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Human Tooth Structure


Human Tooth Structure for Kids

This lesson teaches you all what you should know about your teeth, such as the types of teeth, number of teeth, functions of teeth and the human tooth structure for kids.

Unlike some of your body’s organs, such as brain, heart and lungs, your teeth were not prepared to function from the day you were born.

Structure of teeth for kids

An Artificial set of Teeth

 

Although, the teeth develop before a baby is born, they are not visible even after the birth, until a baby is about 6 to 12 months old. Then the first tooth breaks through, and gradually more teeth begin to appear later.

 

You will naturally, get two sets of teeth in your life.

 

  • Primary teeth (Baby teeth / First teeth / Deciduous teeth / Milk teeth / Temporary teeth)
  • Permanent teeth

 

In each set of teeth there are four main types of teeth. These tooth types are; incisors, canines, premolars and molars.

 

Primary teeth

(Baby teeth / First teeth / Deciduous teeth / Milk teeth / Temporary teeth)

 

Most kids have their first set of teeth by the time they are 3 years old. These are called primary teeth, and also known as baby teeth, first teeth, deciduous teeth, milk teeth or temporary teeth. There are 20 primary teeth in all.

 

At between six and ten months of age, most infants begin to sprout their primary teeth. But this varies depending on the child’s development. If the baby is an early developer, it may sprout the first tooth as early as 3 months. If the baby is a late bloomer, it may take a year or so to sprout the first tooth. By the time a child has reached three years old, most of the primary teeth should be present. When the child gets to age 5 or 6, primary teeth start falling out, one by one. So now, the Tooth Fairy time begins.

Tooth falling out - Tooth Fairy Time When the child gets to age 5 or 6, primary teeth start falling out, one by one.

 

Why are primary teeth important?

 

  • Primary teeth hold the place for permanent teeth and help guide them into correct position.
  • Primary teeth play an important role in the development of speech and chewing.

 

Tooth Structure for kids - An Artificial set of Primary Teeth An Artificial set of Primary Teeth

 

Human Baby Teeth Chart - Types of Baby TeethHuman Baby Teeth Chart – Types of Baby Teeth

 

Primary Teeth Eruption at different ages

The lower central incisors (lower front middle teeth) usually come in first, and then teeth begin appearing on either side and work their way back to the second molars. The process begins to repeat itself when the child is about five to six years old.

 

Tooth Structure for Kids - Baby Teeth Eruption Chart - Primary Teeth Eruption ChartPrimary Teeth Eruption at Different Stages

 

Number of Teeth Chart - Number of Baby TeethNumber of Teeth Chart – Number of Baby Teeth

 

Permanent Teeth

Not only the set of primary teeth, but also the set of permanent teeth develop even before a child is born. Inside the gums, the set of permanent teeth is layered underneath the set of primary teeth on both upper and lower jaws. When the right time comes, a primary tooth falls out because it is being pushed out of the way by the permanent tooth that is behind it. Slowly, the permanent teeth grow in and take the place of the primary teeth.

 

There are 28 permanent teeth in all. This is eight more than the original set of baby teeth. Between the ages of 17 and 21, four more teeth called wisdom teeth usually grow in at the back of the mouth. They complete the adult set of 32 teeth.

 

Tooth Structure for Kids - An Artificial set of Permanent Teeth An Artificial set of Permanent Teeth

 

Human Adult Teeth Chart - Types of Adult TeethHuman Adult Teeth Chart – Types of Adult Teeth

 

Permanent Teeth Eruption at different ages

The central incisors fall out first and are replaced by permanent teeth. At the age of 6, the first permanent molar comes out behind the baby teeth. And at the age of about 12, the second permanent molar comes out as well. Both teeth do not require the fall out of baby teeth. By about age 12 or 13, most kids have lost all of their baby teeth and have a full set of permanent teeth.

 

Tooth Structure for kids - Permanent Teeth Eruption at Different StagesPermanent Teeth Eruption at Different Stages

 

Number of Teeth Chart - Number of Adult TeethNumber of Adult Teeth Chart

 

Types of teeth

 

What are the types of teeth?

As we learned above, there are four main types of teeth.

 

  • Incisor
  • Canine (Cuspid)
  • Premolar (Bicuspid)
  • Molar

 

Tooth Structure for Kids - Types of Teeth Chart Types of Teeth Chart

 

Functions of teeth

 

What are the functions of teeth?

Your teeth look different from one another because they are designed to do different things.

 

Types of Teeth Functions
Incisors Cut food like a knife
Canines Grip and tear food
Premolars Crush and grind food up
Molars Crush and grind food up, help to swallow food

 

Incisors

The teeth in the very front are the incisors

.

No.of incisors: Eight in all. Upper jaw: 4 incisors Lower jaw: 4 incisors

Shape of the incisors: Sharp and shaped like tiny chisels with sharp flat ends

Function of the incisors: Cutting and chopping food

Tooth Structure for Kids - IncisorsThe Tooth Incisor

 

Canines

The pointy teeth beside your incisors are the canines. The canines have very long roots as they are meant for grasping and tearing food.
 
No.of canines: Four altogether. Upper jaw: 2 canines Lower jaw: 2 canines

Shape of the canines: Pointy and sharp

Function of the canines: Grasping and tearing food

Tooth Structure for Kids - CaninesThe Tooth Canine

 

Premolars

You can see the premolars just behind the canine teeth, but in front of the molars. Locating in front of the molars is the reason for these teeth to be called as premolars. These are also called bicuspid teeth.

 

No.of premolars: Eight in all. Upper jaw: 4 premolars Lower jaw: 4 premolars

Shape of the premolars: Bigger, stronger, have ridges and a flatter chewing surface

Function of the premolars: Crushing and grinding food

Tooth Structure for Kids - PremolarsThe Tooth Premolar

 

Molars

The last teeth towards the back of your mouth are the molars. You have to open your mouth really wide, if you want to see them. According to the time they come in, molars are sometimes called 6-year molars and 12-year molars. Molars are the toughest of all types of teeth.

 

No.of molars: Eight altogether. Upper jaw: 4 molars Lower jaw: 4 molars

Shape of the molars: Wider and stronger than premolars, and have more ridges

Function of the molars: Crushing and grinding food, Working closely with the tongue to help you swallow food.

Tooth Structure for Kids - MolarsThe Tooth Molar

 

Wisdom Teeth

The last teeth a person gets are the wisdom teeth. These are also known as third molars. They are all the way at the back of the mouth, one in each corner. Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25.

 

Most adults have four wisdom teeth. However, some people have more than four wisdom teeth. We call these extra wisdom teeth, supernumerary teeth.

 

Sometimes, wisdom teeth can affect other teeth as they develop, becoming impacted or coming in sideways. In such case, they are often extracted.

 

Tooth Structure for Kids - Wisdom Tooth The wisdom Tooth

 

Why are they called wisdom teeth?

It’s believed that they’re called wisdom teeth because they come in later in life, when a young person is older and wiser.

 

Tooth structure for Kids

 

Structure of the tooth

A tooth is basically made up of three parts.

 

  • The crown
  • The root
  • The neck

 

The crown

he crown is the part which you can see when you smile or open your mouth. This is located above the gumline.

The root

This is the part of the tooth which you cannot see. It is located below the gumline and makes up about 2/3 of the tooth’s total length.

The neck

The neck of a tooth is the part between the crown and the root.

 

Tooth Structure for Kids - The Crown, Neck, and the root of a tooth The Three Main Parts of a Tooth

 

The crown and the root of a tooth consists of four different tissues. They are;

 

  • Enamel
  • Dentin
  • The pulp
  • Cementum

 

Tooth Structure for Kids - Cross Section of the tooth showing the Structure of the Tooth Cross Section of the tooth showing the Structure of the Tooth

 

Enamel

If someone ask you, ‘what is the hardest thing in your body’, what would be your answer?

 

Believe it or not, it is a type of tissue that covers each of your teeth. We call this the enamel.

 

Enamel is the white covering of the tooth. It is a very tough and durable substance containing mineral salts, like calcium. It acts as a tooth’s personal bodyguard and protects the tooth from everyday wear and tear of chewing. Enamel also protects the inside parts of the tooth, working as a barrier.

 

Dentine

Dentine is a yellow bone-like material. It is softer than the enamel, but also very hard. Dentine consists of tubules (small tubes) with fluid inside, which help to transmit senses to the nerve. Dentine supports the enamel of the teeth and protects the innermost part of the tooth, called the pulp.

 

Pulp

Pulp is a soft tissue which is in the centre of the tooth. It consists of the tooth’s nerve endings and blood vessels. So, pulp helps to transmit signals to your brain and give nourishment to keep the tooth alive and healthy.

 

How do you know that your teeth have nerves?

Have you ever felt a pain in any of your teeth when having hot soup, or a cool ice-cream?

 

If you have a tooth which is hurting or a tooth with a cavity, you might have felt a pain in this tooth when having a bowl of hot soup, or a cool ice-cream. This indicates that your teeth have nerves, because to feel a pain you definitely need nerves to send the signals about the pain to the brain. In this case, it is the pulp of the tooth which actually hurts, because it is the part of the tooth which carries nerve endings. The nerve endings inside the pulp send messages to the brain about what’s going on. “Oh!!! The soup is too hot…. 🍵😧😧😧🍵!!!”

 

Cementum

Cementum covers most of the root of the tooth which is fixed to the jawbone. It helps to attach the tooth to the bones in your jaw. Between the cementum and the jawbone there is a cushioning layer to help connect them and acts as a cushion to absorb pressure. This is called the Periodontal Ligament.

 

The gumline

Gumline connects the tooth with the gum. Your gumline needs to have a great care as it collects plaque and tartar quickly if you do not brush or floss your teeth properly. This may cause gum disease.

Tooth Structure for Kids - The GumlineThe Gumline

 

Plaque and Tartar

 

What are plaque and tartar?

Plaque is a soft and sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. It is formed on your teeth if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay, gum disease and cavities in teeth.

 

Formation of plaque

Your mouth is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Usually, bacteria exist in your mouth. Tiny colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. This is completely normal as long as the bacteria are harmless. There are even helpful bacteria in your mouth.

 

However, without proper caring of your teeth these bacteria will turn out to be harmful. Bacteria can attach to the enamel of your teeth. If they are not removed regularly, they multiply and grow in number and form a colony. More and more bacteria can attach to the colony already growing on the enamel. Proteins in your saliva (or spit) also mix in, making the colony of bacteria a whitish film on the tooth. This film is what we call plaque.

 

Formation of tartar

Tartar is hardened plaque which has got collected on your teeth due to poor oral hygiene. Unlike plaque, tartar is easily visible. It is hard to remove tartar by brushing or flossing, so that you may need to see your dentist if you want to remove tartar.

 

Plaque and Tartar on Teeth Plaque and Tartar on Teeth

 

Process of tooth decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in the world. However, it is non-contagious. Following are three simple steps to understand how tooth decay occurs.

 

Step 1: Bacteria in your mouth produce acid from food accumulated as plaque on tooth surface.

 

Tooth Decay Process - 1st Step of the Process of Tooth Decay 1st Step of the Process of Tooth Decay

 

Step 2: This acid demineralises and weakens tooth surface.

 

Tooth Decay Process - 2nd Step of the Process of Tooth Decay 2nd Step of the Process of Tooth Decay

 

Step 3: In about 30 to 45 minutes, acid will be neutralized by saliva. Minerals in saliva will be absorbed into the tooth to remineralize it.

 

Tooth Decay Process - 3rd Step of the Process of Tooth Decay 3rd Step of the Process of Tooth Decay

 

What is demineralisation?

Demineralisation is the loss of important calcium in your teeth.

 

Why is sugar bad for teeth?

Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque use sugar as a form of energy. They multiply faster and the plaque grows in size and thickness. Some of the bacteria turn the sugar into a kind of glue in order to stick themselves to the tooth surface, making it harder for the bacteria to get washed away with your saliva.

 

How bad sugar is for your teeth - Why is sugar bad for teeth? Why is sugar bad for teeth?

 

How is a tooth cavity formed?

Plaque produces acid as it eats up sugar. This acid cannot be easily washed away by your saliva. Mineral salts, like calcium in the enamel can easily be attacked and broken down by acids. In fact, this acid dissolves the minerals that make your tooth enamel hard. The surface of the enamel becomes porous, which means tiny holes appear. After a while, the acid causes the tiny holes in the enamel to get bigger until one large hole appears. This is a cavity.

 

Nerve fibres, which sends signals about the pain through the body, don’t exist in the tooth enamel. This is why, while the acid is attacking the enamel, you cannot feel a thing. The dentine is under the enamel. Once the acid eats into the dentine through the cavity, the nerve fibres begin to send out a message that something is going wrong. This message is about the pain which has occurred due to tooth decay.

 

How is tooth cavity formed? What is tooth cavity? Tooth Cavity

 

Preventing tooth decay Preventing tooth decay - How to prevent tooth decay

 

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural element which helps prevent tooth decay. It works with saliva to protect tooth enamel from plaque and sugars. People who naturally have more fluoride in their drinking water have fewer cavities. Some communities put more fluoride in their water supplies to protect people against tooth decay. Fluoride mixes with tooth enamel when teeth are growing. But it can help prevent tooth decay even after your teeth are formed.

 

If your drinking water does not contain enough fluoride in it, you can have enough fluoride by using toothpaste containing fluoride, a mouthwash that has fluoride in it or having supplements like vitamins containing fluoride.

 

How to prevent tooth decay? Preventing Tooth Decay - Toothpaste containing Fluoride Preventing Tooth Decay – Toothpaste containing Fluoride

 

What’s that awful smell?

 

Halitosis (Bad Breath)

If you don’t brush or floss your teeth properly, it may lead to halitosis, which means an offensive breath. Halitosis is generally known as bad breath.
Following are three common causes of bad breath:

 

  • Food and drinks that we have – Food particles left in your mouth can rot and collect bacteria, starting to be smelly.
  • Poor oral hygiene – If you don’t brush or floss your teeth regularly, a sticky, colourless film, called plaque builds up on your teeth. Plaque is an ideal place for bacteria to live and grow, leading to bad breath.
  • Smoking and chewing smokeless tobacco – Smoking and chewing smokeless tobacco are the major causes of oral cancer. About one-fifth of the content of smokeless tobacco is sugar, and this causes a much greater risk of developing cavities. Smoking and chewing smokeless tobacco facilitate plaque and tartar accumulation.

 

Taking care of your teeth Taking care of teeth

 

Following is a list of tips to take care of your teeth

 

Dos

  • Brush your teeth regularly, at least twice a day (every morning and before bedtime) for 2-3 minutes each time, using a good toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride
  •  

    List of tips to take care of your teeth - Brush your teeth regularly twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride Brush your teeth regularly twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride

     

  • Also, remember to brush your tongue well, because bacteria can grow there too.
  •  

    List of tips to take care of your teeth - Also, brush your tongue well, when brushing your teeth Also, brush your tongue well, when brushing your teeth

     

  • Not only brushing, but also flossing once a day, helps to remove food debris in between your teeth and prevent plaque buildups.
  •  

    List of tips to take care of your teeth - Flossing - Dental Floss Dental Floss

     

    List of ways to take care of teeth - Flossing - Dental Floss Dental Floss

     

  • Always keep a separate toothbrush for you and make sure to clean it well after each brushing session.
  •  

    List of tips to take care of your teeth - Always keep a separate toothbrush for you Always keep a separate toothbrush for you

     

  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings is also, not a bad idea in order to know about your dental health.
  •  

    List of ways to take care of teeth - Visiting the dentist for regular checkups Visiting the dentist for regular checkups

     

  • It is better if you can rinse your mouth after every meal. Rinsing your mouth after eating or drinking something sweet is so much the better as sugar particles in your mouth accelerate the process of decaying your teeth.
  •  

  • If you are a fan of fairly hard food like, corn, apples, celery, nuts, coconuts, carrots etc., by eating such food you give enough exercise for your teeth.
  •  

    List of ways to take care of teeth - Eat fairly hard food like, corn, apples, celery, nuts, coconuts, carrots etc. Eat fairly hard food like, corn, apples, celery, nuts, coconuts, carrots etc.

     

  • Through a healthy balanced diet with calcium containing food like milk, fish, meat, fruit, you can keep your teeth strong and healthy.
  •  

    List of ways to take care of teeth - Have a healthy balanced diet Have a healthy balanced diet

    Don’ts

    • Other than using toothpicks, picking your teeth with sharp things such as pins or needles, is a very bad habit.
    • Eating and drinking too much sweets is bad in every respect.
    •  

      Bad food habits - Too much sweets is bad for your teeth Too much sweets is bad for your teeth

       

      • Using your teeth to open things like bottle lids, is also not advisable.
      • Using another person’s toothbrush to brush your teeth is not alright at all.
      • Putting dirty things or fingers in your mouth is not just bad for your teeth, but also for your entire body’s health.

       

      So, keep up with all the do’s of taking care of your teeth for a strong and healthy set of teeth and odour free breath!

       

      What is flossing?

      Cleaning your teeth with dental floss is called flossing. Dental floss is a piece of waxy string made of nylon that comes on a spool.

       

      Advantages of flossing:

       

      • Removing the food particles that your brush cannot reach
      • Removing plaque stuck in between teeth
      • Removing hard plaque on teeth

       

      Flossing - Dental Floss Flossing

       

      Eating healthy for healthy teeth

       

      Food bad for teeth

       

      Following is a list of food bad for the your teeth.

       

      • Doughnuts
      • Cookies
      • Cakes
      • Ice-cream
      • Fruit canned in syrup
      • Flavoured milk (Chocolate milk, strawberry milk)
      • Milkshakes
      • Flavoured coffee
      • Fizzy drinks like coke
      • Sports drinks
      • Any type of Candy
      • Flavoured cereal
      • Nougats
      • Fruit juice
      • Starchy food

       

      Bad food habits - Food bad for your teeth Food bad for your teeth

       

      These are only a few types of food which is bad for your teeth, if you eat too much of them without proper caring.

       

      Eating food containing calcium is very good to keep your teeth healthy. Dairy products are good source of calcium and an essential nutrient for the development of bones and teeth.

       

      Food for healthy teeth and gums

       

      • Milk – Enriched with calcium, milk helps teeth grow stronger and less prone to fracture or damage.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Milk is good for your teeth Food good for teeth – Milk

       

      • Cheese – Eating cheese helps to protect your teeth from cavities by preventing demineralisation.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Cheese is good for your teeth Food good for teeth – Cheese

       

      • Apples – Contain lots of water and, this helps to regulate oral acidity so that bacteria won’t sustain on your teeth.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Apples are good for your teeth Food good for teeth – Apples

       

      • Berries – Contain lots of vitamin C which helps to control bacteria and is important for the health of gum tissue.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Berries are good for your teeth Food good for teeth – Berries

       

      • Carrots – Rich in vitamin A that strengthens the enamel, which is the outer covering of your teeth.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Carrots are good for your teeth Food good for teeth – Carrots

       

      • Celery – Eating celery requires extra chewing that helps massaging gums and cleans between teeth so to keep them healthy and clean.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Celery is good for your teeth Food good for teeth – Celery

       

      • Eggs – Contain phosphorus and combining with calcium and vitamin D to create our bones system. These elements keep teeth stronger and healthier by protecting them from teeth decay.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Eggs are good for your teeth Food good for teeth Eggs

       

      • Pumpkin seeds – A very good source of beta-carotene, Omega 3, minerals like magnesium and manganese, zinc and copper. The oil in the seeds also helps to strengthen enamel on teeth.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Eggs are good for your teeth Food good for teeth Eggs

       

      • Nuts – Rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphate, which are important nutrients for dental health. Nuts good for teeth are cashews, peanuts, almonds and walnuts.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Eggs are good for your teeth Food good for teeth Eggs

       

      • Green Tea – Contain fluoride which helps protect tooth enamel from decay and promotes healthy teeth.

       

      List of food good for your teeth - Eggs are good for your teeth Food good for teeth Eggs

       

      As you know by now, saliva helps to wash food particles from your mouth and lessen the damage from acid. Eating a snack during a meal, usually has less threat to teeth because of the additional saliva produced during the mealtime eating. But you should be wise enough to choose the snack, which doesn’t contain too much sugar.

       

      Hope you’ve learned a great deal about your teeth with this lesson ‘human tooth structure for kids’.