Most people know that the teeth are the hardest and strongest part of the body. However, did you know that your teeth are actually a living part of your body – with blood vessels and nerves?
The visible part of a tooth, otherwise known as the crown, is only a small portion of the living system. The crown is made up of enamel, the hardest substance found within the body. It is bone that has been enriched with large percentages of calcium. That’s why people who drink lots of milk or take calcium supplements have strong bones and teeth. The enamel is thickest at the crown, and thinnest near the roots of the teeth.
Beneath the enamel is the dentin. This makes up the inside of the tooth and is a softer (but still hard) substance that senses temperature and pain to the nerve endings in the pulp. The pulp is a small pocket at the center of the tooth with blood vessels and nerve endings. It is the only portion of the tooth that is soft tissue. The pulp is supplied with blood from vessels running out through the tooth roots to the jaw. A tooth can die if its roots are damaged or infected.
Throughout your life you end up having 2 completely different sets of teeth. The initial set is the baby teeth (deciduous teeth) that eventually fall out. They are whiter, softer, and less sturdy than adult teeth. Hence, they tend to wear out much faster than permanent teeth, but they also fall out to make room for them.
The permanent teeth are the second set of teeth that will last the rest of your life. They tend to be more yellow (and not just because of coffee) and are extremely hard. The final set of teeth is made up of 32 teeth, or 16 on each jaw. There are two central incisors for biting, two lateral incisors for biting, two canines for tearing and cutting, four premolars for chewing, and six molars for chewing.
The third pair of molars on each jaw are known as the ‘wisdom teeth’ and generally appear during early adulthood. Nowadays they are considered useless since our jaws have shrunk with evolution. Wisdom teeth tend to grow at an angle due to space limitations. In such cases, the Wisdom Teeth may be removed. Wisdom teeth removal prevents impaction, swelling, bleeding, misalignment of the teeth, and discomfort.
Your teeth are by far one of the most important things you use every day. Many people end up neglecting their teeth with improper dental hygiene. You should take care of them by brushing at least twice a day, flossing once per day, and going for regular dental checkups every six months.