Teeth and tooth decay

Teeth and tooth decay

Good dental care is part of human health. Image credit claimfame.com

Good dental care is part of human health. Image credit claimfame.com

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Teeth and tooth decay

  • While people enjoy food of all varieties
  • Some types of food
  • For example sweets, chocolates, carbonated drinks, cakes and biscuits are not good for our teeth
  • These are foods that are high in sugar content
  • Foods that are better for dental health are those that have more fibre
  • This is because ending a meal with such foods helps to clean the tooth surfaces

Tooth decay

Structure of a tooth. Image credit solankidental.com

Structure of a tooth. Image credit solankidental.com

  • After eating a meal some food is always left on the teeth
  • If it is not removed by brushing/cleaning it builds up a layer
  • This layer is known as¬†plaque
  • Plaque –is a thin layer of food that remains on the tooth surface and contains bacteria
  • The bacteria breaks down food that remains on tooth surfaces producing acids
  • The acids destroys the hard enamel layer that protects the tooth surface
  • This allows holes to form leading to the eventual decay of the tooth

Stages of tooth decay

Stages in tooth decay. Image credit eschooltoday.com

Stages in tooth decay. Image credit eschooltoday.com

  • The first stage is when the hard enamel layer is destroyed
  • No pain is felt at this stage
  • A cavity(hole) forms on the surface of the tooth
  • When this hole reaches the dentine layer tooth sensitivity increases
  • Pain is felt when the tooth is exposed to extreme temperatures for example a cold or hot substance results in sharp pain
  • The tooth can be filled by a dentist using a cavity filler at this stage
  • When the cavity opening reaches the pulp cavity a severe toothache (pain) results
  • This is because blood capillaries and nerve endings become exposed
  • The tooth will have to be removed at this stage

Dental care

  • When it comes to dental hygiene prevention is better than cure
  • Teeth should be brushed regularly and after every meal
  • Eating between meals should be avoided as it leaves food particles in the mouth
  • Proper toothpaste must be used as they:
  • Contain granules that can help rub plaque from off tooth surfaces
  • Have an alkali that neutralizes the acid left by bacteria
  • Brushing should consists of between one to three minutes of gentle brushing
  • A ¬†balanced diet ensures healthy teeth developement

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page

By |2017-01-17T11:11:44+00:00August 3rd, 2016|Notes, O Level Science Notes, Ordinary Level Notes|Comments Off on Teeth and tooth decay

About the Author:

He holds an Honours in Accountancy degree from the University of Zimbabwe. He is passionate about technology and its practical application in today's world.
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