Back to School Contest 2021 Answers
Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities, or dental caries.
It is generally recommended that an infant be seen by a dentist by 1 year of age or within 6 months after the first tooth comes in.
Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental hygiene and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Gum disease can be prevented by removing plaque. Plaque removal can be easily accomplished by thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth daily. Regular dental check-ups (every 6-12 months) can detect early signs of gum disease.
Some studies have linked common oral problems to illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, premature birth, osteoporosis, and even Alzheimer's disease. In most cases, the strength and exact nature of the link is unclear, but researchers suggest that dental health is important for preserving overall health.
"Although tooth loss is common, it's not an inevitable part of aging," says Richard H. Price, DDS, a retired dentist in Newton, Mass., and spokesman for the American Dental Association. "Teeth do not die a natural death -- we kill them. Exactly how do we do that? In short, by disease or trauma," he says.
The name -- black hairy tongue -- may sound scary, but the condition is actually harmless. Black hairy tongue is caused by bacteria or fungi in the mouth, which make the tongue appear black and hairy. It's easily remedied by good old-fashioned oral hygiene.
If you are sick or you have a weak immune system or when your toothbrush bristles become frayed, throw it out even more often. If you use an electric toothbrush, throw out the head as often as you would discard a disposable toothbrush.