Types of Human Teeth and their functions - Learning concepts
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Human Teeth

Concept: Types and Functions of Human Teeth

There are five different types of teeth. Each of them has a specific location and function.

Types of teeth:

  • Incisors: The front teeth of our mouth are called incisors. We have a total of eight incisors in the mouth.
  • Canines: Total of four canines are present in the mouth. They are situated next to the lateral incisors—two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw.
  • Premolars: Total of eight premolars are present in the mouth, two pairs in the lower jaw and two pairs in the upper jaw. Premolars are located right behind the canines. They are also termed the first and second premolars from the front to the back.
  • Molars: Molars are the posterior-most teeth in our mouth. There are twelve molar teeth—six in the upper jaw and six in the lower jaw. Molars are located next to the second premolars. They are also termed the first, second and third molars from the front to the back.

  • Wisdom teeth: All four third molars do not develop properly in many people. They are known as wisdom teeth.

Arrangement of teeth inside the oral cavity:

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Functions of four types of teeth:

Types of Teeth Functions
Incisors All incisors possess a single root, and they have a sharp edge for biting. Incisors help in biting and cutting food.
Canines All the canines have one cusp and one root. Their basic function is to tear flesh.
Premolars Premolars have 3-4 cusps. The upper first premolars have double roots, but the rest of the premolars have a single root. Their function is to crush food.
Molars Molars have 4-5 cusps. All molars in the upper jaw have three roots, and all molars in the lower jaw have two roots. The basic function of molar teeth is grinding food and making a paste of it. They help in chewing.

New Words

Cusp: A prominent curve on the surface of a tooth.

Posterior: Further back, near the end.

Lateral: Located on one side or other of the body or an organ.

Did You Know?

  • Canines have the longest root of all the different types of teeth.
  • As human beings have five different types of teeth, they are called heterodonts.
  • Wisdom teeth are so named because they are the last ones to appear, and it is assumed that people get wise by that time.
  • The blue whale is considered the largest mammal on earth, but surprisingly, it does not have teeth. So, it just eats tiny shrimps.



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