Maxwell Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Commentary - Do you know what’s happening inside your mouth?
Do you know what’s happening inside your mouth?

Posted 12/6/2013   Updated 12/6/2013 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Airman 1st Class Amanda Warner
42nd Aeromedical-Dental Squadron


12/6/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.  -- Picture this: You're enjoying a relaxing vacation on a sunny beach and, out of nowhere, you experience excruciating pain inside your mouth. Now you're thinking, "What am I going to do? It's the weekend. I'm on vacation, and I surely don't want this toothache to ruin it, but it's too painful to ignore. I'm going to have to find a dentist."

So, now you ask yourself, "How could I have prevented this?"

It's actually really easy and something you've probably heard from your parents and the dentist before: brush and floss your teeth.

A lot of times when you hear those words, it can turn into an "in one ear, out the other" situation simply because we've all heard it before; everyone knows what happens when you don't brush and floss, right?

You'd be surprised, actually.

Every time you eat, food particles, bacteria and saliva combine to form a sticky, colorless residue on your teeth called plaque. You can't really see it - at least, not for the first 24 hours. After that, the plaque hardens and can turn a yellowish-brown color. At this point, it is called tartar, and it can no longer be removed with a toothbrush. Plaque and tartar also can lead to inflamed gums that bleed easily. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis may be the least of your problems if you have poor oral hygiene; cavities and toothaches are a few others.

A cavity is caused by bacteria that live inside your mouth. These bacteria attach to your teeth, eat a lot of the same things you do and produce destructive acids as a by-product. These acids slowly weaken your teeth.

The longer you go without brushing and flossing, the weaker your teeth become, until they finally break down, resulting in a cavity. Once the tooth loses its protective outer layer, called enamel, bacteria begins to soften or decay the inner part of the tooth. This is also when you may begin to feel pain. The decay can become so severe that it can breach your nerves and cause irreversible damage.

Did you know bacteria also can tunnel under fillings and crowns and cause more tooth decay?

Since you can't see it, you probably won't know something is wrong until, perhaps, you're enjoying a relaxing vacation on a sunny beach. Brushing removes the bulk of the bacteria in plaque and prevents it from evolving into tartar and causing a cavity. Flossing is necessary to remove plaque the toothbrush can't reach.

Proper oral hygiene is something we should all keep in mind, especially with the holidays coming up. All of the rich foods we'll be eating during Christmas, along with all of those pies and cookies in between, can make it easy for bacteria to thrive inside our mouth and ruin our holidays or any day for that matter.

Although sometimes we run short on time and brushing and flossing can be inconvenient, three minutes in front of a sink can save you hours of stressful dental treatment later.

I don't know about you, but I'd take a toothbrush and some floss over a root canal any day!



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Maxwell AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabSocial Media Dashboard
Facebook

Facebook

Twitter

Twitter

YouTube

YouTube

tabTop StoriesRSS feed 
Maxwell Child Development Center teams up with Montgomery Humane Society for Month of Military Child

42nd ABW to open resiliency center

AWC international culture event celebrates diversity, strengthens bonds

IFOP seeks volunteers, donations

National Drug Take-Back Day

Acting Deputy SecDef talks budget, urges innovation

Defenders set to defend softball title

Maxwell events aim to end child abuse

Base leaders recognize ‘Hometown Heroes’

Maxwell key spouses complete crisis intervention training

  arrow More Stories

tabAETC NewsRSS feed 
JBSA-Randolph to host commemorative toast for Doolittle Raider

AETC award winner says it's not about him

Prior Service program open but strictly limited

Airmen shave heads for pilot's son battling cancer

Keesler Security Forces honors fallen Airmen with new memorial

Step Up and Stop Sexual Assault

Flying Critical Care Team displays capabilities during open house


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act