Human Dental Structure and Oral Hygiene issues

Teeth are one of the most important parts of our body. There are two sets of teeth that every individual has in their lifetime. The second teeth set is very important as once lost cannot be regained again. The teeth are made up of hydroxyl apaptite crystals and mainly use up calcium and phosphorous. They are formed when the baby is still in the womb. The process of completion of teeth takes place slowly and gradually.

The two sets of teeth that every individual has are-

Primary Teeth- They are the first set of teeth which the child has when they are born. The first tooth emerges when the child is 6 months of age. Gradually over the period of 1.5 years, all the teeth in the oral cavity erupt. These teeth are quite small and white. They are total 20 in number and consist of 5 in every quadrant.

Permanent Teeth- This is the second set of teeth which the child has when he comes to 6 years of age. At this stage, the permanent teeth start to erupt that will remain for a longer period of time until they are shed off due to poor oral hygiene. Once the tooth is lost cannot be regained in a natural manner. Therefore, a person must take good care of his or her teeth.


In the permanent dentition, the child has 8 teeth in one quadrant. Therefore, they have a total of 32 teeth in their mouth. The tooth erupts from 6 years of age until 13-14 years of age. The last tooth to erupt in the oral cavity is the wisdom tooth which erupts after 18 years of age.

human dental structure and oral hygiene issues


INCISOR- The first four teeth in the oral cavity in the upper and the lower segment are known as incisors. They are also of two types- Central Incisor and the Lateral Incisor. The first two teeth are the central incisor and they are bigger than their counterparts. The lateral incisor lies laterally to the central incisor and hence, got this name. These teeth help in the main function and that is biting of the food.

CANINE- They lie after the lateral incisor and they help in tearing of the food. These teeth are sharp in the non-vegetarian people. They are just four in number as one tooth per quadrant.

PREMOLAR- Premolars are total 8 teeth with 2 in every quadrant. They are known as the first premolar and the second premolar. They help in mixing the food with the saliva and helps in breaking down of the food so that it can be digested.

MOLAR- The last tooth in the oral cavity is the molars. They are three in number in each quadrant and hence, they are total 12 in the oral cavity. The third molar is the last tooth to erupt in the oral cavity. They are also known as the wisdom tooth. They are the main tooth that helps in breaking down the food into the smaller pieces.

SUPERNUMERARY TEETH- They are the tooth that may not be present in every individual. They are the anomalies that are present in some of the individual. Mesiodens, Paramolar, Distomolar are some of the most common supernumerary teeth that may be present in an individual.

Function of teeth

Teeth are very important to us as they perform many functions that are very important to the human being. These are the most common functions performed by the tooth.


Chewing is the main function of teeth as they are part of the digestive system. Chewing is the first stage of digestion and that begins in the mouth itself. The food is broken down into smaller pieces and then only it can be digested by the body.

The body can easily absorb nutrients from the food once it has been broken down. Digestion is hampered when the teeth are not present and thus can cause significant disturbances in food absorption. Different teeth have different functions and hence, al the teeth have different roles.

Losing one teeth can also cause some disturbance in eating food. Therefore, everyone must take care of their hygiene.


Teeth, especially those located in the visible area and therefore, they have an important aesthetic role. The position, shape, size and shade of teeth have an important impact in shaping each individual personality. The females and males have different types of teeth. Therefore, the teeth are very important for instilling the confidence in the individual.

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Teeth play an important role in the pronunciation of the consonants. When teeth are missing the normal speech can be severally hampered. Especially when the upper front teeth are missing, they are very important to maintain the normal speaking habit.


Teeth are mainly divided into two parts macroscopically. They have one crown and one root.

Crown- This is the part of the tooth which is visible in the oral cavity. This is the white part of the tooth that helps in chewing food.

Root- This is the part of the tooth which is normally not visible in the oral cavity. The tooth is lodged into the socket with the help of the root.

Microscopically the tooth is divided into these parts.

  • Enamel: The hardest part of the tooth which is white in colour. Enamel is mostly made of calcium phosphate and is the hardest substance in the body. This is formed only once in a lifetime and cannot be replenished if once lost. They are formed by the cells which are known as the ameloblast.
  • Dentin: The layer which lies below the Enamel. It is a hard tissue that contains microscopic tubes and also has a fluid flowing through the tubes. If the enamel is damaged due to any reason then the tubules will be exposed to the outer environment and hence, will cause sensitivity. The fluid present inside the tubules will move and thus will lead to a little pain in the jaws. Dentin can be regenerated upon any damage. There are various materials which can also lead to reparative dentin formation.
  • Pulp: The softer, living inner structure of teeth that is also vascular and thus provides nourishment to the other parts. Blood vessels and the nerves run through the pulp of the teeth and thus make the tooth a living tissue. The pulp is one of the vital parts of the tooth. It is the main component, and if this part of the tooth necroses the tooth is considered dead.
  • Cementum: This is the layer of connective tissue that keeps the roots of the teeth firmly to the gums. This is also a hard tissue that covers only the root area. The cementum is not found in the crown portion. They are mainly two types- acellular and the cellular types. They are also made of up fibres from the bones which are embedded in the cementum and hence, known as sharpey’s fibre.
  • Periodontal ligament: Periodontal ligament is the tissue that helps hold the teeth tightly against the jaw. The tooth is embedded in the bone with the help of the periodontal ligament. They are the structures that allow the tooth to move during the orthodontic movement. Thi structure is made up of reticular and elanin fibres.

Alveolar bone: This is the part of the bone that surrounds the tooth in the oral cavity. This part of the bone is responsible for the lodgment of the tooth.


Oral hygiene is very important to maintain the teeth in the oral cavity. Oral hygiene is described as the method with which all the teeth and their surfaces are cleaned so that the teeth are not attacked by the bacteria and hence, no degradation takes place.

There are various methods of maintaining the oral hygiene. And these can be-

Tooth brushing- Toothbrush with toothpaste is one of the oldest and most common methods with the surface of the tooth is cleaned. After eating the particles of the food firm a pellicle on the surface of the tooth. If this glycoprotein layer is not removed, then the calcification might take place and will lead to the formation of calculus. Therefore the toothbrush should be used twice daily so that the bacteria can be limited in the mouth.

Toothpaste act as a dentifrice and some toothpaste also has the fluoride content which helps in limiting the growth of the cavities. A toothbrush used should be soft with nylon bristles arranged in tufts. The tooth brushing method is also very important while cleaning and all the surfaces of the tooth must be cleaned in order to maintain proper hygiene.

The tongue should also be cleaned with the brush to remove the coating of food that might be present on the tongue. The back surface of the brush has an area for cleaning of the tongue.

Flossing- Floss is a thread like material which is used to clean the proximal surfaces of the tooth. The thread is passed on the spaces in between the tooth so that the food particles can be removed from the mouth and the bacteria will not be able to colonize.

Mouthwash- A mouthwash should be used daily after brushing your teeth. The mouthwash has the capability to decrease the buildup of bacteria even after you had your meal. They form a protective layer on the surface of the teeth which makes it resistant to erosion. This layer lasts for a few hours and hence, the mouthwash should be used twice daily. Chlorhexidine is one of the most common mouthwash that is used to decrease the incidence of caries.

Fluoride- Fluoride is one element that can be used to strengthen the tooth to make it resistant to caries Fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash and tables are available in the market for the children and the adults also.

All the dental problems can be prevented with a little care and effort. Visit your dentist regularly to keep a check on any problem you might have in the future.

Teeth Conditions

  • Cavities (Dental caries): Once the food is lodged in the teeth the bacteria may evade the area. The most of caries occur in the molars and the premolars. The bacteria will colonize on the tooth and will lead to degradation of the tooth. The outer most layers and the dentin will be eroded and hence, the bacteria will reach the deeper parts of the tooth.
  • Periodontitis: The inflammation of the deeper structures of the teeth which is known as the periodontium is known as the periodontitis. Poor oral hygiene is the major reason for this disease. The bacteria will build up and will calcify around the teeth and hence, the calculus will be formed. Once the attachment is lost from around the teeth it will become lost in the oral cavity and thus will exfoliate.
  • Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums, around and between the crowns of the teeth. Is known as gingivitis. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis and when this condition progresses it causes periodontitist. Gingivitis leads to swollen gums which will pain and might bleed on brushing.
  • Plaque: It is a sticky, colorless film that is made of bacteria and their products. Plaque is formed quickly on the surface of the teeth after eating sugary food but can be easily brushed off with the help of a toothbrush. There are two types of plaque- Supragingival and the Subgingival plaque.
  • Tooth sensitivity: When the outer most covering Enamel is lost, one or more teeth will become sensitive to hot or cold, and will lead to sensitivity.

Oral Hygiene and General Health

Science has now revealed that there is coordination between the overall health and the oral hygiene. If the oral hygiene is poor then a patient can suffer from other systemic diseases as well.

Bacteria associated with the oral cavity can enter the bloodstream and can infect any other body part. There are a lot of bacteria which are found in the oral habitat and there are much more when pathology is present.

Heart disease-Bacteria from the mouth can also lead to a heart attack if they reach the heart. Endocarditis is one condition which is caused by poor oral health. Rheumatoid Arthritis is one disease which worsens the pain once there is periodontal involvement.

Lung disease- Conditions of lung-like COPD and pneumonia may worsen with the increase in the bacteria in the lungs.

Therefore, to keep your body healthy it is necessary to keep the oral hygiene good. Follow the steps given above to maintain the oral hygiene.