Dental One Associates of Annapolis
2623 Housley Road, Gateway Village, Annapolis, MD 21401

Kids Guide to Mouth Anatomy

You’ve got something in your mouth that makes it possible for you to eat a meal. People notice them every time you smile, but if you don’t take good care of them, they could start to hurt and fall out. Your smile wouldn’t be nearly as bright if that happened. Of course, they’re your teeth. Without your teeth, there are many things that would be difficult, if not impossible. You need your teeth to chew food, make the sounds of certain letters, and so much more. But humans aren’t the only ones who rely on our teeth. Nearly all vertebrate animals, animals with spines, have teeth. Their teeth and mouths are different from ours in a lot of ways, but we also have a lot in common when it comes to mouth anatomy.

Humans

People have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. Children grow primary teeth, or baby teeth, first. When babies are about six months old, the primary teeth start to push their way through the gums. Eventually, a child will have a set of 20 baby teeth in their mouth. The baby teeth later fall out, and 32 adult teeth grow in. Sometimes, adults lose teeth, too. When that happens, they usually get an artificial replacement tooth so that they can still chew food and speak properly. To prevent losing adult teeth, it’s important for you to brush and floss your teeth every day so that they stay healthy and strong.

Whales

The mouth of a whale is really interesting because their teeth determine which of two groups they fall into: baleen or toothed. Baleen whales don’t have what we normally see as teeth. Instead, they have something that resembles bristles that they use to catch small organisms, like shrimp and krill, as they filter water through it. Toothed whales, on the other hand, have rows of teeth to bite their food.

Sharks

Most people find the sight of a shark’s open mouth and its rows of sharp teeth scary. Probably the scariest thing about a shark’s mouth is that no matter how many teeth they lose, they never run out! That’s because every time a shark’s tooth falls out, a new one grows in its place. Some sharks grow as many as 30,000 teeth during their lives.

Dinosaurs

One of the things that makes dinosaurs so interesting, and more than a little frightening, is their teeth. The king of the dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, had an enormous mouth filled with huge teeth. But you probably wouldn’t want to mess with the teeth of some of the smaller dinosaurs, like the vicious raptor, either. Even though dinosaurs are extinct, they left a lot of information about their lives and eating habits through fossilized teeth and bones.

Dogs

We see dogs every day. You might even have a pet dog. But do you ever think about your dog’s mouth? Dogs use their mouths for much more than just eating and barking. In many ways, dogs use their mouths like people use their hands: They use their mouths to pick things up and carry them. Dogs also use their mouths to play with toys. One way that a dog’s mouth is different from a person’s is that they have more teeth. Adult dogs have 42 teeth, compared to the 32 adult teeth that people have. Just like your teeth, a dog’s teeth also need dental care to stay healthy and strong.

Lions

You’ve probably seen a picture of a lion snarling or with its mouth wide open in a roar. Their teeth are huge and sharp. A lion’s canine tooth can reach a length of 2.75 inches! Lions need their teeth to capture and kill prey so they can eat and feed their families. Since lions can eat as much as 40 pounds of meat at a time, they use their teeth a lot!

Horses

Just like people, horses have baby teeth and adult teeth. Adult horses have 36 to 44 teeth, including incisors, premolars, and molars. Some horses even have canine teeth, but not all of them do. One of the interesting things about a horse’s mouth is that they have a large space between their incisors and their premolars where no teeth grow. This is the spot where the bit on a horse’s bridle rests.

Beavers

Beavers have some of the most memorable teeth of all animals. Their large front teeth are used for chopping through trees and branches. Their teeth are a strange orange color because they have a thick layer of enamel on them that contains iron. The iron helps keep the enamel super-strong. You might think that a beaver’s teeth would get dull after cutting through so many trees, but they don’t. That’s because they’re self-sharpening due to the hard layer of enamel in the front and softer dentin in the back.

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