Give Thanks For Healthy Teeth

Healthy_TeethIn this blog, we often discuss common dental challenges and their solutions. But today is Thanksgiving, and we thought it would be appropriate to pause and reflect upon the marvelous way in which healthy teeth and gums work and allow us to enjoy our life.

How Healthy Teeth Function

There are five main parts to our teeth:

  • Enamel – This is the hard outer coating of our teeth, composed of minerals that include calcium phosphate. It is the hardest substance produced by our body!
  • Dentin – This is the bone-like layer found underneath our tooth enamel. It comprises the majority of a tooth’s structure.
  • Cementum – This enamel-like coating surrounds the roots of each tooth and gives it stability.
  • Pulp Canal – Located inside the tooth in a hollow chamber is the pulp canal. This area of the tooth is responsible for providing the blood flow and nutrients that are necessary to keep the tooth alive.
  • Root – The root(s) of each tooth anchor it to the jawbone. A tooth may have one root and many premolar and molar teeth may contain two or three roots.

A normal adult mouth has 32 teeth, including eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars and eight molars, and four third molars or “wisdom teeth.”

Meet Your Gums

Healthy teeth need the support of the soft tissues that surround them. Our gums are known clinically as gingiva, and they are the mucosal tissues that surround the teeth and cover the alveolar bone underneath.

There are three types of gingiva: marginal, which forms a “collar” around each tooth; attached, which is firm, resilient and bound tightly to the alveolar bone; and interdental, which extends in between two teeth up to the contact point. Healthy gums have a coral pink color and have a gently scalloped appearance around each tooth.

Dentists have a key role to play in keeping your mouth healthy. As doctors of oral health, they can advise you on the best practices for maintaining good oral hygiene, check for warning signs of disease, and evaluate your teeth and gums in the context of a larger portion of your body, that can include the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the nervous system of the head and neck and other areas.

“Our mouth is an amazing place – our healthy teeth and gums help us eat, drink and speak properly,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix.


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