Teeth | Definition, Etymology, Synonyms & Functions


Teeth are an important feature of our face. They are the plural form of tooth. They are managed into two rows. In Latin, it is known as Dens.

They play a significant role in nutrition, eating, digestion, and chewing. Also, they help us to form sounds, talk, and speak clearly. It is an important factor in the appearance of a person.

Definition of Teeth

Teeth are a set of hard structures in the jaws. They are used for biting, grinding, cutting, breaking, grasping, and chewing.


This word originates from the Old English toth (plural teth ) of Germanic origin related to Dutch tand and German Zahn from an Indo-European root shared by the Latin dent and Greek odont.


  • Fang
  • Denticulation
  • Tusk
  • Denticle
  • Dentition
  • Gnasher
  • Tush

Functions of Teeth

There are a lot of functions some of the main are:

  • Cutting, grasping, and grinding food
  • Breaking down food
  • Enable us to pronounce words
  • Shaping the face

Sets of Teeth

Humans have two sets of teeth in their whole life which are:

  • Primary Dentition
  • Secondary Dentition

Primary Dentition:

They are also known as deciduous baby milk or temporary teeth. They are smaller in size and also have smaller roots but larger pulp chambers.

Generally, Kids have 20 primary teeth of which 10 are in the upper jaw known as the maxilla and the other 10 are in the lower jaw known as the mandible. They begin to become visible at the age of almost 6 to 8 months.

Secondary Dentition:

The other names are permanent or adult teeth.  They are larger and every individual has 32 secondary teeth.

It enhances the number of teeth as every side of the maxilla and mandible contains almost 3 molar teeth. They can be sub-divided into two groups which are:

  • The first group involves the incisor, canine, and premolar teeth. Overall, they are also identified as Succedaneous teeth. These teeth replace the identical teeth of primary dentition.
  • The second group involves molar teeth which do not have an equivalent in the primary dentition.

Parts of the Teeth

There are many parts of the tooth some of these are:


It is the visible part of the tooth. It is on the above of the gums. The top layer of the crown is Enamel. It is a hard and also a protecting matter which covers the crown of the tooth.


It is the part of a tooth. This part is below the gums. It holds in the jaw. It is embedded into the bony ridge of the upper and lower jaws. This cannot be visible as the gums cover it. It acts as a cable that keeps your teeth in place.


It is the protective, hard, visible, and outer layer of the tooth. The thickness of the enamel differs with the top part being the hardest and the hardness slowly decreases nearer to the dentin. Furthermore, it is the only part of the tooth that can heal by itself. It is the most important tissue which is made up of:

  • Dentin
  • Cementum
  • Dental Pulp


It is the major supporting formation of the tooth. It is the substance between the enamel and the pulp chamber. This is a mineralized connective tissue with a natural matrix of collagenous proteins.

Also, it has microscopic channels known as dentinal tubules which spread outward through the dentin from the pulp cavity to the exterior cementum. The three types of dentin are Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.

Secondary dentin is a coat of dentin which produced after root creation and continues to shape with age. Tertiary dentin is created in reaction to stimuli such as cavities and tooth wear.

Dental Pulp:

It is the middle part of the tooth. This is filled with soft connective tissue. It has blood vessels and nerve tissues that enter into the tooth from a hole at the top of the root. This is known as the nerve of the tooth. Other cells in the pulp comprise:

  • Fibroblasts
  • Preodontoblasts
  • Macrophages
  • T lymphocytes

Types of Teeth

Human teeth are divided into four types. They separate based on their functions, positions in the oral cavity, and number of roots and shapes of their crowns which are:

  • Incisors
  • Canines
  • Premolars
  • Molars


They are the most visible teeth in the mouth. Every individual has 8 incisors of which 4 incisors are in the maxillae and the other 4 are in the mandible. These are for cutting and also for sharing the food.


They are also identified as Eye Tooth or Cuspids. Every person has 4 canine teeth. This type of tooth is for cutting and breaking food into pieces.

This type of tooth has similarities with the teeth of the dog. It plays a very important role in speaking, eating, and maintaining the form of the lips. Also, they lead the other teeth into position.


They are Bicuspids. These are among the canines and first molars. Every person has almost premolars including 4 maxillary and 4 mandibular. This type helps us in food crushing, grinding, and grasping during eating.


Molars are the smooth teeth at the backside of the mouth. Every mature person has almost 12 molars of which 6 are in every jaw. You can use molars for holding and crushing the food.

Generally, molars have 4 or 5 cusps and Upper molars have almost 3 roots while the lower molars have 2 roots. The third molars on each side of the upper and lower jaw other name is Wisdom Teeth.

Teeth Disorders

  • Cavities
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Bad Breathe
  • Dentin Hypersensitivity
  • Chipped Tooth
  • Impacted Tooth
  • Acid Erosion
  • Bruxism
  • Xerostomia
  • Sensitivity
  • Toothache
  • Gum Problems
  • Oral Cancer
  • Mouth Ulcer
  • Tooth Infection
  • Thrush
  • Dental Traumas


  • Sana clenched her teeth in anger.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the biggest tooth called?

The biggest tooth is known as Molars.

What are the main parts of the tooth?

  • Enamel
  • Dentin
  • Root Cement

Mention 5 functions of the tooth.

  • Cutting
  • Tearing
  • Sharing
  • Grinding
  • Crushing

How can I keep my teeth clean and white?

Some of the natural ways to keep the tooth are:

  • Eat strawberries
  • Apply coconut oil
  • Brush after eating or drinking
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Brush your tongue
  • Rinse with apple cider vinegar

Mention some facts about teeth.

  • You can use it as fingerprints.
  • They are not bones.
  • They comprise almost 300 species of bacteria.

What are the main problems of the tooth?

  • Cavities
  • Tooth erosion
  • Gum Infections
  • Gum Diseases

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