How Many Teeth Do Adults Have?

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How many teeth do adults have, and is the number universally the same?

We all know the priceless beauty of a perfect smile, but have you ever wondered how many teeth do adults have and if you have them all. This can be a tricky question to answer, considering the number of teeth adults have depends on various factors, including age, injuries, oral hygiene, and health.

In general, adults have 32 teeth if they are all present and healthy; however, this number changes over time. This is why we will discover all the stages your teeth go through and count how many teeth you should have by the age of 21.

So, if you want to keep your teeth healthy and know all the details, keep reading.

How Many Teeth Do Adults Have?

If an adult has all their teeth, there should be a total of 32 permanent teeth in the jaw. This includes 16 teeth on the bottom and 16 teeth on the top.

Over the history of human kind, we developed strong and different teeth for chewing food, but during evolution, our jaw changed, and so did the food we ate. This is why it’s common for most adults to have their wisdom teeth removed simply because there is not enough space in the jaw to fit teeth properly.

So, a simple answer to how many teeth adults have should be 32; it’s most likely closer to 28 teeth or less.

Keeping up with your oral health and visiting the dental office regularly for check-ups should extend the life of all the teeth and ensure healthy bone tissue. This is not purely limited to adult teeth because tooth decay can begin much earlier while the person still has milk teeth.

But, before we move on to advice on keeping your oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly, let’s focus on how the teeth grow.

Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are also known as milk teeth or deciduous teeth. These teeth are considered placeholders for adult teeth, but they have a few more functions during the child’s development.

But how many teeth do babies have?

Before permanent teeth are fully grown, all babies have to go through the teething phase. Baby teeth start to grow between five and ten months, but it’s not rare to see smaller babies with a few teeth or toddlers with just a few. It’s all individual, but on average most children have 20 teeth between the ages of 2 and 3.

There is not enough room in the small jaw of the child for a complete set of adult teeth, but they still need something to chew food and feed. In addition, by introducing proper oral hygiene and habits to children, you are more likely to prevent oral health problems in the future.

After some time, at the age of 5 to 7, the baby teeth fall out and make room for the adult teeth. The additional eight premolars need a lot of space, so the jaw bone structure needs to be strong and big enough to hold every single tooth.

While it’s crucial to take good care of your adult teeth it’s also very important to pay attention to baby teeth. The cavites that form on baby teeth can:

  • Affect children’s nutrition and prevent them from eating nutritious food
  • Cause overbites and bite alignment issues that necessitate the use of an oral device to correct
  • Adult teeth are less likely to grow in straight and healthy
  • Impair proper speaking and have a detrimental impact on self-esteem
  • Cause significant dental pain, which escalates if not treated
  • Produce infections that harm neighboring teeth and cause additional cavities

So, deciduous teeth need proper dental care from day one if you want the perfect smile in the future.

Adult Teeth

Once the 20 baby teeth fall out, you might be wondering, “How many teeth do adults have?” and if all of your teeth are in place. This depends on the age, genetics, and oral health of the person. In general, when baby teeth are no longer present, the remaining teeth adults have can grow out.

The full set of permanent teeth consists of:

  • Eight incisorsThe front teeth in the lower and upper jaw are called central incisors. There should be eight top and bottom incisors, and they are used for holding and cutting food. The four incisors in the upper and lower jaw also help with the texture of the food and determining what food it is.
  • Four canine teethThe four canine teeth are recognized as the pointed teeth adults have in their upper and lower jawbones. These teeth are sharp and come in handy when you need to grab and tear food into smaller pieces.There are two canine teeth in both jaws placed in such a way that they form a firm tearing tool. Even our ancestors used to eat meat straight off the bone.
  • Eight premolarsUnlike baby teeth, adult teeth have eight premolars. The teeth are wider than the canine teeth and have two cusps to tear food and chew on the bites easily.
  • Eight molarsAdults have eight molars if we don’t count wisdom teeth. The molar teeth have broad surfaces that efficiently grind down food before swallowing. There are four molars on the upper and lower jaw that allow the food processing to be smooth and refined enough for the digestive tract.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are also called third molars as they come in last and behind all other teeth. The four wisdom teeth served humans well when we were hunters and needed a strong jaw and other teeth to grind food.

Once humans became farmers and cultivated and cooked the food they needed, so many teeth disappeared. The wisdom teeth rarely fit inside the skull of any modern human today, so they are often removed.

Even if you have wisdom teeth removed, you can still maintain perfect oral health with fewer teeth. In some cases, it’s even recommended that patients remove certain teeth to allow the others to align perfectly with braces and additional orthodontic devices.

Problems Wisdom Teeth Can Cause

Wisdom teeth can grow in the jaw just fine or become impacted wisdom teeth that can cause problems. In addition, if your jaw is not big enough, the number of teeth you have it can cause:

  • Overcrowding
  • Misalignment
  • Increased risk of tooth decay
  • Gum disease (periodontal disease)
  • Tooth loss

These are some of the leading reasons why so many doctors practicing dentistry and patients decide to have the third set of molars removed. In case you feel discomfort in the back of your jaw, and your wisdom teeth are not grown yet, you need to make an appointment and consult with your dentist.

So, if you are wondering how many wisdom teeth you need, the answer might be none.

How Is Each Tooth Built?

Now that we are familiar with baby teeth and how many teeth adults have, we can focus on each tooth structure and how to maintain it.

Every adult teeth consists of three layers:

  • Enamel – This is the visible, white and hard surface you can show off with your beautiful smile. The enamel is there to protect the inner layers of your teeth from tooth decay, damage, and injury.
  • Dentin – Dentin is the middle layer of adult teeth that consists of tiny tubes connecting the enamel to the innermost layer. The dentin resembles the bone structure, and it’s the most significant part of every tooth.
  • Pulp – The pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth structure with nerves and blood vessels. Each adult tooth consists of these three layers, which all play a vital role in the structure.

If you are concerned about your teeth, the number of teeth you have or feel any kind of discomfort always contact your dentist as soon as possible.

How To Take Care of Your Teeth?

Taking care of your teeth is easy, but most people get too busy with their daily lives to pay too much attention to oral hygiene. This is why it’s important to start young and introduce the best ways to maintain the health of their baby teeth all the way up to adult teeth.

Apart from regular brushing and using high-quality products and techniques, you should consider a regular check-up with your dentist to prevent tooth loss and decay. Keep in mind that your health comes first, and the best way to avoid gum disease and keep the number of teeth you have is to make an appointment with your dentist.

In addition to preventative measures, there are now corrective steps you can take to get the perfect smile you deserve. This can include wearing clear aligners such as Invisalign or having a whitening treatment done on all 32 teeth.


Does everyone have 32 teeth?

No, while most adults have 32 teeth, there are occasions where one or more teeth are lost due to injury or dental problems. Some patients decide to have their wisdom teeth removed or lose teeth because of an accident or poor hygiene.

So, while the number of teeth should be 32 in adults, it’s more likely you have 28 teeth or less.

Why do I have 36 teeth?

Some people are born with a rare condition called hyperdontia.

This condition means the adult has two teeth or more than the average person. While this is a hereditary condition and not something you can control, it’s essential to consult with your dentist as soon as you notice irregularities. This can save your adult teeth and prevent serious dental issues in the future.

Additional teeth might sound like a good idea, but in reality they cause crowding, crooked teeth and serious dental issues if not treated promptly.

Can a tooth grow back a third time?

No, once adults have 32 teeth and lose one or even more teeth, there is no way to grow them back for the third time. While some people confuse third molars or wisdom teeth as other adult teeth the teeth cannot grow again.

Some new research done by the famous doctor Cheng Ming Chuong suggests that our DNA does allow us to grow more teeth, but the ability is simply not “turned on.”

But no matter how many teeth you have, it’s essential to keep up with your dental appointments, talk to your dentist and maintain the health of the permanent teeth you have.

Final Thoughts

The simple answer to the question “How many teeth do adults have?” might be 32, but now you know that there are different factors that can influence this number. While it’s important to have as much teeth as possible, it’s much more essential that you maintain your teeth properly.

Great habits are built from a young age, so teaching the children about the best way and time to clean their teeth will be beneficial for their bright future smiles.

While most people will lose their wisdom tooth or two, it’s vital to keep all the molars, canines and front teeth to maintan the balance in the jaw and ensure proper chewing of the food. It might not be the first thing you think about but teeth are the most crucial part of your digestive system and overall health.

So, schedule a checkup with your dentist and keep your teeth healthy.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.