You probably landed on this page because you were asking yourself, “How many teeth do I have?” Or maybe it was, “How many teeth do humans have?”
Either way, continue reading and you’ll find the answer.
You’ll also find out how many teeth kids have, how many teeth adults should have, and how many teeth adults actually need. If you didn’t know already: the answer to each of these is different.
Let’s start with the little ones first.
How Many Teeth Do Children Have?
Your child should have 20 baby teeth once they’ve all grown in — 10 on top and 10 on bottom.
Babies may begin teething as early as three months or as late as one year.
The bottom two usually come in first, followed closely by the top two. These early teeth are known as deciduous teeth, primary teeth, milk teeth, and other colloquial names.
As a whole, baby teeth are smaller and whiter than adult teeth. The full set will usually appear between two and three years old. Most children then begin to lose them around age six and have them all replaced by the time they are teens.
Just because baby teeth are going to fall out doesn’t mean you should neglect caring for them.
Baby teeth suffer decay, the same as permanent teeth. If you let it get out of hand, it could cause your child real pain. Plus, it’s important to develop proper brushing and flossing habits early.
Bigger mouths hold bigger teeth. And eventually, they hold more of them too.
How Many Teeth Do Adults Have?
Most adults start out with 32 teeth — 16 on top and 10 on bottom.
This includes 8 incisors, 4 cuspids, 8 bicuspids, and 12 molars (including 4 wisdom teeth).
Cuspids are what most people call canines. Bicuspids are likewise referred to as premolars.
All but the last four usually come in by the time most people turn 17. The last four molars are referred to as “wisdom teeth” and usually come in from ages 17 to 21.
However, some people have as many as six wisdom teeth and others have none. They can also begin to come in as early as 13 or as late as 25. Most people have their wisdom teeth removed to prevent overcrowding and discomfort.
Most healthy adults end up with 28 teeth after their wisdom teeth have been removed.
But many will lose some of these over time.
How many Teeth Do Adults Need?
There are several replacement options available for lost teeth.
And more than likely, you’ll eventually need to make use of one or more of these options. Teeth evolved to last about 40 to 50 years. Life expectancy is now well beyond that and is only expected to increase over time.
Few of us can expect to take our full set of natural teeth to the graves. Teeth have minimal repair ability and are subject to decay every single day.
At some point, you’ll probably need to make use of a dental implant, bridge, or set of dentures (whether partial or complete). But the question is, at what point?
How many teeth do we actually need?
“20” is sometimes used as benchmark number, but…
The answer really comes down to functionality. And you are the only one who can determine that for you. Chewing is an important first step in the digestion process and it’s important that you have enough teeth to chew the foods you eat. You’re probably the best judge.
Keep in mind though, that there are also other issues involved such as jawbone loss over time when teeth are absent. This means that you need to utilize options like dental implants before teeth have been gone too long.
This is something you might want to consult your dentist about. Just be aware that you will generally have to pay more for more replacement and your dentist is will probably push you that way. But only you are really qualified to make the decision about your mouth.
Besides the practical application of teeth, there is also the cosmetic value. If that is important to you, you may determine that you need more. Or perhaps, that your front teeth are more important than your back teeth.
At the end of the day, you’re really the only one who can determine how many teeth you need.