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Have You Ever Wondered Why We Number Our Teeth?

Have you ever wondered why we dental teeth numbers? It’s certainly not because they were numbered when we were born, that’s for sure! Let’s take a look at the history of numbering teeth to see why we do it today and where the system came from.

 

How many teeth do we have?

It’s easy to lose track, especially if you’re young and haven’t experienced a loss yet. In total, we have 32 teeth; there are 4 incisors (the small, pointy ones), 2 cuspids (the long ones in between our top and bottom row of teeth), 8 premolars (the four middle-sized teeth) and 12 molars (the four big teeth at the back). However, unlike many other animals, humans don’t replace all their teeth multiple times over a lifetime. Most mammals go through what is called polyphyodonty: they develop new adult teeth throughout their lives as they wear down or fall out.

 

Do some people have only two teeth?

While it’s true that many people have 32 teeth, some people have even fewer or more. In fact, most of us grow our baby teeth before losing them and growing a full set of adult teeth—and some people are born with as few as 22 or as many as 38. While our genetics determine how many teeth we’re born with, trauma, disease and other factors can also contribute to tooth loss in adults. If you’re missing one or more teeth and want to know why you don’t have a full set—or if you just want a best orthodontics near me who can help repair any damage—it’s important to see your dentist soon. Your smile is too important not to maintain!

 

What are wisdom teeth for?

First off, most people don’t have wisdom teeth. In fact, fewer than 20% of people do. Wisdom teeth are often referred to as third molars. They typically start developing between ages 17 and 25 and can emerge through your gums at any time after that.

 

How do I keep my children’s oral health in check?

If you have children, it’s especially important to monitor their oral health. While many dental issues can be fixed, some—like early tooth decay—can only be prevented by keeping your child’s teeth clean. The best way to do that is to create a routine of brushing their teeth at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing before bedtime. Make sure they also brush after eating snacks or sugary foods and visit your orthodontist every six months for an oral exam. Early detection is key in avoiding future problems with their teeth, so don’t neglect regular checkups!

 

How should I brush my teeth, anyway?

This will depend on your dentist and how he or she wants you to brush. If you have braces, you probably follow a different tooth-brushing protocol than if you don’t. The American Dental Association recommends that we brush for at least two minutes twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Most people won’t need to worry about anything fancy like electric brushes, but if it makes your brushing experience more enjoyable and fun, go ahead and try one out! It can’t hurt—but do make sure you take care of your gums while you’re at it!

 

Are there any alternatives to toothpaste, besides water?

Overactive gag reflexes or reactions to certain ingredients like fluoride, toothpaste can be a burden. Fortunately, there are many other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Before rushing out to buy a tube of toothpaste, consider these alternatives

 

Where can I learn more about brushing my children’s teeth and taking care of their oral health in general?

The first step is to schedule a checkup with your child’s dentist. Make sure your child has her teeth cleaned and evaluated annually, as well as twice between ages three and six. It’s also important to make an appointment if you notice any issues during routine brushing or flossing. Once you have a good understanding of your child’s oral health, talk to your child about dental hygiene and teach her how to take care of her teeth herself once she turns 6 years old or before she loses her baby teeth. Some tips include: brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, drinking water through a straw (to avoid contact with germs), flossing every night and wearing an approved mouthguard while playing sports.

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