You know to brush and floss regularly to keep teeth healthy, but what else do you know about those pearly whites? There’s a lot more to teeth than just good hygiene. Knowing a bit more about what your teeth are made of might help you stay on track with your routine care. Here’s some fun dental trivia to read up on before your next dental visit.
What Are Teeth Made Of?
Teeth may look like one pretty package, but they’re really made up of five different layers.
The enamel is the outer, visible coating of the tooth that appears above the gum line; it’s what you see when you smile. It’s made of calcium phosphate, a mineral that’s rock-hard and acts as an outer shield to protect your teeth from damage.
Dentin sits just underneath the enamel, acting like a secondary shield. Unlike the enamel, dentin is made up of living cells, which produce even more hard mineral substances to protect the tooth.
Located in the center of the tooth, pulp contains soft, living tissue. Blood vessels and nerves are also in this part of the tooth, which is what gives us the sensation of feeling our teeth.
The key word in cementum is “cement” and it’s the hard surface layer of tooth roots. The cementum is important because it’s what keeps the tooth firmly in place by connecting it to the periodontal ligament.
Another way your teeth stay in place is the periodontal ligament, which acts like an anchor between each tooth and the jaw bone. This tissue tightly holds your teeth in place so you can talk, chew, and eat without worrying about your teeth.
To protect all five parts of your teeth, always remember to brush and floss daily!
So, Teeth Aren’t Bones?
Nope! Teeth and bones may look similar, but teeth are stronger. Both teeth and bones contain many of the same minerals, but the exterior of bones are coated with periosteum. Periosteum gives bones the ability to grow and repair themselves. Teeth, on the other hand, mainly contain the hard, calcified tissue dentine. So your teeth may be stronger, but they cannot rejuvenate themselves like bones can after sustaining an injury.
If I’m Left-Handed, Do I Chew Mostly on the Right Side of My Mouth?
Surprisingly, no! Studies have shown that people don’t have a dominant chewing side, regardless of whether they’re right or left-handed.
How Many Teeth Do I Get?
As mammals, we have a finite number of teeth to use throughout our lives. We get a set of 20 baby teeth (10 on top and 10 on bottom) and a set of 32 adult teeth, and that’s it. Other vertebrates have a continuous cycle of teeth, with new ones growing in to replace old ones for the duration of the animal’s life. Since we only get two sets of teeth, it’s vital that we take care of them properly.
Curious to find out more about what teeth are made of and tips to improve your dental hygiene? Check out our appointments page and schedule your dental health exam today! Our entire staff has a delicate touch, so every member of the family will feel comfortable in our chair!