The teeth are one of the important elements of our body, but most people are guilty of taking them for granted. It is only when something goes wrong do they pay key interest towards oral hygiene. Prevention is better than cure and here are some of the basic elements to brush up on the dental hygiene knowledge. Most of us know how important it is to look after our teeth, but do you know what the different types of teeth are and how we use them? Teeth don't just help you bite and chew; they play an important role in speaking and support many aspects of your facial structure. There are 20 primary teeth. Lower incisors are usually the first teeth to erupt at about 6 months. All 20 primary teeth are usually in the mouth by about 2 years. There are 32 permanent teeth including 4 wisdom teeth. The first permanent teeth to erupt (usually at about 6 years) are the 4 first permanent molars behind the last primary teeth. Incisors erupt between 7 and 8 years.
The primary and permanent are the two sets of teeth humans possess, and they could develop only in stages. Even though their timing is varied, the stages of development are similar. Here are interesting facts about teeth development:
- A tooth comes out in parallel formation; for example, the top molar on the left and right sides grow at the same time.
- The development of the tooth starts well before they become visible. A baby’s tooth begins in pregnancy during second trimester.
- The tooth crown is the first element that forms; meanwhile, the roots are developing even after the eruption of the tooth.
- The primary teeth are already formed by three years of age, and these 20 teeth remain until age 6. They fall out to make way for the permanent teeth.
- The adult teeth begin to grow between 6 to 12 years of age. Most adults develop 32 prominent teeth.
- Compared to the primary teeth, the permanent teeth take more time to grow and are also larger.
A tooth is divided into two basic parts: the crown, which is the visible, white part of the tooth, and the root, which you can’t see. The root extends below the gum line and helps anchor the tooth into the bone. Your teeth contain four kinds of tissue, and each does a different job. These include:
- Enamel. This is the visible substance that covers the tooth crown. Harder than bone, enamel protects the vital tissues within the tooth. Enamel is made up of hydroxyapatite, phosphorous, and calcium.
- Dentin. Underneath the enamel you find dentin, which is calcified and looks similar to bone. Dentin is not quite as hard as enamel, so it's at greater risk for decay should the enamel wear away.
- Cementum. This tissue covers the tooth root and helps anchor it into the bone. It's softer than enamel and dentin; the best way to protect this softer tissue from decay is by taking good care of your gums. Cementum has a light yellow color and is usually covered by the gums and bone. But with inadequate dental care, the gums may become diseased and shrink, exposing the cementum to harmful plaque and bacteria.
- Pulp. Pulp is found at the center and core of your tooth and contains the blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissues that deliver nutrients and signals to your teeth.