Human Body : Teeth

Healthy teeth are really important for our overall health. They help us to smile and speak and bite and chew the food we need to sustain ourselves. It’s important to understand the different types of teeth you have throughout your life.

Adult teeth and baby teeth


Milk teeth

Milk teeth are the first teeth we get as babies. These teeth start developing before a baby is born and will normally start to come through when an infant is between 6 and 12 months old.

By the time a child reaches 3 years of age it they can expect to have a full set of 20 milk teeth. They will keep this set for another few years and keeping these teeth healthy and clean will help them to eat, talk and avoid problems when the adult teeth grow in.


When a child reaches the ages of between 5 and 6 their milk teeth should start to gradually fall out with adult teeth growing in shortly after.

Read more about caring for your baby’s first teeth and teething

Adult teeth

Between the ages of 12 and 14 a you will have lost all of your baby teeth and these will have  been replaced by a full set of adult teeth.

A full set of adult teeth consists of 32 teeth in total. This includes the wisdom teeth, which grow in at the back of the mouth. These normally grow in much later and can be expected between the ages of 17 and 21. For some people wisdom teeth don’t grow in at all.

The different types of teeth

Incisors are used for chopping and cutting food into small chunks, these are your front teeth and you have 4 on the bottom and 4 on the top.

Canine teeth help you to tear chewy food such as meat. You have 2 of these in the top jaw and 2 in the bottom jaw and they are positioned next to your incisors.

Premolars are positioned next to your canine teeth. A full set of adult teeth will normally contain eight premolars with 4 on the top and 4 on the bottom row of teeth. We rely on these teeth for grinding and crushing chunks of food. These teeth are bigger and wider with a flat surface area on the bottom unlike your narrow and sharp front teeth.

Molars grow in at the back of your mouth and a full set of adult teeth should have 8 in total with 4 on the top and 4 on the bottom jaw. These teeth are your strongest and we rely on these teeth to grind our food so it’s safe to swallow