What Are Your Teeth Made Out Of?

Kids have a great sense of curiosity, and they can ask really tough questions. They constantly wonder about the world around them and how things work. When it comes to teeth, your child may wonder what they are made of. Here is a bit of information to help with the answer.

What are human teeth made out of?

Teeth are actually quite complicated. However, their basic construction is designed in layers. Instead of a tooth being one solid structure, it is actually several different layers of material.

The outermost layer is the one that your child sees as he or she peers into a mirror. It is called enamel and is a hard material that includes minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Enamel surrounds the crown of a tooth, which is the portion that lies above the gum line. Below the gums, the outermost portion of the tooth is called cementum. It coats the roots of the teeth.

The second layer of tooth material is called dentin. Dentin is quite hard, but it is not as hard as enamel. Slightly yellow in appearance, dentin helps the teeth stay protected from hot and cold temperatures. In addition, it supports the enamel of the tooth and helps protect the innermost tooth layer, which is called the pulp.

The pulp of a tooth includes the blood vessels and dental nerves. Instead of the material being hard like dentin or enamel, the pulp is very soft. Like the dentin, the pulp resides both above and below the gums.

Are teeth just oddly shaped bones?

Teeth are similar to bones, so your child may compare the two. Both have a white appearance and are quite strong. Also, they have a soft center and contain some of the same minerals. Nevertheless, teeth and bones not the same.

In teeth, only the secondary layer, or dentin, includes collagen. Collagen is a specialized tissue that helps bones withstand the shock of impact and grow properly. Bones include collagen throughout their entire structure. Also, tooth material is stronger than bone. In fact, tooth enamel is harder than any other tissue of the body.

How do the things that your child eats affect the health of his or her teeth?

Your child may wonder how the things that he or she eats and drinks affect the teeth. Some of the foods or drink that your child consumes contain minerals, including phosphorous and calcium, to keep the tooth enamel strong and hard.

The acidity of foods and beverages also have an impact on the teeth. Items that are highly acidic can demineralize the teeth to cause tooth decay. Acids dissolve calcium, phosphorus and other minerals within the enamel, promoting the formation of holes or cavities. However, just as there are acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits and sodas, there are items, such as milk, which help neutralize acids in the mouth.

In addition, foods and drinks that contain fluoride can help maintain your child’s teeth. When your child ingests fluoride, it coats his or her teeth. Fluoride then draws displaced minerals back to the enamel and combines with them. The new combination becomes a new tooth material that is actually more resistant to acid-based decay than your child’s original enamel. Fluoride is often present in drinking water.

Do every person’s teeth react the same?

Some people have thicker and stronger bones than others. Likewise, teeth can differ from one person’s mouth to another’s. What a person eats, the amount of saliva in their mouth, how they care for their teeth and even the number of cracks and crevices within the teeth can affect the strength and decay resistance of a tooth. Although some factors, such as the number of grooves in a tooth, are beyond your child’s realm of influence, other factors that affect the teeth, such as dental hygiene, are well within his or her control.

To help ensure that your child’s teeth remain as healthy as possible, be sure that the little one visits our office regularly for preventive and restorative care. To make an appointment contact us today.