How Does Cementum Affect Oral Health?

Cementum is the tissue that is found along the teeth’s roots that connects with collagen fibers to safely keep teeth attached to the jawbone. When this tissue is compromised, tooth sensitivity may arise. Before visiting your dentist, consult the guide below to learn more about how cementum can affect oral health so you can bring up the issue with the dental team if you experience sensitivity. 

 

A Guide on Cementum

Different Types 

Dentists put cementum into two categories: acellular and cellular. The acellular version is used to securely position teeth in gums. This type of cementum only has extrinsic fibers, which are embedded fibers that run perpendicular to the surface of a tooth’s root and attach to the alveolar bone in the jaw. Cellular cementum contains collagen fibers and is found at the bottom half of a tooth’s roots. This type has both extrinsic and intrinsic fibers. The latter are fibers that provide additional anchored support in the jawbone. 

 

Effects on Oral Health

If cementum starts to deteriorate or disappear, teeth sensitivity can occur. Individuals may experience frequent discomfort drinking or eating cold items. The culprit is typically dentin that is exposed due to cementum loss. 

Dentists have also connected gum disease to compromised cementum. The fibers that are supposed to keep teeth in place will no longer provide support if cementum loss occurs. Gums can become exposed to unwanted bacteria and infections. In serious cases of gum disease, which is also known as periodontitis, cementum and bone loss can cause teeth to shift, loosen, or fall out. 

Another way cementum loss can affect oral health is how it impacts the cementoenamel junction (CEJ). This is a line around the tooth’s perimeter where tooth enamel meets the cementum. If the tooth enamel starts to wear, it can expose the dentin and roots. Tooth sensitivity, gum recession, and oral discomfort are common outcomes.

 

Protecting the Cementum

An excellent way to support cementum is by brushing and flossing daily. This helps keep bacteria and plaque from adhering to teeth, gums, and roots, which can wear away cementum fibers. Twice-a-year dentist appointments will also help identify any minor issues so that treatment can prevent cementum damage or loss. Other issues such as teeth grinding can be addressed and treated so that the enamel is protected from breakage, which can also cause cementum loss.