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Overview of Dental Health

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Teeth are one of the vital structures in the human body, which are not only make up a bright smile but also play a major role in other functions of the body. They are the easiest body part to be maintained but unfortunately, are the most ignored part in the body. Simple steps like brushing twice daily in a proper way can help prevent numerous conditions related to the teeth and the gums. The following sections explain more about the pearls (teeth) in the mouth.

Know about the Teeth

There are two sets of teeth. The first set known as the primary or deciduous teeth begin to erupt by the age of 6 months and are replaced by their successive permanent teeth. The complete set of primary teeth will erupt by the age of 3 years. This set is replaced by the second set called the permanent teeth, which begin to appear by 6 years in children.The teeth are divided into incisors, canines, premolars and molars depending on their size and shape.

Did you know that the earliest evidence of tooth formation can be noted during the 6th week of embryonic life and the permanent teeth start forming in a baby by the 12th week of pregnancy?1,2

Each tooth is made of complex crystals of calcium and other minerals. A tooth has different layers known as the enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp. Enamel forms the outermost layer of the visible portion of the tooth (crown), while cementum lines the lower portion of the tooth (root) placed within the jaw-bone.3

Did you know that the enamel is hardest structure in our body?   

Dentine is the partially living structure within that the living tissue is placed, which is known as pulp. The pulp is composed of blood vessels and nerve tissues, which helps one to apply the correct amount of pressure while biting or chewing. It is the nerve endings, which warns the first signs of cavity.

One more important structure is the periodontal ligaments, which are soft tissues that attach the tooth to the bone and also act as a cushion while chewing.

General Dental CareIt has been universally agreed that prevention is always better than cure. This statement applicable for the teeth also. Dental cavities can form as soon as the tooth appears in the mouth.4 Hence to have a set of healthy teeth one has to begin maintaining them as soon as they begin to erupt. Maintenance of primary teeth is important, as they hold space for the permanent teeth that erupt later

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Infant oral health

A simple indicator of healthy tooth is a white tooth without any spots on them. The milk teeth begin to appear in the mouth from the 6th month and needs to be maintained to prevent decay. The baby’s teeth can be usually cleaned with a clean, soft cloth or a baby toothbrush, which is available in the market. The infant’s teeth should be cleaned at least once in a day. An important thing to avoid is putting the baby to bed with a feeding bottle at night or at nap time. Keeping the bottle with milk, formula milk, juices and other sweet drinks can cause tooth decay (known as nursing bottle caries). Consultation should be made with a dentist if one notices any spots on the teeth of the baby. A dentist can always help by explaining more about cavities and methods to prevent them early


Child Oral Health

Brushing with a paste can be started by the time a child attains the age of about 2 years. Consulting the dentist is necessary to know whether any special toothpaste should be used that contains fluoride to prevent cavities. Usually, young children cannot brush effectively until they attain an age of 7–8 years and hence, it is advisable for an elder to brush their teeth till then. Choosing the right food for the children also plays a role in preventing cavities. Vegetables and fruits must be preferred over candy, cookies or chocolates. Periodic visits to a dentist are also advisable to prevent the formation of cavities or their progression.



Dentifrice is the general term used to denote the aids used for cleaning and polishing the teeth. These are available in the form of toothpastes, powders or gel. Effective cleaning can be performed with any type of dentifrices.  

Tooth powders are five times coarser than pastes.5

Certain toothpastes contain some special ingredients that serve additional purposes other than cleaning. Commonly fluorides are added in pastes or gels due to their caries-preventing effect. Tartar control toothpastes are available, which prevent the formation of hard deposits on the teeth. Medicated toothpastes that reduce the sensitivity are also available. All dentifrices are available as OTC products and a dentist should be consulted prior to the use of special toothpastes.  

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 05, 2014

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 26, 2012