Give your teeth some credit.
Do you appreciate the hard work that your teeth do every day? Like most of us, you probably don’t think about just how important teeth are when eating, talking, and going through the course of a normal. Sure, you might brush and floss your teeth, but otherwise they’re generally ignored until it’s time for a checkup or a toothache starts.
But without strong and healthy teeth your quality of life can suffer greatly, and good oral care starts with a solid understanding of exactly how to care for your teeth.
Here are a few basic facts to familiarize you with these fascinating pearly whites.
- Most adults have 32 permanent teeth, though kids start with 20 baby teeth.
- Healthy teeth can withstand a bite force of 200 pounds.
- Tooth enamel is even harder than bone.
- Teeth can’t be naturally repaired, and they don’t grow back!
Even though cavities are common (adults have an average of 3 cavities), teeth should last for a lifetime.
Here’s what your teeth are made of.
On the surface, your teeth look pretty simple. They’re white (for the most part), strong, and should be straight if you’ve received quality orthodontic care. But there’s a lot more to teeth than meets the eye.
Your teeth are a complicated system of bone, enamel, blood vessels, and nerves that all work together to keep you fed, comfortable, and healthy. Here are the basic building blocks of dental anatomy:
- Enamel. For most adults, enamel is the hardest substance their body produces. It’s even harder than bone. Enamel is made up of several organic compounds but mostly hydroxyapatite. Your teeth rely on enamel to protect the more vulnerable surfaces and matter underneath. Unfortunately, enamel doesn’t naturally replenish, so the effects of wear and tear are permanent. This is also one of the primary reasons that tooth sensitivity can increase with age – particularly with poor oral health habits.
- Dentin. Along with enamel, dentin is one of the key protective surfaces used to cover nerves and blood vessels contained near the center of your tooth. Technically a calcified substance, dentin is not as hard as enamel and it also contains small chambers and some blood vessels, which means that it helps communicate changes in temperature to other nerves in the tooth. Dentin is most prominent underneath the crown (the thickest portion of your tooth).
- Cementum. Yes, it sounds like a made up medical term from a sci-fi movie. But cementum is very real and it continues to grow over the course of your life. While enamel and dentin are mostly present above the gum line, cementum forms closer to the nerve center of your tooth (the root).
- Root. The root is the main connection point between your tooth and the gum (and jawbone). It contains the periodontal ligament, pulp, nerves, blood vessels, root canal, and more. If damaged or diseased, the root can cause significant pain and discomfort.
Taking care of your teeth for life pays off.
Even though baby teeth fall out and get replaced by a larger set of mature adult teeth, oral health still starts young. From corrective orthodontic implements and regular checkups to attentive daily cleaning, getting things right from a young age is important for many reasons. These are just a few of the benefits that come with diligent care and healthy habits:
- Kids learn good habits for life. Habits that start at a young age are more likely to be practiced as kids get older. And the benefits only compound as young children start to eat a wider variety of foods and (potentially) undergo more significant orthodontic treatments.
- It protects teeth for the long haul. You can’t go back and help yourself or a family member reverse damage to teeth that haven’t been cared for. While it’s always a good time to start taking oral care seriously, there are certain effects that will only get worse over time, and might require painful or significant interventions.
- Catch problems early! When you spend time getting to know your teeth, you can quickly tell if things start to go wrong. Early detection is crucial for maintaining the cost and scope of treatment.
It all starts with a provider you can trust.
We’re proud of reviews that show how, year after year, we continue to help families start their kids down a path of lifelong oral health. If you’re interested in learning more about orthodontic care for yourself, a spouse, or a child, schedule an appointment with us or use our online tool to get started today. We’re confident that you’ll leave your consultation with the knowledge and confidence needed to make the best decision.