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YOUNG ADULT PROBLEMS: WISDOM TEETH

The backmost teeth at both sides of the upper and lower jaw make up the four molar teeth known as the wisdom teeth. They are so called because they finally push through the gum between the ages of 17 and 25 years (but usually around 21 years), a time when our childhood experiences supposedly convert into wisdom.

The emergence of the wisdom teeth should not cause a problem but in the West we are seeing increasing incidence of impaction (the wisdom teeth not coming out) and infections of the surrounding gum. This is probably caused by a decrease in the amount of chewy, fibrous food such as raw vegetables and fruit eaten and a higher amount of softer refined foods.

Pain may develop from impaction and infection, and teeth that only partially become exposed leave pockets of gum that allow bacteria to breed. Left unattended, erosion of the bone and loosening of these teeth and their neighbours can present a problem within a few years or later on.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Pay special attention through brushing and flossing as soon as these teeth start to emerge. They are not easy to access and special brushes can be provided by your dentist.

Regular mouthwashes of a teaspoonful of salt and a teaspoonful of Arnica fluid extract in a cup of water is a useful daily treatment

Cranial osteopathy may be beneficial in impacted wisdom teeth.

Many dentists are very quick to encourage the extraction of wisdom teeth and a second opinion from a less-invasive professional may be wise before this minor operative procedure is considered.

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