Understanding Teeth

First let’s understand the different parts of a tooth. Lets’ see how the teeth help in digesting your food. Each tooth consists of a visible portion called the crown and a hidden portion below the gum line, called the root. The surface of a healthy crown is covered with enamel the hardest substance in the body. The outer surface of the root is covered by cementum. A connective tissue binds the root cementum to the bone that forms the socket of the tooth. Beneath the enamel and cementum lies the body of the inner tooth, Dentin. Dentin is softer than enamel and cementum, but it’s harder than bone. It surrounds the hollow tooth core (called the pulp canal or root canal), an area where nerve ending and blood vessels sensitize and nourish the root. Nerves and vessels feed in to the pulp canal through an opening at the root tip.

Eruption of Teeth

When does the First or Baby teeth develop?

They’ve usually developed before your child is born and will start to come through at around 6 months. All 20 baby teeth are through by the child is 2. The first permanent molar (back teeth is a very important tooth from both the functional and developmental point of view. It usually erupts at 6 years behind the baby teeth and before the baby teeth starts falling out. It bears the maximum load of masticating and chewing forces. This tooth being most posterior is often neglected by parents and children alike. Due to the presence of deep often incompletely coalesced fissures, food particles get trapped in it quite frequently and its decay is rapid.

Destruction of the tooth, if severe, leads to subsequent extraction. The permanent adult teeth will replace the baby teeth . It is usually the lower front teeth that are lost first followed by the upper front teeth shortly. The first to erupt are the two lower central incisors at 6-12 month. This is followed by the lateral incisors at 9-12 month, than the canines at 16-23 months. The first molars are at 13-19 months followed by the second molars 22-23, month. All permanent teeth are in place by the age of 13, except the wisdom teeth . These may erupt any time between 18 and 25 years of age.

Importance of Baby Teeth

Most people are under the impression that the baby teeth are going to fall anyway. This prompts them to neglect their child’s first set of teeth. The child’s first set of teeth, baby or primary teeth, are extremely important. Strong and healthy primary teeth help your child to chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and look good. Broken primary teeth can affect your child in the same way as a disease would affect his body. In case your child has lost a primary tooth too soon, he/she may need to wear a space maintainer till the permanent teeth erupts. Otherwise the teeth beside it may tilt towards the empty space, causing the permanent teeth to come in crooked. This could possibly involve a long and more expensive corrective treatment later.

Poor Oral Health Leads to Poor Nutrition

It would be no understatements to say that at least a quarter of the populace over the age of 65 have lost all their permanent teeth. The loss of teeth is linked to variety of serious health outcomes. It has been proved that the back teeth that come together during chewing are of particular importance. These teeth are responsible for the grinding of food and if missing, can lead to avoiding foods that are difficult to chew. A recent study showed that adults over 50 who have one to four remaining pairs of back teeth have poorer diet quality and nutritional status than those with at least five pairs. Older adults with fewer pairs of teeth had less variety in their diet. They could not eat as many fruits and vegetables as the others and had lower intake of vitamins A & C, carotene, folic acid and fiber. So they were left with options such as cooked fruits and vegetables, juices, apple sauce and vegetable based soups. It is possible to add more fibre to diet by eating cooked whole grain cereals, soft whole grain breads and mashed potatoes with the skins. For these people there is more stress on the importance of maintaining balance diet so that their health is not affected further.



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