Throughout your life, you will have two sets of teeth: primary (baby) teeth and secondary (permanent) teeth. At age 6-8 months, the primary teeth appear; all 20 are in place by age 3.
Permanent teeth will begin to grow around age 6, and except for wisdom teeth, are all present between ages 12 and 14. The next teeth to grow in are the 12-year molars and finally the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth typically begin breaking through from age 17 and on. The total number of permanent teeth is 32, though few people have room for all 32 teeth. This is why wisdom teeth are usually removed.
Your front teeth are called incisors. The sharp “fang-like” teeth are canines. The next side teeth are referred to as pre-molars or bicuspids, and the back teeth are molars. Your permanent teeth are the ones you keep for life, so it is vital that they are brushed and flossed regularly and that periodic check-ups by a dentist are followed.
Your Dental Health
Practicing good oral hygiene is the key to maintaining good overall health, especially as we get older. In recent years, bacterial inflammation involved in gum disease has been linked to chronic health problems like stroke, coronary artery disease and premature, low birth-weight babies. Our doctors and hygienists take great care to identify and treat gum disease early to keep you and your mouth healthy.
There are a number of things you can do to help protect your smile and your overall health. Visiting your dentist regularly, at least twice a year, allows us to thoroughly clean your teeth and recognize any potential problems early (i.e. cavities, gingivitis, etc.) before they become more serious. Dental exams give us insight on whether the patient is getting proper nutrition, maintaining a proper oral hygiene regimen and whether there are any growth or development problems.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are practicing good oral hygiene at home:
- Brush at least three times a day using a fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
- Avoid smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco products
By following the above steps, you can help prevent such common problems as cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, oral cancer, as well as more serious diseases that affect your overall health like heart disease and diabetes.