Wisdom teeth: Are they completely unnecessary and should therefore be removed or is it safe to leave them to avoid any unnecessary surgery?
Oral-B advisor and dentist Dr. Christopher Ho has provided some wisdom teeth know-how plus advice for how to take care of them:
Wisdom Teeth – What are they?
Wisdom teeth, otherwise known as third molars, are usually the last teeth to develop. Most of us have four wisdom teeth, one at the back in each quadrant of the mouth, and these usually emerge when we are between the ages of 17 and 25 years old.
We can thank our ancestry for these extra molars, as they are leftover from when we ate a more primitive diet and needed more teeth. Humans today have smaller jaws and many of us are unable to accommodate these late-emerging molars. As these come through, they can push other teeth out of the way causing crowding so it’s important to keep a close eye on them.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
In some people, the wisdom teeth become impacted, which means they are set in the jawbone in unusual positions, sometimes horizontally, which stops them from erupting in a normal way. If you do notice pain, redness or swelling, it’s advised that you visit your dentist. He/she can tell you if you will need to have the tooth/teeth removed.
In many cases, wisdom teeth often cause no symptoms or pain and stay within the jaw for life. You still need to take extra care of your wisdom teeth (as with all of your teeth) as they can be harder to brush and are therefore prone to additional bacteria build up, potentially leading to gum disease.
Here are some top tips for taking care of your teeth, to ensure an all-round healthy smile:
1) Brush for a full two minutes, twice a day - Brush gently for a full two minutes twice a day using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Using a power toothbrush with a rotating-oscillating action will greatly assist in removing plaque and food debris (especially helpful if you have tricky-to-get-to wisdom teeth), so it’s something to think about if you’re currently a manual brush user.
2) Floss every day - The old adage that you only floss the teeth you want to keep holds true. Dental plaque can cause cavities if it’s left between teeth. When mixed with sugar, the bacteria that live in plaque can start the process of tooth decay; this is why it’s bad to leave plaque in your mouth. In addition to brushing, flossing daily can help the removal of plaque and bacteria between the teeth that can cause bad breath.
3) Drink more water; limit the intake of acidic drinks - Water is great for your teeth! Limit acidic drinks like soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices. These are not only high in sugar but contain acids that soften tooth material and dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel, causing holes or erosion. Drinking more water reduces the acid that causes tooth decay and helps keep the mouth clean. Opt for tap water vs. bottled for the added benefit of fluoride.
To find out more about Oral-B and other P&G health and beauty news, visit: www.rougemag.com.au