The Jobs your Teeth Do
Your teeth do more than give you a pretty smile! They have an important role in your ability to eat, speak clearly, express your feelings and maintain health.
Eating: Our teeth cut, tear, and grind food into small pieces allowing digestive enzymes greater access. This makes it easier to digest and absorb nutrients thus assisting in maintaining good health.
Speaking: Your tongue and lips interact with your teeth to control airflow and allow you to make sounds. Teeth are especially involved in making the sounds of “t,” “f,” “v,” “s,” “z,” and “ch.”
Facial expressions are a large part of how we discern what a person is feeling. Our mouths and teeth help create smiles, frowns, leers, grins, scowls and grimaces; all signals regarding our emotions.
The specific job of each kind of tooth:
Your mouth contains several kinds of teeth, each a slightly different shape and each performing a different job.
- Incisors: Sometimes called the front teeth, your incisors are the 8 teeth at the front of your mouth, four on top and four on the bottom. These square shaped teeth make up most of your smile. Flat bottomed and sharp, they are suited for biting or cutting into your food. They have a scissor like action and only one root. You use your incisors when you sink your teeth into an apple! Incisors are the first teeth a baby grows and show up at approximately 6 months of age.
- Canines: Sometimes called eye teeth or fangs, your canines appear between 16 and 20 months of age. These four teeth are your sharpest and are shaped to grip and tear food. They also help guide your teeth into place when closing your jaw. Similar to a predatory animal’s teeth, canines are the longest teeth in your mouth and have the longest root.
- Molars: Your biggest and strongest teeth, the large surface of your molars makes them perfect for chewing and grinding. They are the last teeth to break down your food before you swallow. Your molars begin to appear between 12 and 28 months of age and are replaced by premolars (bicuspids) when your adult teeth arrive.
- Bicuspids: Sometimes called premolars, bicuspids are located between the canines and molars and appear around the age of ten. Baby molar teeth are replaced by adult bicuspids. These teeth are larger than canines and incisors and have flat biting surfaces perfect for crushing, chewing and grinding.
- Wisdom teeth: Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop and usually arrive between 18 and 20 years of age. Some people never develop wisdom teeth and others need them removed as they can cause overcrowding. If wisdom teeth are impacted (don’t fully emerge) they require removal.
Every time we talk, eat or use our mouth to express our emotions our teeth are doing their jobs! Your job is to look after your teeth by brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods and visiting your dentist regularly. If you have any dental concerns or want help keeping your mouth and teeth healthy, call Centennial Smiles at (587) 317-7959.