Your teeth are remarkable. They’re responsible for filling out your smile, processing food to fuel your body, and allowing you to enunciate your words clearly, and they’re protected by the most resilient substance that the body produces. Teeth are also peculiar in the fact that, when damaged or threatened, they don’t possess the ability to heal themselves. This hindrance makes good hygiene and oral health care even more important; preventing dental health issues is the most effective way of preserving your healthy tooth structure. Southlake dentist, Dr. Gregory Wright, takes a close look at what your teeth are made of, and how damage or an infection can threaten their existence.
How a Tooth is Built
A typical adult (or permanent) tooth is composed of layers. The strong outer layer of enamel is the tooth’s first and foremost defense against excessive pressure and infectious bacteria. As the body’s most mineralized substance, enamel is mostly comprised of calcium and phosphate, along with other trace minerals. Underneath the translucent enamel lies the tooth’s dentin, which constitutes the main body of the tooth. Pulp, located at the center of the tooth, is comprised of vulnerable nerves and blood vessels. Together, enamel and dentin surround and protect the tooth’s pulp, and when these structures are compromised, the tooth’s living tissues can become infected and die.
How a Tooth is Destroyed
Even if you can’t remember its name, you’re likely familiar with dental plaque, the sticky substance that sometimes coats your teeth and accumulates along your gum line. What you may not know, however, is that the presence of excessive dental plaque is the main factor behind tooth decay, gum disease, and chronic bad breath development, among other dental health issues. The bacteria found in plaque, particularly Streptococcus mutans, consume sugar and other carbohydrates, then metabolize them into acid that attacks healthy tooth enamel. As the acid coats your teeth, it depletes them of essential minerals, weakening tooth enamel and depriving it of the ability to regain its strength. Poor hygiene can allow bacterial plaque and the acid it produces to destroy the protective layer around your teeth, exposing them to bacteria, tooth decay, and resulting cavities.
About Gregory Wright, DDS:
As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.