We expect to see the teeth of our friends and loved ones when they smile. But think of how very different and unfamiliar their smiles would look if the molars were situated in front instead of the more refined and delicate incisors we are used to seeing! Their smiles would look very different and their teeth wouldn’t function as efficiently.
Purpose Determines Placement
Our teeth are positioned perfectly for the job we need them to do! Let’s look at the eating process.
We bite into a delicious cookie using our front teeth, also called “Incisors.” These central front teeth are sharp so we can also use them to bite into heavier foods like meats and fibrous vegetables. Even their shape helps scoop the food into our mouths.
Sometimes we have to tear our food in order to complete the bite. This is where the “Canine” teeth shine. Located on either side of the incisors, these teeth are sometimes referred to as “wolf teeth” because of their more pointed appearance. Their longer roots give them the stability needed for the grasping and pulling sometimes required—think of eating that turkey leg at the fair, and the tearing required to get that delicious bite!
Once you get that bite of cookie or turkey into your mouth it is met by your “Premolar” teeth, located right behind the incisors. They serve to help compress that bite, and their flat chewing surface is perfect for the task.
The compressed bite now gets finished off by the “Molars.” Located directly behind the premolars, the molars are the largest teeth in your mouth with one job—to get down to the business of chewing and grinding that bite so you can swallow it and send it on its way to your stomach.
We Love Our Smiles
So it turns out that the purpose of each tooth determines its placement in our mouth and this arrangement won’t be changing anytime soon. It’s nice to know that none of our smiles will be changing anytime soon, either.
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