p3 Keeping Your Natural Teeth.

Millions of people lose their teeth through neglect, laziness, carelessness,

or lack of basic foods and vitamins, facilities or knowledge. But millions

more work hard on their teeth, spending a great deal of money and time

on them, but still lose some or all of them eventually. Some of these people

will lose teeth because of dietary deficiencies, endemic disease or disorder,

or hormonal change. But I estimate many millions will lose them in their life-

time because of incorrect knowledge; or belief they are too poor to afford

advanced dentistry; or, most of all, from lack of understanding of the needs

of the mouth to retain the teeth for life.

Dentistry Opinions is dedicated to all those people who are prepared to do a little work every day with a little bit of knowledge and understanding. The aim is to give the best chance to keep those teeth for life. In doing this, people will gain that golden knowledge that lets they themselves monitor how effective is their routine.

If at all possible and if the skills are available, all teeth should be regularly checked with x-rays (radiographs) where necessary, by a dental professional. In those parts of the world where those facilities are unavailable, regular clinical checks should be obtained from whatever professional or otherwise skilled operator as can be found.

My opinions are just that - opinions. Necessarily I have to understand the complex nature of tooth loss in all its forms, much of this knowledge being of a complex and highly technical form. My opinions here are based upon a personal translation of this knowledge to give the non-dental individual a workable understanding of oral mechanisms. This will allow each person to interpret the needs of the mouth for the teeth to survive.

Just like your teeth: see what Scotland would have lost if some dedicated

people had not got together and done a lot of personal work to save

a neglected treasure: a Stunning Church in Edinburgh

A few questions to those people who know they are losing teeth now.

Why do you clean your teeth? To get the food off the teeth in case they decay?

Why would they decay, or, if they decay and you've always been so careful with

your cleaning and eating, why are you still losing them? And if they aren't decaying

but are just becoming loose, why? Because you know you've always looked after

them the way you've been taught? Remember, the way you've been taught by

your dental professional is almost certainly correct.

For the more thoughtful.

Evolution has allowed the composition of teeth to be vulnerable to materials to which the palate, throat and lips are not.

Sure, I accept the palate and throat are tough, but the lips certainly are not. But is evolution 'wrong'? I think not.

I think it's because evolutionary forces change us very, very slowly, over tens of thousands of years.

Those thousands of years ago our life expectancy was probably no more than thirty years or so; the materials we ate were tough in constitution but unlikely to be caustic or corrosive to a degree which would damage us.

So there was no need for the tissues to develop greater damage protection.

But in the last 100 - 150 years or so, our life expectancy has increased enormously,for many countries almost trebled.

This has been accompanied by a extreme diversity in the availablity of much more potentially mouth-damaging materials.

There's no way that our bodies could have kept up with the necessary evolutionary change.

Our dietary development is far too far in advance of our evolutionary condition, so we must be careful.

Tall ships to sail

To those who have not seen any sign of tooth vulnerability yet, who regularly attend

their dentist, who believe they are bound to keep their teeth - please think - many,

many people before you thought that but are losing them now. Think about this. You

can see when you've washed your face or brushed your hair. Try putting some mud

etc on your face, washing it without checking in the mirror and away you go to get

your train to work. Can you really tell me you've checked your teeth are clean? I can

only see about 40% of my teeth in the mirror at home and I know what I might look for!

Hoping they are clean isn't good enough - because if they're not, they won't be any better

any other day and if there is something in there which is damaging to them now, you could

have several months'-worth of deterioration in there before you see your professional next

time. And even with her/his extensive capabilities, it's very difficult to see the earliest

damage and decide when to intervene.

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