/ dentəstri /
Care and treatment of the teeth and gums. Orthodontics deals with the straightening of the teeth for esthetic and clinical reasons, and periodontics with care of the supporting tissue (bone and gums).
The bacteria that start the process of dental decay are normal, nonpathogenic members of a large and varied group of microorganisms present in the mouth. They are strains of oral streptococci, and it is only in the presence of sucrose (from refined sugar) in the mouth that they become damaging to the teeth.
Fluoride in the water supply has been one attempted solution, and in 1979 a vaccine was developed from a modified form of the bacterium Streptococcus mutans.
The earliest dental school was opened in Baltimore, Maryland, US, 1839. An International Dental Federation was founded 1900.
The branch of medicine dealing with the teeth; SYN. dental medicine.