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Why Do Adult Teeth Not Regrow?

One of the most interesting facts about sharks is that they lose an average of one tooth per week. New teeth are continuously growing at the back of mouth to move forward and replace the lost ones. Sharks depend on their teeth to survive, as they don’t chew like we do, but chomp and shake their meals vigorously in order to make bite-sized pieces they can swallow whole. If their teeth did not regrow, a toothless shark would be unable to live! Therefore, evolutionarily, they developed constantly regrowing teeth.

Humans only get two sets: deciduous teeth, often called baby or milk teeth, and our permanent adult teeth. Baby teeth are smaller, to suit the smaller mouths of children, and there are less of them (there are usually only 20 deciduous teeth and 28-32 permanent teeth in most adults).

Considering our historical background as a species, humans have only needed two sets of teeth. Early humans did not live as long and they are also able to survive with worn-down and missing teeth. There has not been enough environmental pressure on humans to cause evolution to need more teeth, so it hasn’t happened, at least not yet.

In the Future…

In terms of technological advances, there’s hope that we might eventually be able to regrow teeth using stem cells. We’re still a ways away from that dream becoming a reality and even if we could, it would likely be a cost prohibitively expensive procedure. Our two sets of teeth are all that we get, so it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene.

Remember, take care of your teeth by doing the following:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Visit us at Wildflower Dental & Orthodontics twice yearly for a professional cleaning and checkup

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