Our teeth are so important! They help us to eat delicious foods, talk to our friends, smile and even laugh at jokes.
Teeth are strong enough to chew through really hard foods, so what are they made of? They are not a bone, but they are made up of four different types of tissue.
- The pulp helps to feed, build and fix the rest of the tooth, and lets you know when there is a problem.
- The dentin supports the enamel on the outside, but also has very tiny tubes that send out sensations (and possibly germs) to the pulp inside.
- Cementum is a very thin layer of material similar to bone. It covers the root of the tooth and serves as an anchor for tiny fibers that hold the tooth in place.
- Enamel protects the dentin and the pulp underneath it. Holes in enamel (cavities caused by sweet and sticky foods and drinks) can lead to toothaches.
Inside our mouths, we have four different types of teeth.1
- Incisors are in the front of the mouth and help cut foods when we bite into them.
- Next to the incisors are the canines, or cuspids.
- Behind the canines are the premolars, or bicuspids. These teeth grind and mash foods.
- The molars are found in the very back. These have points and grooves to allow for vigorous chewing. You actually have 12 molars! They come in sets as first, second and third molars. The third molars are the wisdom teeth. Sometimes they get too close to other teeth and can cause pain or infection. If that happens, your dentist may want to remove them.
We get 20 baby teeth when we’re little. Those start falling out around age 6 to make room for our full set, which is 32 teeth. We’ll have our adult teeth forever, so it’s really important we take good care of them. That means brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating healthy foods and avoiding sugar. And of course, see your dentist regularly!
1. KidsHealth from Nemours, “Mouth and Teeth,” web.