If you’ve ever wondered about the strength of your teeth, you may be surprised at how well-built they actually are. While your teeth can be chipped or cracked, it usually takes a lot of force to cause damage. Your pearly whites are incredibly tough. Here’s a deeper look at how tough they are.
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness rates minerals on how scratch-resistant they are. Talc falls on one end of the scale with a hardness of 1. Diamonds are at the other end with a hardness of 10. Your teeth rate a 5 on the scale, placing it higher than gold, iron or steel.
Teeth are so tough thanks to the outer layer of the tooth, called the enamel, which is made mostly of calcium phosphate. The enamel provides a hard shell that protects the inner layers of the tooth, and also gives your teeth the durability to bite, chew and grind food. The entire visible part of the tooth above the gumline, called the crown, is encased by the extremely hard enamel, which is also the hardest substance in your entire body. Underneath the enamel is the dentin, another hard substance that, although it’s not as hard as enamel, encases and protects the innermost parts of your teeth, called the pulp. The dentin has about the same hardness as the bones in your body.
That being said, while your teeth are really tough, they can be damaged, especially if the enamel is worn down due to acid attacks. Tooth decay occurs when acids wear away the enamel, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria, and while teeth are tougher than steel before any decay occurs, they’re still not designed to be used as tools. Using your teeth for any other purpose besides biting and chewing can definitely lead to cracks and breaks.
While the human body is amazing, and your teeth are no exception, it’s still important to take great care of them. On top of daily oral care habits, it’s important to see your dentist regularly for checkups. If you’re due for one, give us a call today to make an appointment.