What are Canine Teeth?

What are Canine Teeth

Learning how to care for your teeth is important because that is the only way to maintain proper oral hygiene and retain your natural teeth. All in all, to give your teeth the best care, it is essential to learn about the different functions of different teeth and to visit Moslon Park family dentist in Barrie regularly. In this post, we will look at canine teeth. Where are they located in the mouth, and what is their function?

An adult human has between 28 and 32 teeth. All the teeth serve different functions. Some are for biting, tearing and gripping, while others are for grinding and chewing. The wisdom teeth, also referred to as the ‘third molars,’ are not as important to us today as they were for our ancestors. That is why they are often removed. Our ancestors ate coarse diets that called for extensive mastication. Today, we rarely use wisdom teeth. That is why these teeth are often removed and tend to grow abnormally for many people. The canine tooth resembles the teeth of carnivores such as tigers, lions and bears. This is because they are adapted for tearing. On meat-eating animals, canines go by different names, including cuspids, eye-teeth or fangs.

Are Canine Teeth Important?

The canines get their name from their fang-like appearance. This appearance resembles that of a canine (another name given to dogs). This is why these teeth are also referred to as K9 teeth. Since dogs show their canines when threatened, these teeth have been associated with canines. While our ancestors from more than 7 million years ago had larger canines, the canines of modern humans have grown much smaller. This is because we use these teeth less for fighting. The invention of tools also reduced dependence on canine teeth. All in all, although the canines of modern humans are smaller and less pointy than those of other mammals, they still function the same. You can also easily identify canines from a reflection in the mirror because these teeth are still relatively sharp and long.

Even though our diet has evolved over the years from that of other meat-eating animals, humans still need canines. So what are canine teeth used for by modern humans? They are used for tearing and gripping food. Without canines, you would have difficulty tearing meat from the bone. You would not be able to enjoy barbeque as much unless you chop it into small pieces. Canines are also crucial for speaking as well as supporting the structure of the mouth. When you lose them, you may misalign or change your bite. The location of the canines further helps guide food to the right position for chewing.

How many canine teeth do human beings have? A total of four canines – two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. These teeth are distinguished by their sharp and pointed biting surface. They are situated at the corners of the dental arch, with each canine falling between the incisors and bicuspids.

When Do Canines Erupt?

The canine teeth of humans sprout after the baby teeth. The American Dental Association reports that canines are the third type of teeth that erupt. They erupt after the incisors and the first molars. It is also good to note that canines do not erupt all at once. The upper baby canines erupt first from the ages of 16 to 22 months. They are shed between the age of 10 and 12 years. On the other hand, the baby’s lower canines erupt between 17 and 23 months of age. They are shed between the ages of 9 and 12 years. The adult upper canines erupt between the ages of 11 and 12 years while the adult lower canines come in between the age of 9 and 10 years.

Can Canine Teeth Be Removed?

While the function of the canine tooth is crucial, these teeth can still be removed if they are severely damaged. With that in mind, it is paramount that you protect and maintain their health. You can do this by brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing daily, and avoiding exposing these teeth to extreme conditions. While their role is to tear and grip, you should not strain them too much. These teeth are still susceptible to staining, cavities and other teeth problems.

The Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics states that the canines are most likely to be damaged by hard brushing and gum disease. This is so because the gum tissue around the canine teeth is more vulnerable to erosion due to the position of these teeth. The report further states that the maxillary canines and the mandibular incisors are common places for gingival recession.

When brushing, canines get more pressure because they are more prominent on either side of the incisors. For you to be able to reduce the risk of gingival recession when caring for your canines, you should do the following:

  • Brush your teeth gently. You should do so using a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
  • Take time to clean between the teeth at least once daily. This should be done gently using an interdental cleaner or a flossing device.
  • Avoid tobacco products and smoking.
  • Schedule regular visits to the dentist to ensure there are no developing diseases or conditions. The visits should be at least twice every year.

As you can see, the K9 tooth is unique not just in the way it looks but also in its function and how you should care for it. Caring for all your teeth is important for good dental health. Make sure you brush and floss daily and schedule an appointment with your dentist for routine checkups and as soon as you notice a dental problem. You also need to keep in mind that canines can also get stained. Avoid foods that may discolour your teeth. This is for the simple fact that when smiling, the canines are as visible as the incisors for most people. This means they can ruin your smile if they are damaged.

At Molson Park Dental Office, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about canine teeth. Our team is also equipped to treat any teeth problem, including the removal of ingrown canines and teeth whitening. Give us a call to find out more.