Human teeth are designed to break down the food by cutting, biting and crushing so that they can be mixed with saliva and swallowed for digestion. There are four types of teeth in humans, namely, incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Each of these groups of teeth have specific function in chewing and swallowing.
Parts of a human teeth:
Types of teeth:
The four teeth, each in upper and lower jaw, that are on the front, are called incisors. They help in cutting the food. They have a single root and a sharp incisal edge.
The two canines, each on the upper and lower jaw, lie on both the sides of incisors. They have a sharp tip to tear food. They have a single root, which is the longest among all other teeth. They give shape to the corners of the mouth.
They are also known as bicuspids and are located behind and adjacent to the canines. There are two premolars on each side, both upper and lower jaw, making the total count as eight. The premolars have 3 mounds or cusps in each tooth. The first premolars on either side on the upper jaw have two roots each and all other premolars have single roots.
The last teeth on either side on the upper and lower jaws are called molars. They have flatter surfaces so that grinding of food is possible. Molars in the lower jaw have 2 roots and those in the upper jaw usually have 3 roots. There are 3 molars on each side in the upper and on the lower jaws, making them a total of 12, if all of them grow fully. Sometimes the last molars may not grow out of the gums. The last molars are also called wisdom teeth.
Primary and Permanent teeth:
Primary teeth start growing when the child is about 6 months of age. Primary teeth when fully grown are ten in the upper and ten on the lower jaw. The premolars grow only after these fall off and permanent teeth grow. Teeth start falling off at the age of about 5-8 years and are fully grown by the age of about 12 years.
Oral hygiene is important not only for healthy teeth, but also overall health of the individual. Prevention of dental caries, diseases of the teeth and gums, bad breath, etc can be achieved by regular visits to the dentist for cleaning plaques that accumulate and are out of reach for a tooth brush.