Most of us take our teeth for granted. It is therefore not surprising that most of us do not put too much thought into our pearly whites every day. The importance of our teeth, however, cannot be downplayed, since they are essential for chewing, digesting food, speech and smiling.
So, how much do you really know about your teeth? This article will explore the different types of teeth, as well as their functions.
Before delving any further, it is important to note that the development of teeth in humans occurs in two stages. The first stage is the growth of primary or baby teeth, which occurs between the ages two and six, while the second stage is the growth of permanent or adult teeth, which occurs between ages six and 20. Most adults have a total of 32 teeth.
Types of teeth and their functions
Incisors are located at the front of the mouth and make up the largest part of a person's smile. They are the first set of primary teeth to emerge at around six months. They have narrow edges that make them perfect for biting, tugging and pulling food. They also play an important role when it comes to speech.
Canines are perhaps the closest link between the human mouth and that of carnivores. They are the four sharp, pointed and longest teeth located at either side of the incisors. Canines are well adapted for tearing and ripping food apart, as well guiding the other teeth into the perfect biting position owing to their prime location in the mouth. They are also known as fangs or cuspids.
Premolars, or bicuspids, are the first set of molars that tend to first appear at around the ages of 10 to 13. Situated just next to the canines and in front of the molars, they have a rough surface that is well adapted for grinding and chewing food. Most adults have a total of four premolars in the mouth: two on the lower jaw and another set of two on the upper jaw.
Molars are the main teeth tasked with chewing, grinding and effectively breaking down food into small, easily consumable chunks. Primary, or deciduous, molars first begin to appear at around one to two years of age. Two permanent molars on each jaw come behind the premolars and usually start to appear around the age of six.
5. Third molars
Wisdom teeth are referred to as the third set of molars due to the fact that they are the third and last set of molars to appear in the mouth. While some people never develop wisdom teeth at all, most will have them emerging at around the ages of 18 to 20. Just like molars, they help chew and grind food down into small consumable particles.
Contact one of our dentists to learn more about the development of teeth.
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