Adult Teeth Guide
Why are adult teeth important?
Adult teeth may be referred to as: Permanent teeth. Why? If you look after them they will stay for life! Teeth are crucial for biting, speaking properly, chewing foods properly (for better digestion) and most importantly for maintaining a healthy smile.
How do I look after adult teeth?
- Eat & Drink Healthy: fruit, raw vegetables, milk and water are good.
- Minimise sugar frequency and amount: bacteria are always in the mouth and feed on sugars to produce acid which can create holes in teeth. It is ok to have sugary foods and drink with main meals but not as a snack. Avoid snacking as this will cause more sugar attacks on teeth.
- Brush properly: technique is paramount. Good brushing habits should be learnt by the age of 6 years. 2 minutes twice a day using a medium soft toothbrush with a small head. Short round strokes with gentle pressure on the gums and tooth surfaces is mandatory. Brush 30minutes after all meals where possible.
- Use Fluoride toothpaste: fluoride helps to repair teeth (There is lots of evidence and research to support this)
- Visit the dentist regularly: education, prevention and management of dental disease forms the basis of dental health.
What is the importance of tooth structure?
Teeth have two parts: the crown (what you can see) and the root which lies below the gum. Bone surrounds the root of the teeth. Without bone, the teeth would move around and fall out. Severe gum disease can cause this bone to disappear resulting in loose teeth.
The crown of a tooth has several layers:
- Tooth Enamel: Smooth, shiny outer layer of the tooth. Hardest material in the body which makes it superb for chewing foods.
- Tooth Dentine: Lays under enamel and forms the bulk of the tooth. Dentine is sensitive to cold and hot.
- Tooth Nerve and Blood supply: Is the living part of the tooth and is very sensitive.
When do adult teeth erupt & what is the pattern?
There are 32 adult teeth in total (8 in each corner of the mouth: 2 Incisors, 1 Canine, 2 Premolars and 3 Molars) The last molar at the back of the mouth is referred to as the wisdom tooth and comes out at 17-21 years (not everybody gets them). All adult teeth except the wisdom teeth should be visible by 12 years of age. The first adult molar teeth may come out behind the baby molars before any baby teeth fall out. On eruption, crowding of the lower incisors is normal and a space between the top central incisors can also occur in some individuals.
What happens if adult teeth do not come out on time?
Do not worry, take your child to the dentist so that they can assess potential causes and advise you accordingly. Orthodontic treatment may need to be planned.