Ever wondered why our teeth are white in color? what makes them so? You will find the answer here.
Our teeth are made up of bonelike substances which is hard.
The insides contain blood vessels and nerves.
Humans always develop 2 sets of teeth. Our primary or baby teeth fall off after some time and are replaced by permanent teeth of which most adults have 32.
Each tooth is divided into a visible white part called the crown and the root which goes below the gum and anchors our teeth to the bone.
The tooth also contains four types of tissues – enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp – each which perform a different function.
There are many tooth related problems like cavities, injuries or infections.
What Makes Teeth White
The enamel is the translucent outer covering of the teeth.
It is a tough shell that covers the crown and is the hardest human tissue. The enamel is made of calcium and phosphorous.
The dentin is below the enamel and is not so hard. When the enamel wears away, dentin is at greater risk of decay.
Tooth enamel is composed of 1-2% protein, 6% water, and 90-92% inorganic HA (hydroxyapatite). Enamel has the low tensile strength and is very hard and brittle.
Dentin is composed of 50% in volume HA, 25% collagen and 25% water.
The principal organic compound in dentin is collagen. It is the dentin which forms the color of our teeth as we known it. This can appear white, yellow, off-white or grayish.
Tooth enamel comprises microscopic crystalline rods that are sparkling white when we are born and meant to protect our teeth from acid attacks by sugary products, trauma, chewing and gnashing.
Over the years, the enamel gets worn down and becomes discolored and lackluster.
Everyday chewing causes small cracks and gaps to appear between crystalline enamel rods. These fill with debris and stains.
Brushing or teeth whitening removes these stains and the cracks can get re-mineralized by saliva or debris can get deposited again.
Two types of stains can affect the enamel and cause discoloration – extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Mild extrinsic stains can usually be controlled by prophylactic dental cleaning and brushing.
There are several factors that can cause enamel to erode.
Consumption of excessive drinks that contain citric or phosphoric acid, fruit drinks which are acidic, xerostomia which results in dry mouth or low salivary flow, a diet high in starches and sugars, GERD and other problems of the gastrointestinal tract, certain medications – especially antihistamines and aspirin -, genetic factors and environmental factors can all erode our teeth.
Smoking can also stain teeth enamel. Regular visits to the dentist can remove these stains and keep our teeth white and healthy.
There are several cosmetic dental procedures available that can make teeth white.
There are whitening gels, whitening toothpaste, teeth bleaching which can all be used to make teeth white.
However, there are some side effects to whitening teeth like excess sensitivity.
So, always consult your dentist before you decide to follow some cosmetic whitening procedure for your teeth.
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