Until our dental health is compromised, most of us don’t give our teeth a second thought. Teeth play an important role in our daily lives; we need them to chew properly, digest food, and to speak clearly. When you keep your mouth healthy, you are protecting your overall well-being. A useful way to improve your oral health is to acquire more dental knowledge. Here are a few things you might not have known about your teeth!
Enamel: The hard, outer coating of a tooth is the strongest compound in the human body. Composed mainly of calcium phosphate, it is one of the hardest substances in existence, second only to diamonds.
Dentin: The thick layer just beneath tooth enamel. This sheet of live cells surrounds the inner pulp.
Pulp: The soft, center structure of a tooth. This inner chamber houses nerves, blood vessels, and the root canal.
Cementum: The connective tissue that firmly binds tooth roots to gums and jawbone.
The secondary (permanent) teeth emerge between ages 6 and 12. Each tooth type has unique parts and serves a different function.
Incisors: Usually the first teeth to erupt, there are eight incisors, four upper front teeth and four on the lower jaw. Incisors are used to bite through food.
Canines: The next in line of teeth development are the four canines. This is your sharpest set of teeth, designed to rip and tear food apart. The upper two typically erupt just before the bottom canines.
Premolars: The two upper and two lower premolars are used to chew and grind food. The four teeth are located on both sides of the mouth. The first set appears around age 10, and the second duo follows about a year later.
Molars: The first set of molars that erupt between 12-15 months of age are used to chew and grind food. These primary molars are later replaced by both sets of permanent premolars.
Wisdom Teeth: The third molars (wisdom teeth) are the last to develop and don’t show up until the late teen years or early twenties. Some people don’t have third molars, while others often need to have theirs extracted due to the common problems wisdom teeth cause.