What are Teeth Made of?

The teeth are made of the hardest substances, not only in the mouth but in the entire body. We use them to chew our food, but besides that function, they have an essential part of our speech (and they also look quite aesthetical of course).

We have four types of teeth – incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Human beings develop two sets of teeth, primary and permanent.

See in-depth explanation on: Different Types of Teeth Guide (Molars, Canine, Incisors)

Although most babies are born without any visible teeth, it’s not unusual for a newborn to come to this world with natal teeth.

The primaries are developing during the prenatal period and come to the surface between six months and one year (usually the front ones) and the full eruption finishes at the age of three.

Starting around the age of six, humans get their first permanent teeth that are entirely out by the age of twelve or thirteen. The final set of eruption happens with the third molars, which develop and come out later in adolescence or early adulthood.

Although we don’t see it, a tooth is made of several parts, which we’ll write about in details. Each part has a unique role and property and combined they build a strong, firm and healthy tooth.

Let’s See Every Part Individually:

Enamel

This shiny and smooth barrier protects the inner tooth layers. It’s the only visible part and is made of minerals such as calcium phosphate. Since this is the hardest substance in the entire human’s body, a healthy enamel works as a strong and protective barrier that protects the inner parts of a cavity and harmful bacteria.

Enamel it’s mostly made of minerals and it’s colorless; we see it as white, but actually, it’s translucent. When bad bacteria create an acidic state in the mouth (mainly when we eat sugars or other unhealthy foods) the enamel’s minerals become food for the bacteria.

With time it corrodes and gets cavity which leads to serious harm to the inner layers. If it isn’t treated on time, your tooth can decay completely.

We live in a time when we can quickly get products that are good for our teeth, especially for the enamel. You can build strength for your enamel by using fluoride, which is a mineral that helps refill deficits in the enamel.

Whether you’ll get fluoride toothpaste, food supplements or you’d consume food rich in this mineral it’s up to you, just make sure you take good care for this part because once it’s ruined, then you will have to see your dentist.

Will Enamel get destroyed if I whiten teeth?

There are a few best teeth whitening products, strip whiteners, gels and pens that may help you achieve whiter teeth without destroying enamel. Just make sure to do a proper research!

Dentin

Dentin is the part that is located right below the enamel and the cementum. When observed under a microscope, the dentin forms tubules (they are micro canals), and they make the largest part of the tooth.

This part is formed with the roots. The dentin is made of tissue and living cellular substance. Its structure is bone-like, and when exposed to bacteria (when enamel is destroyed) it hurts terribly due to the dental cavity. When a tooth is damaged the pain comes from this part.

This is why you can feel cold or hot food so intensively, and acidic or sugary foods can attack freely causing sensitivity and pain.  

Pulp or Nerve

Pulp or Nerve

The soft nerve tissue, also known as pulp, is located in the central part of the tooth and contains a connective tissue that has nerves and blood vessels. Between the dentin and the nerve, there are odontoblasts (this part starts the formation of dentin).

The nerve tissues enter through a hole from the root tip (apical foramen or root apex).

When this part is damaged or infected (by a cavity, decay or trauma), your dentist will have to treat your root canal to save your tooth. The nerve is essential for your tooth nutrition and its vitality.

Bone

Our jaws are bone structures and are the place where teeth are deeply rooted (supported). The bone is also known as alveolar bone, and it helps the tooth to get attached to the tissues around it.

The Alveolar bone is among the three tissues that give support to the teeth (the others are cementum and periodontal ligament). In this area the tooth forms (in the prenatal period and childhood and adolescence) and when it erupts on the surface, it becomes root for the tooth.

Cementum

This part is a thin layer and is made of a material that resembles a bone. It covers the roots and hardens up the tooth by helping it connect to the fibers that keep it in place in the alveolar bone. It’s softer than the enamel and has a yellowish color. It is created of cells that produce cementum (cementoblasts).

The periodontal ligament is connecting the cementum to the alveolar bone making sure that teeth stay in their place firmly. The cementum is formed through the whole teeth life; this happens because it must have a firm base, something that will keep it in its socket.

The upper (and visible) parts are prone to wearing off and but they can be treated, and therefore the tooth can be saved. This part lets the new fiber tissues of the periodontal ligament to attach to the root’s surface.

Read more about: Tooth Growth and Development Stages

Preventing Decay and Infection

Preventing Teeth DecayThe most common issue that happens with human’s teeth is decay; this condition can easily be treated (more than once).  The rot begins when the enamel is ruined and creates cracks or holes, the well-known state of cavities.

This condition should be treated as fast as possible because otherwise, it can cause serious harm to a point where you can lose it (enamel cracks lead towards dentin, nerve, cementum and root damage). We want to suggest several helpful ways to protect your teeth from infections and decay.

  • Brush teeth twice a day – This should be your daily habit, and you must never skip it. Some people even tend to brush their teeth after every meal, but not all of us are capable of doing this during our busy day. Not only you need to brush them twice a day, but you ought to do it for two minutes straight.

This way you remove the bad bacteria, and you remove plaque; if not cleaned properly (bacteria, food remains, infections) can lead to decaying, cavities and horrible breath.

Try electric toothbrushes that cleanse far better than a regular one; their rotations will clean much more than your actual arm movements. Also, most of them come with timers, so you will no longer be able to skip the recommended two minutes.

  • Start flossing on a daily basisBrushing your teeth is not enough because the toothbrush cannot reach every part of them, especially not the tight gaps two teeth. Flossing cleans even the tiniest food particles that remain stuck between your teeth and prevents them from plaque and those nasty pockets that are Children Brushing Teethhome to harmful bacteria. There are different ideal water flossers like the WaterPik. Floss also around the gum line, because this is where most food remains blocked.
  • No more sugar – Sugar is bad for your general oral health and you know it, so the less you consume it the better your oral contrition remains. It is food for the bad bacteria that form an acidic state in your mouth that slowly ruins your enamel and later leads towards decaying.

Are you a sugar lover? See, how a sugar can affect your beautiful teeth.

  • Use mouthwash – Finish your daily oral hygiene with a recommended dose of mouthwash that will rinse all damaging bacteria and will leave your mouth fresh.
  • Always use toothpaste with fluoride – It’s a well-known dental fact that fluoride protects the enamel (and it strengthens it ); it fights decay and keeps your teeth protected till the next brushing.
  • Don’t forget your tongue – Your tongue is an ideal place for bacteria development (that often lead to stinky breath) so don’t forget to brush it. In fact, you can get a tongue scraper that will clean all the food layers that remain on it even after you do the brushing. Not only it will remove the damaging bacteria and lower the risk of decay, but it will also prevent you from swallowing them.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year and have a dental plan – Even if you don’t have visible problems with your teeth (or don’t feel like they hurt), you should not avoid your dentist appointments. This, along with your oral hygiene is crucial in keeping your teeth healthy and functioning for a long time. Your dentist can spot even the tiniest damages and changes in your gum and teeth and therefore you can get treatment before it’s late. To prevent any major expenses it’s best to have a dental insurance.
  • Regularly observe your gum and mouth condition – Always check for inflammations in your gums, possible mouth bleeding, changes in your tongue color, pain and so on. Always consult your dentist whenever you notice or feel something strange in your mouth.
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