Summary

In this study session you have learned that:

  1. Oral health is being free from pain and disease in the oral cavity; oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth clean by brushing and flossing.
  2. The oral cavity is the entrance to the digestive and respiratory systems; it includes the teeth and other structures that aid chewing and speech, such as the lips, cheeks, tongue, hard and soft palate, and the salivary glands.
  3. Humans produce two sets of teeth in their lifetimes. The teeth are the strongest structures in the body; their surface is protected by a layer of hard enamel. The shapes of the four different types of teeth enable them to perform different functions during eating.
  4. Three pairs of salivary glands secrete saliva, which is a clear liquid produced to keep the mouth wet and clean, and to aid chewing and swallowing.
  5. Sticky bacterial growth around the teeth is called plaque. It destroys the enamel by producing acids which allow decay to penetrate the teeth. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar, which causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. Plaque, tartar and gum disease increase the risk of tooth loss.
  6. Dental fluorosis is caused by long-term high intake of fluoride in the water supply beginning in childhood; severe fluorosis leads to cracking of the teeth and tooth decay.
  7. Other common causes of oral diseases are tooth abscesses, mouth ulcers and cold sores, worn and eroded teeth, and oral cancers.
  8. Babies may be born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, which should be repaired surgically.
  9. Common causes of oral diseases are a high-sugar high-fat diet, use of tobacco, khat and alcohol, using the teeth as a tool, and poor oral hygiene.
  10. Oral health can be promoted through eating a healthy diet, drinking milk to build strong teeth and bones, avoiding harmful substances like tobacco, khat and alcohol, good oral hygiene, and protecting the teeth from damage and decay.
  11. Regular tooth brushing and cleaning between the teeth (flossing) should be taught to children and adults in your community.
Last modified: Wednesday, 2 July 2014, 10:08 AM