In Oral Health

Teeth are rather marvellous things. When looked at in details it’s difficult to believe that some people would choose to destroy them. Perhaps looking at the biology and intricate details of the structure and roles of our teeth, we may be motivated to take better care of them.

The Structure and Function

There are so many structures that make up the tooth. One single tooth contains up to eight separate parts, that work together to perform a vital function. Let us look at them in detail:

The Enamel

This is the bodily tissue that covers the dental crown. The enamel of a tooth is as hard as a crystal, making it the hardest and most durable substance in the body.


Dentine makes up most of the tooth – from the crown to the root. It is not as hard as enamel, and therefore can be sensitive if the enamel wears away. The dentine is home to the dentinal tubule, a small tube filled with dental fluid.


Bone-like tissue, though not as hard as enamel, that covers the tooth root. This structure is made up of hydroxyapatite and connective proteins, which enable this tissue to hold the tooth firmly in place in the jawbone.


The soft tissue that extends from the crown to the tip of the tooth. The pulp’s function is to supply nutrients to the Dentine, and it does this by means of the blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerve fibres that can be located in the pulp. Another function is to alert the organism to any injuries or infections.

Periodontal Ligament

Put simply this is tissue that helps hold the teeth tightly to the jawbone. It is made up of thousands of fibres that connect the tooth root and the alveolar bone. During the process of chewing, this structure absorbs any shocks and prevents excessive force applied onto the bone.

Alveolar Bone

This is more commonly known as the jawbone. This provides the most ideal place for the teeth to be supported.


This is known as the “gum” tissue in the mouth. This soft tissue surrounds the teeth and provides the teeth with both protection and lubrication.

Gingival Sulcus

This is the scientific term used to describe the space between the tooth and the gums – which can have a depth of one to two mm in a healthy mouth. When the gums are inflamed then the gingival sulcus will increase and it will be called the periodontal pocket or gingival pocket.

Why is it so interesting to look at the structure of teeth in detail? One of the main reasons is that it makes dental diseases easier to understand. Diseases and conditions such as Periodontitis, Gingivitis, tooth decay as well as, cavities can be prevented by a good oral hygiene routine. And the more we understand about our teeth, the simpler it is to look after them. Teeth are extremely complicated and are made up of many structures, each with a specific function. When looked after, our teeth can help us speak, eat and chew – all vital functions. Start taking care of your teeth today!

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