‘Life is short, so smile while you still have teeth’ – Anon

Teeth seem to be popping up in the media a lot lately.

It's important to take care of your pearly whites

It’s important to take care of your pearly whites

Most prominently, News.com.au published an international story about a young man, Ashik Gavai, 17, India, who had to have 232 teeth removed.

That’s right, 232 teeth.

How can this be, when the average adult has around 27 teeth?

Feeling some pain when he was chewing down on food, Gavai took himself to the local hospital, where doctors found an unusual growth on one of his bottom molars, and booked him in for surgery.

During surgery the doctors identified a growth inside Gavai’s molar that contained hundreds of little teeth.

Due to lack of money, Gavai had put up with the pain in his mouth for four years, and the leading doctor, Dr Sunanda Dhivare-Palwankar said it was the first time she had ever seen something like this.

Although Gavai’s is an extreme case, without proper care our teeth can become damaged and infected, and often by the time we realise, it can be too late.

Good health magazine published a story recently titled ‘What Dentists wish you knew.’

The article listed some dental advice from experts in the field about how to properly take care of your pearly whites.

Some of the article’s top tips on how to ensure your teeth stay healthy include:

  1. Ask the experts: Let’s be honest, we don’t always follow the rules when it comes to our teeth. Maybe that’s because a lot of the time we aren’t as aware of the damage that can be done daily, so it is important to look to the experts for their advice.
  2. Avoid brushing too hard: Sometimes when you are brushing your teeth, it is tempting to get in and scrub hard to remove all the gunk that might have built up since your last brush. Experts say ‘don’t do this.’ Brushing too hard can cause tooth abrasion and contribute to gum recession. According to Dr Derek Lewis, ‘Plaque is a thin, sticky film that comes off easily – it doesn’t need brute force.’
  3. Don’t give up on flossing: Failing to floss daily increases your risk of tooth decay between the teeth, gum disease and bad breath. So if you don’t already, it might be time to start flossing.
  4. Brush your gums too: Brushing your teeth alone is not enough. According to Good health expert, Dr K.Y. Zee, the only thing that can prevent gum disease is having a good brushing method. Dr Zee advises to use a soft brush to thoroughly clean every gum line in your mouth inside and out, for two minutes minimum, twice a day.
  5. Lollies are not the only way you can damage your teeth: Frequent consumption of any sugary foods, including carbohydrates such as fresh and dried fruit, peanut butter, crackers, potato chips and popcorn could lead to decay, causing holes to develop in your teeth and even to permanent damage.

If you want to protect your teeth, remember to floss daily, brush your gum lines, and choose snacks like vegetables, nuts or cheeses, and drink milk or fluoridated tap water.