Get To Know Your Teeth A Little Better

Woman smiling outside with healthy teeth

WE USE OUR TEETH EVERY DAY as we eat, smile, and speak. We also spend considerable time cleaning our teeth and making sure they stay strong and healthy. Our teeth are very important to our well-being… but do we actually know what our teeth are made of?

Our teeth are actually made of different layers, each having an important role. Let’s find out what the different layers are and what they do for us.

The Different Layers of Teeth


Enamel is the white substance on the outside of our teeth. It is made of calcium phosphate and is the hardest substance in our body. We have this hard outer layer of our teeth for the following reasons:

  1. Protection: Enamel protects the inner layers of your teeth, such as dentin and pulp, from damage caused by acids, bacteria, and physical wear. It acts as a barrier against decay and cavities.
  2. Strength: Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, even stronger than bone. It provides strength and structural integrity to your teeth, allowing them to withstand the pressures of biting and chewing.
  3. Insulation: Enamel helps insulate your teeth from extreme temperatures, such as hot and cold foods or beverages. This insulation helps prevent sensitivity and discomfort.
  4. Aesthetics: Enamel is responsible for the white appearance of teeth. Its smooth surface reflects light, contributing to a bright and attractive smile.

Maintaining strong enamel through good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, is essential for overall dental health and hygiene.


This is the largest part of the tooth. It is made of living cells that create a hard mineral substance. Dentin lies beneath the enamel of your teeth and surrounds the pulp. It serves several important functions:

  1. Support: Dentin provides structural support to the enamel, helping to maintain the shape and integrity of the tooth.
  2. Protection: Dentin acts as a cushion for the sensitive pulp tissue at the center of the tooth. It provides a protective barrier against external stimuli, such as temperature changes, pressure from chewing, and bacterial invasion.
  3. Sensitivity: Dentin contains microscopic tubules that connect to nerve endings in the pulp. When the enamel is worn down or damaged, these tubules can become exposed, leading to tooth sensitivity. Dentin sensitivity can cause discomfort in response to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages.
  4. Secondary defense: In cases where enamel is compromised due to decay or erosion, dentin serves as a secondary line of defense, helping to protect the underlying pulp from further damage.

Overall, dentin plays a crucial role in maintaining the structure, sensitivity, and protection of your teeth. It works in conjunction with enamel and pulp to support dental health and function.


Tooth pulp is the soft tissue located in the center of a tooth, beneath the dentin layer. It consists of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp serves several important functions:

  1. Nutrition: The pulp contains blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to the tooth, helping to keep it alive and healthy.
  2. Sensory Perception: Nerves within the pulp transmit sensory information such as temperature, pressure, and pain. This allows you to perceive sensations in your teeth, such as hot or cold temperatures, and respond accordingly.
  3. Repair and Defense: The pulp has the ability to generate new dentin in response to injury or decay, a process called dentinogenesis. It also plays a role in immune defense, helping to fight off infections that may affect the tooth.
  4. Development: During tooth development, the pulp plays a crucial role in the formation of dentin and other tooth structures. It contributes to the growth and maturation of the tooth during early stages of development.

The tooth pulp is essential for the vitality and function of a tooth. It provides nourishment, sensation, repair capabilities, and developmental support, making it a critical component of dental health.


Cementum is a specialized calcified tissue that covers the roots of teeth. It serves several important functions:

  1. Anchorage: Cementum helps anchor the tooth securely in the socket of the jawbone by providing a surface for the periodontal ligament to attach. This attachment allows for stability and support of the tooth during chewing and other oral activities.
  2. Protection: Cementum covers the sensitive dentin of the tooth root, providing a protective layer against external stimuli such as temperature changes, pressure, and bacteria.
  3. Repair: Cementum has the ability to regenerate and repair itself, to some extent, in response to damage or wear. This repair process helps maintain the integrity of the tooth-root surface over time.
  4. Compensation for Wear: Cementum formation continues throughout life, allowing it to compensate for the natural wear of tooth roots that occurs due to factors such as chewing and toothbrush abrasion. This ongoing formation helps maintain the proper relationship between the tooth and surrounding bone.

Overall, the cementum plays a crucial role in anchoring teeth within the jawbone, protecting tooth roots, facilitating repair, and compensating for wear. It is an essential component of the periodontal complex, which includes the structures that support and surround the teeth.

Keep Your Teeth Clean & Healthy

Once the cavities and decay reach that dentin layer, your mouth can feel a lot of pain. Taking care of your teeth is very important to prevent dental issues.

Brushing your teeth twice a day for about 2 minutes will keep your enamel clean and strong. Good dental care prevents decay and therefore, pain. Regular flossing will also keep all the layers of your teeth healthy.

Schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning in Boston, MA, to keep your teeth in top shape.

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