Human tooth structure consists of enamel, dentin, the pulp and the cementum. There are 4 different types of teeth; incisors, canines, pre-molars and molars. This lesson, human tooth structure for kids, teaches you not only about human tooth structure, but also about tooth decay, preventing tooth decay and taking care of your teeth.
To learn all about Types of Teeth click here.
Unlike some of your body’s organs, such as brain, heart and lungs, your teeth were not prepared to function from the day you were born.
A tooth is basically made up of three parts.
he crown is the part which you can see when you smile or open your mouth. This is located above the gumline.
This is the part of the tooth which you cannot see. It is located below the gumline and makes up about 2/3 of the tooth’s total length.
The neck of a tooth is the part between the crown and the root.
The Three Main Parts of a Tooth
The crown and the root of a tooth consists of four different tissues. They are;
Cross Section of the tooth showing the Structure of the Tooth
If someone ask you, ‘what is the hardest thing in your body’, what would be your answer?
Believe it or not, it is a type of tissue that covers each of your teeth. We call this the enamel.
Enamel is the white covering of the tooth. It is a very tough and durable substance containing mineral salts, like calcium. It acts as a tooth’s personal bodyguard and protects the tooth from everyday wear and tear of chewing. Enamel also protects the inside parts of the tooth, working as a barrier.
Dentine is a yellow bone-like material. It is softer than the enamel, but also very hard. Dentine consists of tubules (small tubes) with fluid inside, which help to transmit senses to the nerve. Dentine supports the enamel of the teeth and protects the innermost part of the tooth, called the pulp.
Pulp is a soft tissue which is in the centre of the tooth. It consists of the tooth’s nerve endings and blood vessels. So, pulp helps to transmit signals to your brain and give nourishment to keep the tooth alive and healthy.
How do you know that your teeth have nerves?
Have you ever felt a pain in any of your teeth when having hot soup, or a cool ice-cream?
If you have a tooth which is hurting or a tooth with a cavity, you might have felt a pain in this tooth when having a bowl of hot soup, or a cool ice-cream. This indicates that your teeth have nerves, because to feel a pain you definitely need nerves to send the signals about the pain to the brain. In this case, it is the pulp of the tooth which actually hurts, because it is the part of the tooth which carries nerve endings. The nerve endings inside the pulp send messages to the brain about what’s going on. “Oh!!! The soup is too hot…. 🍵😧😧😧🍵!!!”
Cementum covers most of the root of the tooth which is fixed to the jawbone. It helps to attach the tooth to the bones in your jaw. Between the cementum and the jawbone there is a cushioning layer to help connect them and acts as a cushion to absorb pressure. This is called the Periodontal Ligament.
Gumline connects the tooth with the gum. Your gumline needs to have a great care as it collects plaque and tartar quickly if you do not brush or floss your teeth properly. This may cause gum disease.
Plaque is a soft and sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. It is formed on your teeth if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay, gum disease and cavities in teeth.
Your mouth is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Usually, bacteria exist in your mouth. Tiny colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. This is completely normal as long as the bacteria are harmless. There are even helpful bacteria in your mouth.
However, without proper caring of your teeth these bacteria will turn out to be harmful. Bacteria can attach to the enamel of your teeth. If they are not removed regularly, they multiply and grow in number and form a colony. More and more bacteria can attach to the colony already growing on the enamel. Proteins in your saliva (or spit) also mix in, making the colony of bacteria a whitish film on the tooth. This film is what we call plaque.
Tartar is hardened plaque which has got collected on your teeth due to poor oral hygiene. Unlike plaque, tartar is easily visible. It is hard to remove tartar by brushing or flossing, so that you may need to see your dentist if you want to remove tartar.
Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in the world. However, it is non-contagious. Following are three simple steps to understand how tooth decay occurs.
Step 1: Bacteria in your mouth produce acid from food accumulated as plaque on tooth surface.
1st Step of the Process of Tooth Decay
Step 2: This acid demineralises and weakens tooth surface.
2nd Step of the Process of Tooth Decay
Step 3: In about 30 to 45 minutes, acid will be neutralized by saliva. Minerals in saliva will be absorbed into the tooth to remineralize it.
3rd Step of the Process of Tooth Decay
Demineralisation is the loss of important calcium in your teeth.
Why is sugar bad for teeth?
Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque use sugar as a form of energy. They multiply faster and the plaque grows in size and thickness. Some of the bacteria turn the sugar into a kind of glue in order to stick themselves to the tooth surface, making it harder for the bacteria to get washed away with your saliva.
Plaque produces acid as it eats up sugar. This acid cannot be easily washed away by your saliva. Mineral salts, like calcium in the enamel can easily be attacked and broken down by acids. In fact, this acid dissolves the minerals that make your tooth enamel hard. The surface of the enamel becomes porous, which means tiny holes appear. After a while, the acid causes the tiny holes in the enamel to get bigger until one large hole appears. This is a cavity.
Nerve fibres, which sends signals about the pain through the body, don’t exist in the tooth enamel. This is why, while the acid is attacking the enamel, you cannot feel a thing. The dentine is under the enamel. Once the acid eats into the dentine through the cavity, the nerve fibres begin to send out a message that something is going wrong. This message is about the pain which has occurred due to tooth decay.
Fluoride is a natural element which helps prevent tooth decay. It works with saliva to protect tooth enamel from plaque and sugars. People who naturally have more fluoride in their drinking water have fewer cavities. Some communities put more fluoride in their water supplies to protect people against tooth decay. Fluoride mixes with tooth enamel when teeth are growing. But it can help prevent tooth decay even after your teeth are formed.
If your drinking water does not contain enough fluoride in it, you can have enough fluoride by using toothpaste containing fluoride, a mouthwash that has fluoride in it or having supplements like vitamins containing fluoride.
Preventing Tooth Decay – Toothpaste containing Fluoride
What’s that awful smell?
If you don’t brush or floss your teeth properly, it may lead to halitosis, which means an offensive breath. Halitosis is generally known as bad breath.
Following are three common causes of bad breath:
Following is a list of tips to take care of your teeth
Brush your teeth regularly twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride
Also, brush your tongue well, when brushing your teeth
Always keep a separate toothbrush for you
Visiting the dentist for regular checkups
Eat fairly hard food like, corn, apples, celery, nuts, coconuts, carrots etc.
Too much sweets is bad for your teeth
So, keep up with all the do’s of taking care of your teeth for a strong and healthy set of teeth and odour free breath!
Cleaning your teeth with dental floss is called flossing. Dental floss is a piece of waxy string made of nylon that comes on a spool.
Advantages of flossing:
Eating healthy for healthy teeth
Following is a list of food bad for the your teeth.
These are only a few types of food which is bad for your teeth, if you eat too much of them without proper caring.
Eating food containing calcium is very good to keep your teeth healthy. Dairy products are good source of calcium and an essential nutrient for the development of bones and teeth.
As you know by now, saliva helps to wash food particles from your mouth and lessen the damage from acid. Eating a snack during a meal, usually has less threat to teeth because of the additional saliva produced during the mealtime eating. But you should be wise enough to choose the snack, which doesn’t contain too much sugar.
Hope you’ve learned a great deal about your teeth with this lesson ‘human tooth structure for kids’.