Dental Terms & Fun Facts

It can be easy to confuse all the dental terminology used to describe different things about the mouth. Here are 7 common dental terms explained, along with some fun dental facts.



Tooth enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth. Enamel is translucent (you can see light through it) and determines the brightness of your smile.



The main portion of the tooth that lies beneath the enamel is dentin. The color of your teeth is based on the color of your dentin.



Pulp is the center of the tooth, containing the nerves and blood vessels of each tooth. If your tooth gets infected or is damaged by decay, your pulp and nerves may need to be removed in order to save the tooth from complete loss. This process is called a root canal.


Root Canal

Most people cringe at the idea of a root canal. If you have a tooth that is severely decayed or infected, your dentist will perform a root canal. The dead or infected pulp and nerves will be removed, your tooth will be cleaned out, and the dentist will fill and seal your tooth to prevent further decay.



A sticky, clear substance called plaque is constantly being made in your mouth; it clings to your teeth, creating a film over them. This substance contains bacteria that feed on the foods you eat (specifically, on the sugar found in your food). The bacteria make acids that can lead to tooth decay without proper dental care.


Tooth Decay

Tooth decay refers to the damage occurring when bacteria in your mouth produce acids that break down enamel. The decay, if untreated, can break down all three layers of a tooth.



When the enamel of a tooth is broken down by acids, cavities can form. A cavity is a little hole that develops in your tooth due to continual tooth decay.



Remember to maintain a good dental routine; brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist every six months.


Keeping these dental terms in mind, here are some amazing dental facts:

  • Your tooth’s enamel is the hardest part of your body
  • The average person produces a quart of saliva daily
  • Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprints; no two people have the same set of teeth
  • ⅓ of your tooth is hidden underneath your gums
  • 78% of Americans have at least 1 cavity by age 17
  • More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque
  • Blue toothbrushes are sold more often than red toothbrushes
  • 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss
  • The Statue of Liberty’s mouth is 3 feet wide
  • In 1994, a West Virginia inmate escaped prison using braided dental floss
  • Paul Revere was a practicing dentist
  • If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of your tooth surfaces
  • 75% of Americans suffer from some stage of periodontal disease
  • A sneeze zooms out of the mouth at about 600 mph


For more information or to schedule a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas. We are dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with the best dental care.