How do teeth function?

It might be easy to take teeth for granted, but they serve an important role in the digestive process. The primary function of teeth is to obtain, chew, and break down our food. We have four types of teeth, and they each have a specific purpose.

The Four Types of Teeth
Our teeth are broken down into four groups – the canines, incisors, premolars, and molars. The canines and incisors are in the front of the mouth and the premolars and molars are towards the back. Molars have a large grooved top surface area, while incisors and canines have narrow surfaces with sharp edges. The premolars are like molars, but smaller, and they act as a bridge between the front and back teeth.

How the Four Groups Work Together
The teeth are shaped the way they are for a reason. The incisors cut your food, and the canines, with long roots that make them sturdy, tear your food. The bites of food are passed back to the premolars and molars with the help of your tongue. There the food is crushed and ground between the large surfaces of the molars. The chewing motion triggers saliva, which helps to break the food down further.

Healthy Teeth Are Needed for Digestion
With all the work teeth do to help process the foods we eat, we need for them to be as healthy as possible. Anyone who has had a toothache, whether from infection or decay, has experienced the discomfort it can cause when trying to eat. Misaligned or missing teeth make it difficult to bite and chew. These issues can disrupt the digestive process, which in turn can affect other areas of your health. You are wise to maintain regular checkups to make sure your teeth are able to do the job they were designed to do!


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