mouth contains our teeth, which amounts to around
20% of the total surface area. There are two
sets involved: the upper and lower set. The upper
part takes up more space than the lower set.
When your mouth closes, these two sets meet,
forming your perfect pearly whites.
Before your food gets to your gastrointestinal
area, the primary function of your teeth is
to chew food. Formation of speech, contorting
facial muscles forming various facial expressions,
alignment and coloration are some of the other
functions that our teeth are capable of. Our
teeth are regular in shape, unchipped and sturdy
(considering that no disorders or illnesses
are found), and basically white overall, improving
our appearances every time we smile.
Human beings need teeth for them to chew on
food mechanically. On the other hand, animals
not only use this to chew food – it is
also for self-defense and weapons against attackers.
When a person is around six months old, there
are twenty primary teeth (deciduous or milk
teeth) that will have erupted. Permanent teeth
will start to set in at around six years of
life. A full set of teeth (32 teeth) will replace
these deciduous teeth at the age of 20. Molars,
however, may not erupt yet at this age.
There are three parts that composes your complete
(32 in normal healthy adult) teeth: Enamel,
Dentine and Pulp.
Imagine cutting a tooth lengthwise. You will
see layers in the tooth and their relations
with the gums and jawbone. These are the internal
structures in your mouth.
Tooth crown, neck and root
The part of the tooth that is visible around
your gums (gingival) is called a crown. In
the middle of the root and the crown area,
the neck of the tooth is found somewhere in
the gum line. The gums that are fixed to the
regions of your tooth is where you will find
the root part. Molars and premolars have four
roots in each tooth while canine and incisors
have only one root embedded in the gums.
Your teeth are attached to your jaw for support.
Your jaw is made out of alveolar bone, periodontal
ligament and cementum which are sheltered by
your gums. This whole structure is malleable,
which enables you to withstand the mechanical
act of chewing and opening and closing your
The tough coat surrounding the crown of your
tooth is called Enamel. This covers the underlying
dentine. Your tooth is supplied with nutrients
primarily of calcium and phosphorus to give
it its tough exterior. Apatite crystals are ‘non-living’ minerals
which are generally found in your enamel composed
of 96%. Although minerals keep your tooth sturdy,
it can also make it brittle. Apatite crystals
found inside the enamel are set in a rod- like
line that covers the exterior part of your
tooth. This is the reason your dentist always
advice you to brush your teeth laterally instead
of vertically. This is to prevent the wear
down of the covering of your teeth.
The toughest part in the human body is the
enamel. This is much tougher than your bones.
Your mouth secretes acid which can kill bacteria
-- and cause wearing of your enamel. This makes
your teeth brittle. However, your mouth can
absorb fluoride as your mouth initially digests
down food. Toothpastes and drinking water all
contain fluoride to enhance tooth durability.
Dentine is the most important part of
your tooth. It has a yellow to white color,
is tough, and has soft enamel, making it elastic
even when compressed. Since dentin supports
the whole teeth structure, it also confines
the central chamber pulp. This structure has
the ability to renew and replace when needed
and is highly sensitive.
The structure consisting of soft tissue found
in the central area of the tooth is called
a Pulp. Although dentin and pulp have different
features to consider (toughness), the functions
of each are the same and inter-dependent, making
it a single cohesive unit. The primary function
of a pulp is for nutrition, production, fortification
and replacement of surrounding dentin.
Cementum covers up the roots of your teeth
and holds your teeth in place. It is composed
of 50% mineralized connective tissue. Dentin
and Cementum are both conjoined at the root
of your teeth.