How Many Teeth Do Adults Have? An Explanation of Teeth Function

May 26, 2022

How Many Teeth Do Adults Have?

To answer this question right off the bat, adults have a total of 32 teeth. Although, due to circumstances unique to each individual, there’s evidently a vast array of reasons as to why adults can have less teeth. Whether poor oral health is contributed to someone’s loss of teeth, or someone merely had their wisdom teeth extracted, it’s not very common for adults to retain all 32 of their teeth throughout their lives.

The number of teeth in an average person’s mouth will vary throughout the course of their life. For example, a baby inside their mother’s womb will have an astound 52 teeth in their mouth! Roughly four to seven months after conception, 20 of these teeth will begin to erupt through the gumline. These 20 teeth are commonly referred to as “baby teeth”, or Primary Teeth in more professional circles. Due to a baby’s jaw not being large enough to fit their adult teeth, or Secondary Teeth, an average baby’s mouth will hold 10 primary teeth on top and 10 primary teeth on bottom.

Between the ages of five and seven, an interesting development begins in a human’s mouth. All 20 of an individual’s baby teeth will fall out as their 32 permanent secondary teeth start coming in. While, originally, the typical adult will have 16 teeth on top and 16 teeth on bottom, it’s much more common nowadays for people to have 14 on top and 14 on bottom, making a total of 28 teeth in the average adult’s mouth. Don’t start using your tongue to count your teeth just yet, let’s dive into the four categories of teeth and what purpose they serve in our jaw.


Types of Teeth

  • Incisors: There’s a total of 8 incisors in the average adult’s mouth, being 4 on top and 4 on bottom. These sharp teeth are front and center of your smile and have a flat, wide appearance. The purpose of incisors is to sharply cut and chop food into smaller pieces, they also assist with sensing the texture of food you’re eating before you begin chewing.
  • Canines (Cuspids): There’s only a total of 4 canines (or sometimes called cuspids) in the average adult’s mouth, being 2 on top and 2 on bottom. These pointy sharp teeth, located on each side of the incisors, are used to grab and tear up food.
  • Premolars (Bicuspids): There’s a total of 8 premolars in the average adult’s mouth, being 4 on top and 4 on bottom. Being bigger than incisors and canines, these teeth sit behind the canines and have a flat top surface with various ridges. The ridges purpose in these teeth are used to grind up food into smaller pieces.
  • Molars: There’re a total 12 molars in the average adult’s mouth, being 6 on top and 6 on bottom. These large teeth have a broad chewing surface with various ridges, similarly to premolars. The purpose of these teeth is to grid down food before it’s finally ready to swallow. It’s important to note that molars also include your wisdom teeth, also known as your third molars. Wisdom teeth are the last sets of teeth to come in for most adults, as some people’s wisdom teeth never comes in, but generally these teeth don’t serve a function and are commonly extracted from most adult’s mouths. For this reason, most adults have 8 molars total, being 4 on the top and 4 on the bottom, resulting in 28 teeth total for the average adult.

Conclusion

How many teeth do adults have? While 32 is the correct answer, the typical healthy individual should have 28 teeth in their mouth.

There’s a whole arsenal of factors that can affect the number of teeth someone may have in their mouth. According to a study, adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have an average of 24.92 teeth, and a whole 3.75% of adults have no remaining teeth. Additionally, the typical adult will lose an average of 12.1 teeth by the time they reach the age of 50. Then finally, 26% of adults over the age of 65 have 8 or fewer teeth in their mouth, while 17% of these individuals have lost all their teeth completely.

Alarming statistics like this shows that not everyone is on top of their oral health. Factors that can contribute to tooth loss are declining gum health, smoking cigarettes, eating sugary gum and other foods, and the unkept accumulation of plaque. Staying vigilant of gum health is vital to your overall health as well, the best way to do this is by flossing and brushing regularly!

Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from between your teeth, flossing regularly also helps keep tartar out of hard-to-reach places. GumChucks’ design ensures a flossing experience that’s faster, easier, and more effective than competing flossers or traditional floss. Our two handles with disposable floss allow you to comfortably reach all your teeth, even those in the back while wrapping the floss around each tooth. This creates the vital “C-Shape” necessary to get below the gum line and effectively clean each tooth.

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