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Your Teeth From Birth to Adulthood

Baby Teeth


A child's mouth contains 20 temporary teeth, called primary teeth, baby teeth, or deciduous teeth, consisting of the following teeth types:

  • 4 second molars
  • 4 first molars
  • 4 cuspids (also called canine or eye teeth)
  • 4 lateral incisors
  • 4 central incisors

For each set of four teeth, two teeth are located in the upper arch (one on each side of the mouth) and two are located in the lower arch (one on each side of the mouth).

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To find out when primary teeth begin to appear, see the primary eruption illustration and the Teeth Eruption Charts.

Permanent Teeth

The adult mouth contains 32 permanent teeth, consisting of the following teeth types:

  • 4 third molars (also called wisdom teeth)
  • 4 second molars (also called 12-year molars)
  • 4 first molars (also called 6-year molars)
  • 4 second bicuspids (also called second premolars)
  • 4 first bicuspids (also called first premolars)
  • 4 cuspids (also called canine or eye teeth)
  • 4 lateral incisors
  • 4 central incisors

To find out when permanent teeth begin to appear, see the permanent eruption illustration and the Teeth Eruption Charts.

Teeth Functions

Your teeth are used for:

  • Biting and tearing. The central incisors and lateral incisors are primarily used for biting and cutting and canine teeth are primarily used for tearing food.
  • Grinding and crushing. The premolars, molars, and wisdom teeth are primarily used for chewing and grinding food.

Internal Structure of Teeth

Each tooth consists of three main parts - the crown, the neck and root.

  • The crown is the visible part of the tooth. A protective layer called enamel covers the crown.
  • The neck is the area of the tooth between the crown and the root.
  • The root is the portion of the tooth that extends through the gum and into the bone of the jaw.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Elverne M Tonn, DDS on May 14, 2012
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How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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