and the gums at the same time. Push hard enough to get the bristles under the gumline but not so hard that the bristles flare out. It’s also a wise move to limit the amount of toothpaste because it is abrasive.
The irony is that dentists want people to brush longer, not harder. Children and adults tend to spend less than one minute at a time brushing their teeth, even though removing plaque from the mouth requires at least two to five minutes of brushing at least twice a day. Remember: brush longer, not harder.
Tips for Breaking Bad Oral Habits
Did you know that a lot of little things you do (or don’t do) on a day-to-day basis affect your teeth’s well-being and may fall under a list of bad oral habits? These include not brushing or flossing enough, eating too many sweets too often, or even using your teeth to open a bag of chips.
Bad oral habits die hard, but they can be stopped in their tracks by the following tips:
Floss at least once a day. It helps remove bits of food and dental plaque in places your toothbrush can’t find, helping to keep your gums healthy.
Brush at least twice a day. If brushing is not an option, chew sugarless gum (make sure it’s sugarless!) for 20 minutes after a meal or snack. This helps prevent tooth decay.
Clean your tongue. Regularly cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper helps remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.
Replace your toothbrush regularly. Replacing your tooth brush ever 3-4 months is a good idea. Bristles in your toothbrush that are bent and broken don’t do a good job cleaning your teeth.
Eat a balanced diet. Snacking on sweets without brushing increases the acid in your mouth… and the likelihood of tooth decay. Munch on vegetables and fruit instead.
Regular Dental Visits. Your dentist is trained to do damage control in your mouth before it’s too late. You should visit the dentist regularly — every six months.
Adding these to your list one at a time is a good start to kick those bad oral habits. By doing a little self-check on your daily dental care habits, you can be on your way to making sure your teeth, your mouth’s health and your overall health are at their best.
Special Care for Diabetes Patients
If you have diabetes, the number one thing you can do for your oral health is keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible. Here’s why: When your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you’re more likely to develop gum disease and lose teeth than people who don’t have diabetes. In turn, gum disease could cause your blood sugar to rise, making your diabetes harder to control. So it’s imperative that you keep your teeth and gums clean by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. And if you wear dentures, remove and clean them every day.
Keeping up with twice yearly dental visits is also crucial for patients with diabetes. A professional cleaning is the only way to remove the plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease. Also be sure to discuss your diabetes status and current medications with your dentist at each dental visit.
Warning Signs: Gum Disease
Because diabetes makes you more prone to developing gum disease, it’s important to be able to identify the warning signs. These are the most common:
– Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
– Red, swollen or tender gums
– Receding gums
– Pus between the teeth and gums
– Persistent bad breath
– Loose permanent teeth
– Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– Changes in the fit of partial dentures or a dental bridge
Also keep an eye on other symptoms that might develop, including white patches on your tongue, which could indicate oral thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth, and soreness and ulcers in the mouth, which could be a sign of dry mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist.