Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond. – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1605
This ‘tooth’ quote was written during the Age of Reason, during which, the world began to think and act rationally. The lines of wisdom, authored centuries ago emphasize the importance of teeth, and the part it plays in keeping the body healthy.
The functions of the teeth are not just limited to cutting, grinding and chewing. They help with speech development and even play a role in giving us facial definition.
But, do you know the different parts of a tooth? What are its function? A detailed anatomy overview will help us understand its significance.
Anatomy of a tooth
A tooth is formed of:
• Enamel: The outer part of the tooth, white and hard. Calcium phosphate is the mineral that gives enamel its toughness, making it the hardest substance in the body. Enamel helps in the biting and chewing of food, and protects the tooth against decay.
• Dentin: The layer beneath the enamel, dentin consists of living cells, and forms the largest part of the tooth.
• Pulp: The inner part of a tooth, which is soft and contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. The pulp nourishes the dentin. It is this part of the tooth that hurts when there’s a dental issue.
• Cementum: A bed of connective tissues, cementum helps in binding the roots of the tooth to the gums and jaw.
• Periodontal ligament: The fibrous tissue that holds the tooth strongly to the jaw, thereby securing it.
Teeth, the hardest substance found in the human body, are also very vulnerable. Ensuring adequate care by practicing good oral hygiene will help sustain the teeth in a healthy condition. Always remember, good oral hygiene comes with:
• Brushing twice a day
• Flossing at least once a day
• Visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups at least twice a year
Happy Smiles. Remember, your pearly whites are as precious as diamonds!