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    Oral Care

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    Human Anatomy

    Picture of Human Tooth

    Picture of the Teeth

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    The teeth are the hardest substances in the human body. Besides being essential for chewing, the teeth play an important role in speech. Parts of the teeth include:

    • Enamel: The hardest, white outer part of the tooth. Enamel is mostly made of calcium phosphate, a rock-hard mineral.
    • Dentin: A layer underlying the enamel. Dentin is made of living cells, which secrete a hard mineral substance.
    • Pulp: The softer, living inner structure of teeth. Blood vessels and nerves run through the pulp of the teeth.
    • Cementum: A layer of connective tissue that binds the roots of the teeth firmly to the gums and jawbone.
    • Periodontal ligament: Tissue that helps hold the teeth tightly against the jaw.

    A normal adult mouth has 32 teeth, which (except for wisdom teeth) have erupted by about age 13:

    • Incisors (8 total): The middlemost four teeth on the upper and lower jaws.
    • Canines (4 total): The pointed teeth just outside the incisors.
    • Premolars (8 total): Teeth between the canines and molars.
    • Molars (8 total): Flat teeth in the rear of the mouth, best at grinding food.
    Wisdom teeth or third molars (4 total): These teeth erupt at around age 18, but are often surgically removed to prevent displacement of other teeth.

    The crown of each tooth projects into the mouth. The root of each tooth descends below the gum line, into the jaw.

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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