Understanding Teeth and What Damages Them

The Structure of a Tooth: A Closer Look


The human tooth, a marvel of biological engineering, is comprised of different layers that contribute to its function and resilience. Understanding the basic structure of a tooth is crucial for maintaining good oral health.


Outer Enamel

The outermost layer, enamel, is the hardest substance in the human body. It serves as a protective shield, preventing damage from acids and bacteria. Despite its strength, enamel can erode over time when exposed to acidic foods and beverages, leading to tooth sensitivity and vulnerability.



Beneath the enamel lies dentin, a dense tissue that provides support to the tooth structure. Dentin contains microscopic tubules that connect to the nerve endings, making it sensitive to temperature and pressure. When enamel is compromised, dentin becomes more susceptible to external stimuli, causing discomfort.



At the core of the tooth is the pulp, a soft tissue containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp plays a vital role during tooth development but can be at risk if the protective layers above it are compromised. Tooth decay or trauma can lead to inflammation and infection of the pulp, requiring dental intervention.



Covering the tooth’s roots is a layer called cementum, which anchors the tooth to the jawbone through fibres called the periodontal ligament. Gum recession or aggressive tooth brushing can expose the cementum, leading to sensitivity and increased vulnerability to decay.


Factors That Can Damage a Tooth


Poor Oral Hygiene

Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to accumulate on teeth. Over time, this can lead to cavities and gum disease, affecting the overall health of the tooth.


Acidic Foods and Drinks

Consuming acidic substances, such as citrus fruits and carbonated beverages, can erode enamel over time. This weakening makes the tooth more susceptible to decay and damage.


Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Habitual teeth grinding can wear down enamel, leading to increased tooth sensitivity and a higher risk of fractures. Using a night guard can help protect teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism.



Accidents or injuries to the mouth can result in cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. Seeking prompt dental care is essential to prevent further damage and maintain the tooth’s integrity.


Understanding the intricacies of tooth structure and recognizing potential threats is crucial for preserving dental health. Regular dental check-ups at Greystanes Dentist hygiene practices, and a mindful approach to dietary choices contribute to maintaining strong and healthy teeth throughout a lifetime.