PDF: Oral health and disease


A healthy dentition and mouth is important to both quality of life and nutrition, and oral disease may affect systemic health, as discussed in later articles in this series.



Teeth form mainly from neuroectoderm and comprise a crown of insensitive enamel surrounding sensitive dentine and a root that has no enamel covering. 


Teeth contain a vital pulp (nerve) and are supported by the periodontal ligament, through which roots are attached into sockets in the alveolar bone of the jaws (maxilla and mandible). 

The fibres of the periodontal ligament attach through cementum to the dentine surface. The alveolus is covered by the gingivae, or gums, which, when healthy, are pink, stippled, and tightly bound down and form a close fitting cuff with a small sulcus (gingival crevice) round the neck (cervical margin) of each tooth.

Ruth Holt, Graham Roberts, Crispian Scully
ABC of oral health - 2005