Human teeth are fascinating, don’t you think? They are the hardest human body part, and in fact, pieces of teeth often survive cremation. Like most mammals, we have baby teeth, or what biologists call deciduous teeth. Unlike our biological brethren however, ours don’t appear in the mouth at birth. The teeth are growing, but typically don’t appear in the mouth for six to twelve months.
All About Baby Teeth
Sometimes baby teeth are also called milk teeth, because of their eruption during a time when baby is still nursing. Kids have 20 milk teeth, arranged symmetrically both top and bottom, left and right, and include:
- cuspids (eyeteeth)
- central incisors
- lateral incisors
- first molars
- second molars
The incisors are usually the first to appear, followed by the molars and eyeteeth. Although the precise order can vary, they usually appear in L/R pairs.
The deciduous teeth begin to fall out during elementary school, resulting in many enjoyable visits from the Tooth Fairy. First to go are the central incisors at the age of six or seven, and the second molars and canines may stick around until they are twelve years old or more.
All About Adult Teeth
Although there are only 20 baby teeth, there are 32 permanent adult teeth. This makes sense, because an adult’s jaw is larger, so there is more room for the teeth to fill. Adult teeth are also symmetrical top and bottom, right and left.
So in addition to the 5 types of baby teeth, which will be replaced with permanent versions by the time your child reaches late adolescence, there are a few others:
- first bicuspids
- second bicuspids, and,
- third molars.
Bicuspids are sometimes called “premolars, and the third molars are more commonly known as “wisdom teeth. Once they grow in, with proper care and regular cleanings, your child will have these teeth his whole life.
Now, a few more interesting facts about teeth:
As humans evolved as omnivores, our teeth evolved too — for different tasks. (1) The central incisors and lateral incisors come to a sharp edge, which makes them ideal for biting and cutting. Canine (eyeteeth) help with that as well, but they are primarily suited for tearing things like meat. (2) The bicuspids and molars have relatively flat surfaces with hard ridges, which makes them ideal for crushing and grinding items like grains and seeds. With these chompers, we can eat just about anything! The best way to give thanks to our teeth is to keep them healthy and clean, even and especially during childhood.