4 Types of Teeth and Their Functions

We often overlook the importance of our teeth as a crucial part of our body. The human mouth is home to four types of teeth, each with its unique function. The incisors are used for biting and cutting food, the canines are used for tearing and grasping food, the premolars are used for crushing and grinding food, and the molars are used for chewing and grinding food. Together, these teeth work to chew and break down food for digestion. It is important to understand the role of each type of tooth in maintaining good oral health and preventing tooth decay and other dental problems.


There are eight incisors, four in the top row of your teeth and four in the bottom.

These teeth are located at the front of the mouth and are easily visible when we smile or talk. Incisors have a sharp, pointed edge used for biting and cutting food. They are the first teeth that come into contact with food when we take a bite and are essential for biting off small pieces of food.

 In addition to their function in biting and cutting food, incisors also shape the sounds of certain words when we speak. The sharp edge of the incisors helps to form the “f” and “v” sounds, as well as the “th” sound in words like “think” and “this.”  


There are four canines, two in the top row and two in the bottom. Canines are the sharpest and most pointed teeth. Because of their pointed shape, they are also known as “cuspids.” The teeth located adjacent to the incisors are employed for both shredding and gripping food.

The canines are the longest teeth in the mouth and can exert a lot of force when biting down. The canines’ pointed shape allows them to pierce through hard foods, such as tough meats and hard bread crusts.


There are eight premolars, four in the top row and four in the bottom. These teeth are located behind the canines and are used for grinding and crushing food. They have a flat surface, which allows them to grind and crush foods such as nuts, grains, and raw vegetables. They are larger and stronger than incisors and canines.  In the past, it was common for adult premolars to be removed if there was not enough room – now we try to create more room in childhood with early interceptive orthodontics if there is dental crowding.


Molars are the last of the four main types of teeth in the human mouth. There are twelve molars, six in the top row and six in the bottom. These teeth are located at the back of the mouth and are not as visible as the front teeth when we smile or talk. The large surface area of the molars allows them to grind and crush foods effectively.

In addition to these four types of teeth, humans also have wisdom teeth, sometimes known as “third molars.” These teeth are located at the very back of the mouth and usually emerge in the late teenage years or early twenties. They are used for grinding and crushing food, but they are not always necessary and may need to be removed if they cause problems such as pain or overcrowding in the mouth.

How to Take Care of Your Four Types of Teeth

Your teeth are extremely important to your overall health and well being, so it’s crucial to give them the attention they need, both before and after your Lakewood dental appointments. There are several ways to take care of your teeth and keep them healthy, including:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day: Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth gently in a circular motion. Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth, including the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces.
  2. Floss daily: Flossing is an important part of dental hygiene because it removes plaque and food particles from areas a toothbrush cannot reach, such as between the teeth and the gum line.
  3. Use mouthwash: Mouthwash is a useful product for eliminating bacteria and freshening your breath. 
  4. Drink plenty of water: Drinking water helps to rinse away food particles and keep your mouth hydrated.
  5. Eat a healthy diet: Choose foods low in sugar and high in nutrients. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks, and opt for water, milk, and healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables.

When to Visit a Dentist in Lakewood, Colorado

To maintain good oral health, we recommend visiting the dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and examination. This helps to prevent problems such as tooth decay and gum disease and allows your dentist to identify any potential issues early on.

However, if you are experiencing dental pain or other symptoms, you may need to visit the dentist sooner. Some signs that you may need to visit the dentist include:

  • Toothache or tooth sensitivity
  • Swelling in the mouth or face
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red or bleeding gums
  • Changes in the appearance of your teeth or gums
  • Difficulty chewing or biting

If you notice any unusual dental symptoms, you should make an appointment with your dentist in Lakewood, Colorado as soon as possible. Your dentist can diagnose the problem and recommend treatment to restore your dental health.

Schedule an Appointment at Fox Point Dental in Lakewood, Colorado

Proper dental care is important for preventing tooth decay and gum disease, and it can help keep your teeth strong and healthy for a lifetime.

Fox Point Dental in Lakewood is one of the most trusted names in local dental care. Don’t take your dental health for granted; call our dental experts today for your next dental checkup. Our team prioritizes whole-body health and functional dentistry. Our dental services aim to help our patients smile confidently, breathe clearer, and live healthier lives.

Remember, good oral hygiene and care for your four types of teeth leads to overall good health and a joyful smile!

To learn more about our general dentistry services, visit this page here.

About the Author

Dr. Elizabeth Turner is a whole-health, family dentist in Lakewood, CO who provides general, restorative, and cosmetic dental care. She focuses on the mouth-body connection and helps her patients smile confidently, breathe clearer, and live healthier lives. 

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