Teeth Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lindsy Frazer

Dr. Frazer has taught several college level Science courses and has a master's degree in Human Biology and a PhD in Library and Information Science.

Teeth are small but mighty tools of the digestive system. Find out how many teeth humans have, what your teeth are made of, the four different types you have in your mouth and what they are used for.

What Do Teeth Do?

If you touch your teeth with your tongue you will notice that they are not all alike. Some teeth feel pointy and sharp, some feel flat. These different kinds of teeth work together, like a set of tools, to perform the main function of teeth - chewing food. Since your teeth help break down the food you eat, they are part of your digestive system.

What are the Different Types of Teeth?

Humans have four different types of teeth. Just like each tool in a toolbox has a unique shape and function, each type of tooth has a different shape and job to do when you chew. The flat front teeth are called incisors. Incisors cut food into smaller pieces just like scissors cut paper. (Scissor and incisor even sound similar.)

Next to the incisors are the pointy and sharp canines. Canines tear food apart. Premolars are the larger, flatter teeth next to the canines. When you run your tongue over these teeth you feel ridges. These ridges make premolars great tools for grinding up the food we eat. Last but not least, the largest teeth way in the back of your mouth are molars. Since molars are big, flat and have sharp ridges, they are perfect for crushing and grinding up food.

We have four different types of teeth
Types of Human Teeth

How Many Teeth Do We Have?

Since teeth are such important tools, humans get two sets. Our first set of teeth start to grow when we are just 6 months old and are called primary teeth. These are the teeth that fall out as we grow. This first set contains 20 primary teeth. By the time you turn 13 years old all of your primary teeth will have fallen out, but not to worry, primary teeth are replaced by a second set of teeth called permanent teeth. Human adults have 32 permanent teeth, which is twelve more teeth than the first set of primary teeth.

What is a Tooth Made Of?

When you smile the part of your tooth that you can see is called the crown. The crowns of your teeth sit on top of your gums, just like a crown sits on top of a king's head. Since we use the crowns of our teeth every day to chew, they are made out of the toughest material in the human body - enamel. Enamel protects the parts of your teeth you can't see.

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