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Health Information For Parents
Every time we smile, frown, talk, or eat, we use our mouths and teeth. Our mouths and teeth let us make different facial expressions, form words, eat, drink, and begin the process of digestion.
The mouth is essential for speech. With the lips and tongue, teeth help form words by controlling airflow out of the mouth. The tongue strikes the teeth or the roof of the mouth as some sounds are made.
When we eat, our teeth tear, cut, and grind food in preparation for swallowing. The tongue helps push food to the teeth, and allows us to taste the food we eat.
The mouth is lined with moist mucous (MYOO-kus) membranes. The membrane-covered roof of the mouth is called the palate (PAL-it):
The soft palate contains the uvula (YOO-vyoo-luh), the dangling flesh at the back of the mouth. The tonsils are on either side of the uvula and look like twin pillars holding up the opening to the throat, or pharynx (FAR-inks).
A bundle of muscles extends from the floor of the mouth to form the tongue. The top of the tongue is covered with tiny bumps called papillae (puh-PIL-ee). These contain tiny pores that are our taste buds. Four main kinds of taste buds are found on the tongue — they sense sweet, salty, sour, and bitter tastes.
During chewing, salivary glands in the walls and floor of the mouth secrete saliva (spit), which moistens the food and helps break it down even more. Saliva makes it easier to chew and swallow foods (especially dry foods), and contains enzymes that help begin the digestion of foods.
Once food is a soft, moist mass, it’s pushed to the back of the mouth and the throat to be swallowed.
Each type of tooth plays a role in the chewing process:
Humans are diphyodont (dy-FY-uh-dant), meaning that they develop two sets of teeth. The first set are 20 deciduous (duh-SID-you-wus) teeth that are also called the milk, primary, temporary, or baby teeth. They begin to develop before birth and begin to fall out when a child is around 6 years old. They’re replaced by a set of 32 permanent teeth, which are also called secondary or adult teeth.
Human teeth are made up of four different types of tissue: pulp, dentin, enamel, and cementum.
, nerves, and blood vessels, which nourish the tooth. The pulp has two parts — the pulp chamber, which lies in the crown, and the root canal, which is in the root of the tooth. Blood vessels and nerves enter the root through a small hole in its tip and extend through the canal into the pulp chamber.
and changes in temperature from hot and cold foods.
To help keep your child’s mouth and teeth healthy:
Chloe and the Nurb sing about teeth and all they do for you – talking and eating, just to name a few!
If your child loses aÂ baby tooth, there’s no need to replace it.Â But if a permanent tooth is dislodged, it’s a dental emergency. Here’s what to do.
Teething can be a tough time for babies and parents. Here are the facts on teething, including tips for baby teeth hygiene and relieving pain.
Gum disease doesn’t just happen to people your grandparents’ age – it can happen to teens too. Get the details here.
How does your breath smell? Find out how to keep it smelling sweet in this article for kids.
What happens when you go to the dentist? Find out in this article for kids.
Retainers are really common. In fact, most kids have to wear a retainer for at least a little while after getting their braces taken off. Find out more.
Does your child need braces? Find out when braces are necessary, what’s involved in caring for them, and how to find low-cost orthodontic care in your area.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Keeping kids’ teeth healthy requires more than just daily brushing. Learn about fluoride, a substance found naturally in water that plays an important role in healthy teeth.
An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems using braces, retainers, and other devices.
The healthier your teeth are, the happier you look. That’s why it’s important to take great care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist. Learn more.
Gnashing and grinding teeth, called bruxism, is common in kids, and often happens during deep sleep or while a child is under stress.
Did you know that your mouth is the first step in the body’s digestive process? Or that the mouth and teeth are essential for speech? Learn about the many roles your mouth and teeth play.
Just getting braces and have no idea what to expect? Had braces for a while but wonder what’s going on in there? Whatever your situation is, you’re not alone: millions of teens have braces.
Have you ever been rankled by a canker sore? If you have, you know that these small mouth sores can cause major pain.
Coxsackievirus infections can spread from person to person. In most cases, the viruses cause mild flu-like symptoms, but can lead to more serious infections.
Canker sores are fairly common, and they usually go away on their own without treatment.Â Read this article for teens to find out more, including tips on what to do about the pain.
There’s a lot more to taking care of your teeth than breath mints and mouth sprays. Read this article to learn the facts on flossing, how to give plaque the brush-off, and much more.
Here are the basics about how to care for your child’s teeth – and when.
Cavities are small holes in your teeth that need to be filled. Find out what causes tooth decay and how dentists handle it.
Good oral health starts even before your child’s first tooth comes in. Learn how to instill good habits that will last a lifetime.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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