The health of your teeth and gums can impact your overall well-being. Healthy teeth and gums do more than give you a beautiful smile. Understanding your oral anatomy will help you better care for your teeth and gums. This understanding may also solidify the importance of keeping your dental appointments.
Anatomy of the Tooth
Teeth are very complex structures that serve an important functional role. The tissues that comprise your teeth are not found in the other parts of your body, thus they require special care.
The three basic layers of the teeth include enamel, dentin, and pulp.
Enamel is the hard, durable external covering of your teeth. It provides protection and gives your teeth their white appearance. Without care, enamel can also experience decay and erosion. Taking care of your enamel by using a soft-bristled toothbrush, using a nightguard to keep you from grinding your teeth, and avoiding chewing ice will help protect this critical protective shell.
The dentin is below the enamel and is a softer, darker material. It is more susceptible to decay than the enamel due to its structure, which is made up of tubules. These small hollow tubes may allow bacteria to penetrate the interior of the tooth, also known as the pulp.
The pulp of the tooth is soft and contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. This is the most delicate part of the tooth. Any damage or irritants to the pulp can be very painful.
Other important parts of your oral anatomy include the gums and the jawbone. Your gums protect the roots of your teeth. And the jawbone surrounds the roots of the teeth, holding them in place.
Taking Care of Your Teeth
Proper oral health care involves daily hygiene habits, dietary choices, and professional dental services. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste will help remove plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. Also, flossing will remove food particles from between your teeth.
What you eat and drink will impact the health of your teeth and gums. Sugary or acidic foods and beverages can leave a layer of bacteria and plaque on the teeth. This is known to lead to tooth decay. Drinking water and swapping sugary items for fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods can help you prevent cavities and other oral health issues.
Finally, visiting your dentist regularly is an invaluable part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Don’t wait for tooth pain or sensitivity to make an appointment—regular cleanings can prevent issues before they start.
Dental Services at Columbia Smiles
At Columbia Smiles, we offer all of the dental services you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Regular cleanings remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas. During dental exams, your dentist will check for the early warning signs of gingivitis, tooth decay, and oral cancer. Other services we provide include:
- Cosmetic dentistry – Teeth whitening and dental veneers can boost your confidence
- Dental trauma services – We can help in the event of an injury that leaves you with a cracked or dislodged tooth