How many teeth do we have and how do we take good care of them?

Teeth are essential. They help people talk, chew and swallow food. Adults usually have 32 teeth, four of which are wisdom teeth. A complete adult tooth consists of 16 lower teeth and 16 upper teeth. In this article, we explain the anatomy and function of teeth, the number of teeth in adults and children, how to maintain healthy teeth, and when to visit the dentist.

How many adult teeth?

The full set of adult teeth usually contain 32 molars, including four wisdom molars.

Each dental row includes:

Four incisors in the middle of the row at the front of the mouth
Two canines, one on each side of the incisors
A premolar and three molars in the back, five on each side.

However, not everyone has a third molar, or wisdom tooth, in the jawbone. If an adult has wisdom teeth, they tend to erupt around age 18. It may not appear at all. If a wisdom tooth does not erupt properly or becomes infected, the dentist may have to remove it.

dental anatomy

Teeth begin to grow in before birth, and children tend to have all of their deciduous teeth by age 3. Each tooth consists of a crown and a root.
The crown is the visible white part, and the root is the invisible part of the tooth that is hidden by the gums. The root fixes the tooth to the jawbone. Teeth are also made up of layers called enamel, dentin, cementum, and dental pulp.


Enamel covers the crown or outside of the tooth and protects it from physical and chemical injury. It develops in three stages:

secretory phase

Enamel cells, a type of cell found only in teeth, make enamel. Initially, these cells make proteins and enamel crystals. These proteins and crystals will eventually turn into enamel.

Transitional phase

During this stage, approximately 25% of ameloblastic cells die. Researchers think this may be because they have started to contain too much calcium. As a result, enamel cells produce fewer proteins.

maturity stage

During the maturation stage, enamel crystals develop, making the enamel hard and durable. The appearance of the menoplast cells also changes, turning into cells with jagged ends or with smooth ends.
These different shapes stop the movement of small particles in the enamel which helps protect the dental crown.


The dentin is the main part of dental tissue. Dentin has a structure similar to that of bone. The odontoblasts are odontoblasts that are similar to the osteoblasts of bone. Unlike bone, dentin does not contain blood vessels.


The cementum is the tissue that covers the surfaces of the root. There are different types of cement. Acellular fibrous cementum covers 60-90% of single-rooted teeth and 33-50% of multi-rooted teeth. Other types of slurry, such as mixed stratified cell slurry (CMSC), cover other parts of the roots. The CMSC covers about 66% of the roots of the molars. The main function of cementum is to support and repair the teeth in the jaw bones.

dental pulp

The center of the tooth contains the dental pulp, which is made up of soft tissues that include nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. If bacteria manage to penetrate the enamel and dentin, the pulp will ignite in an attempt to protect the tooth. Pulpitis can cause pulpitis, which can be very painful. Dental pulp attacks bacteria through antibacterial, immune, and inflammatory responses. This can cause the body to reject and fight bacterial infections. However, if this does not happen, the pulp of the tooth may remain inflamed. This leads to the death of part of the pulp and can cause a root canal infection.

What is the function of each type of tooth?

Although teeth help people to speak, their main function is chewing. Teeth cut food and grind it into small pieces, making it easier for humans to swallow and digest. However, different types of teeth have different functions.

There are four types of teeth:


The incisors are what some call the “front teeth.” Adults usually have eight, four in the top row and four in the bottom row.
The incisors cut the food into small pieces, then the teeth and tongue move to the back of the mouth.


The fangs are slightly more pointed teeth than the others. In addition to chopping and shredding food, these teeth ensure that the upper and lower rows of teeth do not collide.
The shape of the canines allows them to orient the rows of teeth so that they glide smoothly over each other as the jaw moves.


Most adults have eight premolars. These are the largest teeth that are found behind the canines. Humans have four along the upper gum line, four along the lower gum line, and two on each side. The primary function of the premolars is to start grinding food.


There are three types of molars:

first molars
second molars
Third molars, or wisdom teeth

Elles se situent à l’arrière de la bouche et la plupart des adults ont généralement huit molaires, avec une première et une deuxième molaire de chaque côté de la bouche. the mouth. Some people do not develop wisdom teeth. The function of the molars is to grind food into smaller pieces to help people swallow easily.
In contrast, wisdom teeth usually have no function. If adults had their wisdom teeth, they would have 12 molars.

How many baby teeth?

The first set of teeth, or deciduous teeth, begin to erupt at around 5 months of age, and babies usually have their first full set of teeth around 3 years old.

A full set of baby teeth consists of 20 teeth. Each row of 10 includes:

four incisors
two fangs
four molars
Milk teeth do not include premolars. When a child is around the age of six, his milk teeth begin to fall out and are replaced by adult teeth.

How do you take care of your teeth

To help maintain oral health, the best way to take care of your teeth is to brush and floss regularly.

How to brush your teeth properly:

Place the brush at a 45-degree angle so that it touches the gums and teeth
Pay special attention to the gums and molars
Brush your teeth for at least two minutes

When using dental floss

Use dental floss as long as a floss and wrap it around the fingers
Gently floss between the teeth until it meets the gums and move it up and down
Use a clean portion of dental floss for every tooth.

When people start flossing, they may notice bleeding gums. This phenomenon is uncommon and should stop when the gums become healthy after regular brushing and flossing. If bleeding continues, consult a dentist.

When do you see the dentist?

It is recommended to make regular appointments with the dentist. This will determine the frequency of the examinations depending on the person’s oral health.
A person should see a dentist if they develop unusual symptoms, such as ulcers, infection, inflammation, or bleeding.

Here are some oral health issues that require a dentist’s attention:

tooth decay
gum disease
Tooth loss

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In any case, the information provided cannot replace the advice of a health professional.

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