Have you ever thought that the teeth are the gems of your mouth and an important part of your body? Not only the teeth help in chewing & eating food, but also they contribute to your beauty & smile. You will frequently note that people turn away their face from the person with bad smell coming from his mouth. Thus a good care of your teeth is important to maintain them in healthy condition. Good teeth are of great value in eating; talking; & appearance. Yellow teeth, decayed or missing teeth spoil the appearance of the mouth and face, especially when you laugh or smile. They also contribute to good health. Bad or decayed teeth often cause toothache and other kinds of illness. Sometimes they cause bad breath. If we cannot chew our food well, we may get indigestion.

Eat good and healthy food: Foods which stick to the teeth lead to their decay. Thus chocolates, bon – bon; biscuits etc which taste good to eat but are the enemies of the teeth. Our teeth have rough surface in which bacteria live which start making acids when sticky food is there, thus softening and damaging the teeth, leading to cavities. Milk is one of the most important foods which provide calcium for teeth. Many fresh or “green” vegetables e.g. spinach, carrots, fresh cabbage, lettuce, collards, and turnip and beet tops are good for teeth. Oranges, pineapples, and other raw fruits give vitamin C for your teeth.

Brush Your Teeth: Cleaning the teeth daily 2 times is a must for their health.. Brushing helps to remove the particles of food that may lodge in the teeth or between the teeth to remove film and harmful germs which may collect on the teeth. It is better to brush before going to bed. Most decay takes place during the long hours of sleep. Visit the dentist for choosing our brush and   for learning how to brush properly. Use mouthwashes, dental floss etc as advised by your dentist to keep your teeth healthy.

Exercise the Teeth and Gums: Exercising the teeth and gums makes them stronger by increasing the blood supply and cleaning them. Best foods for exercise are to eat raw vegetables like carrots, turnip, reddish, lettuce, and raw cabbage. Protect the Teeth from Injury: Eating very hard things like nuts may injure the teeth by breaking the outer most covering of the tooth called enamel which is brittle. Do not attempt to open bottles with your teeth. Caution should be taken while playing contact supports like football, karate, basket ball etc.

Visit the Dentist: You should visit a dental doctor every 6 months for proper check up and to maintain the teeth and gums in proper health. If you wait until your tooth hurts you before going to the dentist, then it may be too late and you may either loose your teeth or pay a lot of money for its treatment.

Take care of baby teeth: There is a notion among parents that baby teeth are ultimately going to fall, thus there is no need to take care of them. But this attitude is very wrong. Don’t you wait for the first tooth of your child; don’t you enjoy when your child laughs. Baby teeth set the foundation for the permanent teeth. it is very much possible that if baby tooth gets an infection, the underlying permanent tooth may also get an infection. Baby teeth help in growth of jaws and maintain the space for the permanent teeth so that they can come in proper place when child grows. The kids cannot take care of their teeth so the parents should be proactive and vigilant to clean their teeth; avoid giving them sticky foods and take them to dentist regularly for check up. If you stay in an area where drinking water does not have fluorides, then you should give fluoride supplements to your child in the form of fluoride tabs, fluoridated tooth paste, fish and coffee, but under the guidance of your dentist. Thus, be vigilant, do not ignore your teeth, take care of the precious pearls and keep smiling.
The Author is an Orthodontist and Dental Surgeon at the King Faisal Hospital, Kigali
[email protected]

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