What Is the Importance of Your Incisors?
How well do you know your teeth? As long as your mouth is pain-free and your teeth function properly, you might think little of your oral health. There are reasons we have so many teeth of different sizes and shapes. They perform different functions and work together to help us easily chew and digest our food.
Of course, their appearance also matters to us. To have a white, straight smile is important to most people. After all, if you have a stained or crooked smile, you may be more self-conscious, and that could hold you back. However, there is a lot more to our teeth than just our smile. As far as positioning goes, dentists split your mouth into two sections. You have teeth in the back of the jaw that are your posterior teeth and the teeth in the front of your jaw that are your anterior teeth.
Of the 32 teeth in your mouth, eight of them are your incisors. You have four in your upper jaw and four in your lower. Normally, these teeth have one root, as opposed to molars that can have two to three roots.
What Are Incisors?
When you were a baby, your teeth probably started to come in at around eight months. The first teeth that appear are usually the incisors. Then, later on, your first adult teeth would have been the same. As a kid, you can probably remember losing your two front teeth. These are two of your incisors!
Of your incisors, there are two types, your central incisors, and your lateral incisors.
- Central incisors are front and center in your mouth. These are the largest incisors at the top of your jaw and your most prominent and visible teeth.
- Lateral incisors, on the other hand, are to the left and right of your central incisors.
When it comes to teeth placement, these are the ones that you see the most when a person smiles or speaks. Not only do they have an important function in your mouth, but appearance wise, they are also important.
Why Do We Need Incisors?
All of your teeth are a part of human digestion. Your teeth cut and chew the food to start the digestive process. You have to break down the food before it can enter the digestive system to break it down further. The incisors have a particular role to play in the front of your mouth. As you probably notice, your front teeth are what sink into food first. Incisors are there to cut through the food so that you can chew it.
Now you have other teeth, such as the canines that will tear and grasp the food whereas your premolars will then crush it. You need the incisors to start the process. Without those front teeth, biting down would be difficult.
In addition to cutting through your food, your teeth also play a social role. One of the first things that people notice is another person’s smile. People who take care of their incisors tend to have a more confident smile, which helps ease social interaction. Appearances do matter, whether it is in a social occasion or when you’re trying to land a new job. A smile can mean a lot.
Common Issues With Incisors
Cavities and plaque buildup are common problems with all teeth, even the incisors. At one time or another, you most likely will have to deal with one of these, if you haven’t already. You can correct these problems with dental work, such as fillings and cleanings. In addition, the front teeth tend to chip easier and are noticeable when they stain. These are more simple problems with easy solutions. Some people will even get whitening treatments and focus mainly on their front teeth, as these are the ones that are seen most often by other people.
For the most part, the issues with incisors are not always major. Dentists solve them with simple treatments, and you can avoid them with the proper maintenance and prevention. However, that is not the full story. There are issues that can develop young and completely affect your bite.
In a normal bite, your top incisors will overlap the bottom incisors a little. If you have a regular bite and close your mouth, you probably have noticed this. Now, if your teeth are crooked or your jaw is misaligned, you may end up with an underbite, overbite or a crossbite. These conditions can badly affect your bite and ability to chew food in severe cases. Normally, when this happens, orthodontists suggest braces.
How To Keep Your Incisors Healthy
Maintaining good dental hygiene habits are your first step to healthy incisors. While your incisors are important, your teeth require the same care throughout your mouth. If your oral health is poor, it could end up affecting all of your teeth. So, never focus on just one area of your mouth and forget the rest.
Now, you might end up focusing more on cosmetics with your front teeth, but most of these tips apply to your entire set of teeth.
First, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day. In addition, you can also brush after every meal. If you choose to do this, however, you do need to be careful. When you eat, your enamel becomes soft, so if you brush directly after eating, you could end up wearing down the enamel. The best way to handle this situation is to wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to brush your teeth.
In addition to good brushing habits, make sure that you are not brushing too aggressively. Often, someone will think that they’re taking the best care of their teeth by brushing frequently and aggressively. Frankly, this can just wind up wearing down the enamel or causing the gum to recede. Be gentle with your teeth and use short, gentle strokes. Pay extra attention to hard-to-reach teeth and any fillings or restorations. Cavities will often develop on back teeth or between teeth in hard to reach places. When you brush, do a thorough job.
Here is a good map for how to clean your teeth:
- Brush the outside of the upper teeth, then the lower
- Brush the inside of the upper teeth, then the lower
- Brush the tops and chewing surfaces of your upper and lower teeth
- Brush your tongue
Also, keep in mind that you should be brushing your teeth for about two minutes. Dentists report that most of their patients do not spend that long in front of the sink in the morning, brushing their teeth. In fact, people brush too hard, too fast, and it only causes damage. Spend time brushing your teeth and do not rush it or become too aggressive.
In addition to brushing, do not forget to floss. This is one of the most common hygiene tasks that people forget about or simply don’t do for a variety of reasons. For some, it is uncomfortable and others, you may have to experiment with different floss types until you find the best suited for your mouth. Still, flossing helps get rid of the bacteria between your teeth. You should be flossing at least once a day.
While you can maintain a healthy smile at home, it is also important that you visit your dentist regularly. Make sure that your mouth is healthy. Some problems present without any pain. In addition, a dentist can do regular cleanings and polishings to keep your incisors looking their best and staying strong and healthy. Don’t take for granted the importance of preventative care.
Maintain Your Oral Health
If you want to maintain your smile and your ability to chew food without trouble, then you’re going to have to put the focus on your oral health. While a lot of people wait until there is an obvious problem before they see a dentist, this usually leads to more costly dental bills and complicated procedures. A dentist can help determine whether or not you need to have any work done or what the future of your dental health looks like. For instance, if you grind your teeth or have the beginnings of cavities, a dentist can catch these problems early so that they don’t grow into worse problems.
Your incisors are important not only to your bite health but for your appearance. When you speak and when you smile, people see your front teeth first. If you’re self-conscious, you may smile less or hide your teeth, and this can lead people to assume you’re unhappy or untrustworthy. Our social interactions with other people can sometimes hang on appearance and incisors are usually the focus of cosmetic procedures.
In addition to seeing the dentist and making sure that your incisors are healthy, do your best to care for them at home. Maintain good oral hygiene, and you can prevent a lot of problems from coming up.
Without your incisors, you would have a difficult time biting and cutting through your food. You want to keep them strong and healthy.