Have you ever stopped to think about your teeth? Most people take their teeth for granted not giving much thought to the important role they play in our health and happiness. To really understand why good oral and dental hygiene is important, here’s a look into the anatomy of teeth, perhaps if we take into account how are teeth are designed,  we may be more apt to pay better attention to taking care of our pearly whites.

Teeth are made up of four different types of tissue: enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp. Teeth are really made up of two parts which are the root and the crown. The root is the part of the tooth that is not exposed and that is found below the gum line. The crown of the tooth is the white part that is exposed from the gums. Where the crown and the root meet is known as the neck.

When you look at a tooth, what you see with your naked eye is the white outer layer which is called the tooth enamel. Found directly under a relatively thin layer of the tooth enamel is a calcified layer of tissue known as dentin. Tooth dentin is what continues almost all the way to the root of the tooth. Tooth roots are covered for protection with a calcified tissue called cementum. The root and cementum are a connective tissue allowing a tooth to be attached to your jaw bone via the periodontal ligament.

The layer beneath the dentin in the center of each tooth surrounding the root is soft tissue called pulp. Tooth pulp houses verves, veins, lymph vessels, arteries and connective tissue in the pulp chamber. You can have one to four root canals that lead from each pulp chamber. Maintaining healthy teeth is important at all four levels of tissue, from the inside out. Problems with tooth pulp or an infected pulp chamber can lead to the need for a root canal procedure. Tooth decay begins when plaque and tartar attack the tooth enamel and outer layer of the crown. Twice daily brushing and daily flossing is the best way to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits and protect your teeth.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care

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