46 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
What Makes Teeth Hurt?
A tooth will hurt if it is broken, loose, or if it has a cavity. Cavities are the
usual cause of toothaches.
Healthy teeth are alive.
Two thin strings enter each tooth. One, the nerve, comes from the brain
and carries the message of pain. The other is the blood vessel. It comes
from the heart and carries blood to the tooth.
If you could peel away
the gum and look inside
the bone, you would see
that a nerve and a blood
vessel go into each one
of a tooth’s roots.
They give the tooth life
The hard cover of the tooth protects the nerve and blood vessel inside it. But
when tooth decay eats through that cover, the nerve and blood vessel are
unprotected. A cavity lets food, water and air get closer to the nerve, and
that can make the tooth hurt.
The sugar in food makes tooth decay possible. Sweet food that is also sticky
is the worst of all because it glues itself to the teeth. Germs inside your
mouth use the sugar to grow and to work harder at making cavities.
See the next section for more discussion of how germs and sugar combine
to cause cavities.