How Many Teeth Do We Have?

mother and daughter outdoors smiling

Have you ever wondered how many teeth you have? Well, the answer depends on a few factors; the first is your age. If you are a child, it is different to being an adult because you have a different set of teeth. So, let's start with children — how many teeth do they have?

Baby Teeth

According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), children begin teething at about four to ten months of age. The technical term for these baby teeth is primary (deciduous) teeth, which the ADA says begin to erupt at six months, and all primary teeth are in the mouth by 3 years old.

Children will have 20 baby teeth — 10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw. These teeth act as placeholders for the adult teeth that grow in shortly after the baby teeth fall out. Keep in mind that just because these teeth are destined to fall out doesn't mean that it isn't important to take care of the baby teeth and keep them clean and healthy. Begin developing healthy nutritional and tooth-brushing habits shortly after your child begins teething. According to the Victoria State Government Better Health Channel, most children begin to lose their baby teeth between the ages of six and seven, which are then replaced with their adult teeth. This process will continue into their teens.

Adult Teeth

The Victoria State Government Better Health Channel states that the permanent teeth start to develop in the jaws at birth and continue after a child is born, completing their eruption by about 21 years. A total of 32 teeth will erupt in the mouth for the permanent teeth. These teeth include: 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 12 molars (including 4 wisdom teeth). There are 16 in the upper jaw and 16 in the lower jaw if you have all 32 teeth. It is common for adults to have their wisdom teeth removed because there is not always enough room for them to erupt comfortably and into normal function.

So, how many teeth do we have? Typically, children have 20 and adults have 32 (28 if the wisdom teeth are removed). And each one of them needs your best care to keep them plaque- and decay-free. See your dental professional for regular dental check-ups and cleaning and to assess your dental care needs. Learn more about taking care of your teeth here in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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MOUTH & TEETH ANATOMY

Overview

While the mouth is a small part of our overall anatomy, it is filled with many parts and players, all of which work together to help you eat, drink, speak and have a radiant smile. Here’s a quick overview of what’s at play in the average mouth:

Incisors

The sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower) used for cutting food.

Canines

Sometimes called eye teeth, these teeth are shaped like points and are used for tearing and grasping food.

Premolars

These teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes referred to as bicuspids. The premolars are for crushing and tearing food.

Molars

Used for grinding and chewing food, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface to help in this process.

Crown

This is the top part of the tooth, and the only part you can normally see. The shape of the crown determines the tooth's function. For example, front teeth are sharp and chisel-shaped for cutting, while molars have flat surfaces for grinding and chewing.

Gum line

It is the location where the tooth and the gums meet. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque can build up at the gum line, leading to gingivitis and gum disease.

Root

It is two-thirds of the tooth that is embedded in bone and serves as an anchor to hold the tooth in place.

Enamel

Enamel is the outer and hardest part of the tooth that has the most mineralised tissue in the body. It can be damaged by decay if teeth are not cared for properly.

Dentine

The layer of the tooth under the enamel. If decay makes it through the enamel, it next attacks the dentine — where millions of tiny tubes lead directly to the dental pulp.

Pulp

The soft tissue found in the centre of all teeth, where the nerve tissue and blood vessels are located. If tooth decay reaches the pulp, you usually feel pain and may require a root canal procedure to be done.

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