Anatomy,  Q&A

How Many Teeth Humans Have?

This article is a part of our Q&A series in which we give detailed answers to our readers' questions. Have a question? Don't hesitate and send it to us to get a detailed answer!

Teeth are an essential part of the human anatomy, playing a crucial role in speech, digestion, and appearance. Humans, like other mammals, are diphyodont, meaning they develop two sets of teeth over their lifetime. This guide will delve into the number and types of teeth humans have at various stages of life, as well as provide some insights into dental health.

Primary Teeth: The First Set

The first set of teeth that humans develop are known as primary, deciduous, or baby teeth. These teeth start to emerge at about six months of age and are temporary, eventually being replaced by permanent teeth.

Number of Primary Teeth

Humans have a total of 20 primary teeth. These are composed of the following:

  • 8 Incisors (4 upper and 4 lower)
  • 4 Canines, also known as cuspids (2 upper and 2 lower)
  • 8 Molars (4 upper and 4 lower)

Permanent Teeth: The Second Set

Permanent teeth, also known as adult or secondary teeth, replace the primary teeth. These teeth typically start to emerge at around the age of six and continue to develop into early adulthood.

Number of Permanent Teeth

Humans have a total of 32 permanent teeth. These are composed of the following:

  • 8 Incisors (4 upper and 4 lower)
  • 4 Canines (2 upper and 2 lower)
  • 8 Premolars, also known as bicuspids (4 upper and 4 lower)
  • 12 Molars (6 upper and 6 lower), including 4 third molars or wisdom teeth

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars that usually emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood (between ages 17 and 25). Not everyone has enough space in their mouth for wisdom teeth to emerge properly, which can cause impaction or misalignment. In such cases, it’s common to have wisdom teeth removed.

Importance of Dental Health

Maintaining good dental health is essential regardless of the stage of dental development.
Here are some tips for keeping teeth healthy:

  • Regular Brushing and Flossing: This is fundamental to prevent the build-up of plaque, which is the primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to a dentist are essential for maintaining oral health. A dentist can provide professional cleanings and check for signs of oral diseases that you might not notice on your own.
  • Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet with limited sugary snacks can help to protect your teeth.
  • Protection: Using mouthguards during sports or avoiding using teeth as tools can prevent injury and damage.

Bottom Line

Humans have two sets of teeth throughout their lives – 20 primary teeth that eventually get replaced by 32 permanent teeth. Good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and a healthy diet are key factors in maintaining dental health. For concerns or issues regarding teeth and oral health, consulting a dentist is always advisable.

This Q&A series article is complete and was published on July 20, 2023, and last updated on July 20, 2023.

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