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Duration:04:10
Uploaded:2015-12-28
Last sync:2018-11-21 18:30
Learn all about teeth! What kinds we have, how they help us, and how human teeth are different from other animals!
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SOURCES:
http://www.d.umn.edu/~rmoen/Mammalogy_4764_2009/Handouts/Lab_01_Teeth.pdf
http://animaldiversity.org/collections/mammal_anatomy/kinds_of_teeth/

IMAGES:
Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peanut_butter_and_jelly_sandwich_(11120683916).jpg
Pasta: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Macaroni_Pasta.jpg
Teeth X-Ray: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basic_panoramic_radiograph.jpg
[intro plays]

Jessi: Today I just can't stop smiling! Do you wanna know why? Because I want to show off my teeth. Teeth aren't just for smiles, they're a really important part of one of my favorite things: eating! What do you like to eat? I like to eat carrot sticks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pasta, and lots of other things. So if you're like me you probably eat lots of different kinds of food and that's why we have lots of different kinds of teeth.

We use our teeth to chew our food. Chewing takes food that would be too big to fit in our mouth or too hard to swallow whole and breaks it down into smaller pieces. You couldn't just open wide like a snake and eat an entire pizza, you need your teeth to rip it into bite size pieces first, and then keep making it smaller and mushier until you can gulp it down.

Our teeth are great at turning lots of different things into tasty meals. They all have slightly different jobs and different shapes to help us eat all those foods. Take a look inside your mouth, and the next time you lose a tooth, take a look at it. When you smile, you can see your front teeth really well. They're called incisors and you have four on the top and four on the bottom. These are the teeth that help you take that first bite of food. Think about chomping into a sandwich or taking a bite out of an apple. You use those front teeth first to cut into the food and break off a bite size piece.

And you can see another kind of teeth when you smile too, they're the longest and pointiest teeth in your mouth. They're called canines and you have four of them, two on the top and two on the bottom. These teeth are especially good for ripping and tearing food. They have long roots that go deep into your gums so they can do a lot of hard work. For example, how would you bite off a piece of something super-chewy like a big piece of bagel or a hard, sticky piece of taffy? That's where your canines go to work. These strong teeth can hold the chewy bread or stretchy candy in place even when you're pulling on it so you can break off a piece to eat.

Now if you look further back in your mouth, you can see teeth that are bigger, flatter, and kind of squarish. These are your premolar and molar teeth. The premolars are a little bit smaller than the molars, but all of these teeth have wide, bumpy surfaces instead of sharp edges. Their shape makes them really great at grinding and crushing food, especially food from plants. Think about how long it takes to chew a stalk of celery. While the teeth in front are in charge of biting, these back teeth do most of the hard chewing, they're the last teeth your food will meet before you swallow.

We're lucky we have all these different kinds of teeth because it means we can eat lots of different kinds of food. Some animals only have one kind of tooth, or more of one kind than the other. Their teeth are specially suited to the kind of food they eat. Animals like elephants and deer eat mostly plants, so most of their teeth are the big, broad lumpy molars to break down thick plants.

And other animals like squirrels eat plants, too, but they don't just pluck a leaf off a branch. Squirrels have to chew through the bark of a tree or through hard seeds and nuts to get their food, so these animals have molars and really big incisors. The incisors help them chew through the tough stuff, and their molars help them grind up the plant matter.

Now other animals like tigers only eat other animals, they eat meat. So these guys need really big, sharp canine teeth to help them catch and tear into their prey. Their teeth help them take food that's too big to fit in their mouths all at once and break it into smaller pieces. So all animals have special teeth that match their diet.

Scientists can sometimes figure out what kind of food an animal eats based on the shape, size, and number of teeth they have. Luckily, we can eat all kinds of things. Stretchy things, chewy things, soft things, and lots of other things. And that's something to smile about.

Thanks for joining us on SciShow Kids and make sure to check back every week to learn more with Squeaks and me. And we'll see you next time.

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