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Health Information For Teens
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.
To help keep your mouth and teeth healthy:
Gum disease doesn’t just happen to people your grandparents’ age – it can happen to teens too. Get the details here.
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a major problem, especially when you’re about to snuggle with your sweetie or whisper a joke to your friend. The good news is that bad breath often can be easily prevented.
Find out what the experts have to say.
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.
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.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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