how many teeth do adults have

How many teeth do adults have?

Teeth are very essential and often underrated. They help us bite, chew and swallow food. They also help us talk. One part of the body that is usually not taken care of very well is the teeth. The number of teeth a person has might differ from another person depending on certain factors. 

Sometimes not all your adult teeth might come in or some of your teeth might have been damaged. However, all adults have roughly the same number of teeth. 

In this article, you will get to know about teeth in general, how many teeth an adult has and other relevant information you might not know of.

What makes up the teeth

Each tooth has 3 layers namely the enamel, dentin, and pulp. 

The enamel is the white outer layer that we all see. It is a hard surface that protects the inner layers of each tooth from decay. Enamel is the hardest tissue found in the whole body. 

The dentin is the middle layer of the tooth which has similarities to the bone tissue. It accounts for the majority of the structure of the tooth. There are millions of tiny tubes connecting the dentin to the pulp (also known as the life source of the tooth)

The pulp is the source of the life of the tooth. Alternatively, it is the innermost layer of the tooth consisting of blood and nerves. 

Other parts of the tooth include the crown (the part of the tooth above the gum line), the root (located below the gumline. It is also responsible for attaching the tooth to the jawbone).

Types of teeth

There are 4 different types of teeth namely incisors, canine, premolars, and molars.

With the incisors, they are 4 in number. They are the 4 front teeth located on the top and bottom jaw. Incisors are used for cutting and chopping food. They cut food into smaller pieces which the teeth and tongue then move to the back of the mouth.

The canine teeth are the sharp pointy teeth in your mouth. They are sometimes referred to as ‘fang teeth’. There is one on each side of your incisors on your top and bottom jaw, thus, making them 4 in total. They are used for cutting and tearing food. They also ensure that the upper and lower rows of teeth do not clash. 

The premolars are located next to the canine teeth. They are also known as bicuspid teeth. Most adults have 8 premolars in total. 4 along the top gums and 4 along the bottom with 2 on each side. They are bigger and wider than your incisors and canine teeth. Premolars are used for crushing and grinding food. 

Molars are the strongest type of teeth. They work with the tongue to enable you to swallow food. They achieve this by mashing up the food until it’s ready to be swallowed safely. There are 12 molars; 6 on top and 6 on the bottom. This also includes 4 wisdom teeth. 

How many teeth does an adult have?

An adult typically has a full set of teeth, 32 in number. The adult teeth set in when you reach your late teens. Adult teeth include 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 12 molars, making 32 teeth in all.

How many teeth do babies have?

Babies start getting their new teeth on average around 6 months. Sometimes a 3-month-old baby can also have emerging teeth. Baby teeth are also called primary or deciduous teeth. 

They are called primary teeth because they are temporary and they will fall out. A full set of baby teeth is 20 teeth: 10 on top and 10 on the bottom.

How to take care of your teeth

The best way to take care of your teeth is by brushing and flossing regularly. 

The American Dental Association and the American College of Prosthodontists recommend:

  • placing the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle so that it touches the gums and teeth
  • paying particular attention to the gums and the molars
  • brushing for at least 2 minutes

For flossing 

  • use 16–18 inches of floss and wrap it around the fingers
  • gently thread the floss between the teeth until it meets the gums and move it up and down
  • use a clean section of floss for every two teeth
[source 1, source 2]

How to care for baby teeth

Baby teeth are very delicate and thus, care should be taken when trying to care for them. Here is how to care for baby teeth.

  • Begin a brushing routine as soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges
  • Always use a clean baby towel with warm water to rub each tooth. You can also rub the gums to make them clean. 
  • Let your child chew on a cold, wet towel. This can soothe teething soreness.
  • When your baby has most of its teeth in, you can switch to a kid’s toothbrush. Make sure the toothbrush has soft bristles. Be sure to use one with a small head so that you can comfortably and effectively brush all their teeth.

When to see a dentist

It is important that you make regular trips to the dentist for a checkup. Also, you should see a dentist if you experience any unusual symptoms such as ulcers in the mouth, infection, inflammation, or bleeding of gums. This will help keep your oral health in check. 

Also, you can visit the dentist if you have oral health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.

The takeaway from this article

It is important that you keep your mouth clean and healthy. Teeth are essential as they help people chew and swallow food in addition to helping us talk.

You may also be interested in “When can I eat solid food after wisdom teeth removal“.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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