Rotting of the Teeth. Caries.
This is not confined to any age, temperament, or condition of society.
The teeth become diseased, die, and drop away, while all the other organs are round and active.
The Creator doubtless intended that all the members of the same body should be equally durable; but certain laws of nature, violated by us habitually, turn upon us, as it were, in anger, and smite us full in the face, breaking our teeth, and robbing us of the means of preserving the health which we do not appear to prize.
When rotting begins in the teeth, its progress is more or less rapid, and their destruction is certain, unless it is arrested by artificial means.
The enamel is nature's fortification to protect the teeth against external injuries. When this is broken, or worn away, the bone of the tooth becomes exposed, and rotting begins immediately. Whatever has a tendency to crack, break up, or destroy the enamel, therefore, is to be carefully avoided.
Hot Drinks, or hot food, coming suddenly in contact with the enamel, are liable to crack it, and expose the bony substance of the tooth. The enamel is exceedingly brittle, much like glass in its structure, and is easily cracked when exposed to sudden transitions from heat to cold, and from cold to heat.
Luxurious Living often deranges the general health, and causes acid and unhealthy secretions in the mouth. which act injuriously upon the enamel.
Acids are injurious to the enamel , and when taken as medicine, should be well diluted, and in some cases, drunk through a tube, so as not to come in contact with the teeth. Sugar is not directly injurious to the teeth, as many suppose; but if allowed to remain about and between them, it may generate an acid which is destructive to the enamel.
A Crowded Condition of the teeth in the mouth causes the enamel to wear away, and leads to rotting; in which case, early attention and advice from a dentist is quite important.
Food Lodged Between the Teeth, and in their depressions, is a cause of extensive decay. Animal and vegetable matter, when exposed to warmth and moisture, soon generate an acid which corrodes the enamel. The teeth, consequently, often begin to decay in parts where one presses upon another, and in depressions, where food lodges and remains. This shows the necessity of cleansing the mouth and teeth often, particularly after meals.
Mercury, when taken to the extent of salivation, whether it be calomel, corrosive sublimate, blue pill, or any other form of it, causes inflammation of the membranes about the teeth, and indirectly produces caries.
Acidity of the stomach, the contact of decaying teeth and dead stumps with sound ones, diseased and ulcerated gums, and, above all, a fifthly, unclean and unwholesome condition of the mouth, are active causes of diseased teeth.
Improper Tooth Powders, as those containing gritty particles, are to be avoided.
Tobacco, by deranging the general health, may be indirectly injurious to the teeth. Smoking blackens the teeth; and though chewing may be useful in deadening the sensibility of the nerve of a decaying tooth, this alone is not a sufficient reason for so uncleanly and disagreeable a habit, while so many agents may be found to produce the same effect.
Tartar. This is derived from the saliva, and is found, when examined by the microscope, to be composed of myriads of living animals. When first deposited around the teeth, it is in a soft state; lout, when not brushed away, it soon hardens, and changes from a yellow to a brown, and sometimes to a black color; and often in children it becomes a dark green. It destroys the beauty of the teeth, giving them a filthy and revolting look; the setting of the teeth in their sockets is weakened; their appearance is elongated; the periosteum or covering of the fang becomes inflamed and tender; and, if the proper remedy be not applied, the teeth will become loosened, and finally fall from their sockets. It causes the gums to become inflamed. swollen, tender, and ulcerated, and loads the breath with a disagreeable fetor. Its direct influence on the teeth is not great; but it vitiates all the secretions of the mouth, and is thus a very efficient, though an indirect cause of decaying teeth. In all cases, it should be immediately and carefully removed, and some astringent wash, made from Peruvian or oak bark, be applied to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the gums.
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