Physical Fitness and Well-Being and Teeth Care Part 1

About physical fitness, medical information, trivia, anatomy, well-being and care of your teeth.

TAKING A PHYSICAL--HEAD TO TOE

TEETH

The main reason for having teeth is, of course, to perform the first step in converting food to human energy. With your teeth you cut, tear, and grind meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains into forms which your stomach can handle.

Of the 32 teeth in your mouth, there are three types: incisors, the front cutting teeth; canines, the long, pointed tearing teeth on each side of your incisors; and molars, flat-topped grinding teeth.

A tooth is not, strictly speaking, a bone. Unlike bone, it has a crown of enamel, which is the hardest substance in your body and is found only on your teeth.

The American public spends about $4 billion each year on treatment for tooth decay.

The most widespread of human diseases in the world is tooth decay. This disease is most common in the Western world, where overcooked, soft, and sugary foods are often eaten. Such a diet leaves the teeth coated with tiny particles of sticky food.

Normal bacteria in your mouth convert carbohydrates in the food you eat into acids. If your teeth are coated with the sticky particles from overcooked, sugary, and refined foods, this normal bacterial process works overtime. Your mouth becomes extremely acid, and the acids begin destroying tooth enamel.

Once these acids have eaten a hole through the enamel of your tooth, a small crater is formed, allowing bacteria to burrow into the soft dentin which makes up the bulk of your tooth. Toothache results when the inner part of the tooth becomes infected and inflamed, causing pressure on the nerves around each tooth.

Tooth decay in the Western world follows a specific pattern. For example, in nearly 90% of adults, the lower front teeth (incisors) are without decay. By contrast, in over 60% of adult Americans, the upper right, middle molar is missing as a result of disease.

To repair a cavity, a dentist drills out all the decay. Unless the decay is completely removed, it will continue to fester away under the filling.

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