What Are Teeth Made Of?
Did you know the human tooth contains the most mineralized substance in the body? Teeth are made up of multiple layers including the enamel, the dentin, the cementum and the pulp. Each individual layer has an important function, and problems with one section can snowball into problems in the whole tooth. While teeth may look like bones, they are not considered bones because they don’t have regenerative powers nor can they produce red and white blood cells. Let’s discuss the different layers of the tooth so you can understand its anatomy a little better.
You’ve probably heard of enamel. This is the visible part of the tooth, and this is the hardest and most mineralized part of the body, but it can be broken down by sugar and other bacteria if you neglect brushing and flossing. It’s incredible that the hardest part of the body can be destroyed by sugar. Enamel is made up of 96% mineral and the rest is water and organic material. Some parts of your tooth may look semitranslucent; this part of your tooth doesn’t have dentin beneath it.
Dentin is the next layer of the tooth and it sits between the enamel and the cementum. Dentin is porous, has a yellow hue, and is made up of 70% inorganic materials (hydroxylapatite), 20% organic materials, and 10% water (by weight). Dentin is necessary for the support of the enamel. The ivory of elephants is solid dentin! If you have ever suffered from tooth sensitivity, this is caused by exposed dentin (where the enamel has worn down).
Cementum is softer than enamel and dentin. Its main function is to provide stability to the tooth. It is the surface layer of the tooth root and is attached to the alveolar bone through fibers of a ligament called the periodontal ligament. One 2010 archeological study found that cementum has five times the amount of mitochondrial DNA as the dentin!
The pulp may seem like bone marrow, but it can’t produce red or white blood cells so it isn’t actually marrow. The dental pulp is the very center of the tooth, where all the blood vessels and nerves live. The center of your tooth is full of soft connective tissue; it is this dental pulp that can signal decay in the tooth.
Now that you know how intricate and important your teeth are, why don’t you make an appointment for a check-up or a teeth cleaning? Preventive care is one of the most important ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Keep your mouth and teeth healthy by scheduling an appointment at Dental Solutions of Avon. Call today or schedule your appointment online!