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At most times, you may have heard your teeth commonly being referred to as your “canines.” However, a lot of people do not understand what this term actually means. Suppose you’re curious about what exactly is a canine tooth and what it does, or maybe you’re wondering why do we have canine teeth. Perhaps this article can help you. We’re here to bring you some fascinating facts about canine teeth, their evolution, and how you can take care of yours.



What Are Canine Teeth?

According to researchers and dental professionals, our canines are the most stable among all our teeth types. They are made with special modifications that enable you to easily chew and tear food.

Most animals have more prominent and pronounced canines, but humans only have them less conspicuously. However, their comparatively pointy and prominent appearance makes them a lot more distinguished than the rest of our teeth. When you face a mirror and take a look at your teeth, it should be easy to identify our four sharp upper and lower canine teeth. These have been popularized by cinematic filmmakers, which many refer to now as vampire teeth.

Though our canine teeth aren’t as striking as those of other mammals, their function and shape are somewhat similar. Even though our canines are not especially big, we have preserved an enlarged canine tooth root. This structure is responsible for creating a bulge in the upper jaw and provides a stable foundation on the corner of our lip. Over the years, we continue to evolve with it and help us eat, speak, and support our dental alignment.


Why Do We Call It Canine Teeth?

Canine teeth get its unique name because it resembles a dog’s fangs. Since canines are notorious for displaying their fangs when they feel a specific threat, these particular teeth are often affiliated with the term.

Because we all come from the same lineage, humans are also mammals. If we are to trace our ancestry from its roots, we can confirm that we share a common descendant as that of dogs. Although, it can be impossible to precisely identify when canine teeth originated or started to evolve.


The Evolution of Our Canines

how our canine teeth evolvedOver the generations, our canines have grown relatively less conspicuous. This evolution possibly happened knowing that we have learned how to use them less frequently for combat. Thanks to the invention of tools and other innovative practices, we have developed different ways to deal with our prey, enemies, and the environment.

As a result, we have outgrown our primal instincts and developed our diet. Indeed, we have gone beyond our hunting years and now find it less appealing to use our canines in other circumstances. As modernization took its rightful place, we have learned to limit the utilization of our canines strictly for chopping food. It allows us to cut up debris into tiny proportions rather than swallowing big, hard chunks.


When Do Our Canine Teeth Develop?

Like the rest of our teeth types, our canines will erupt twice. Once when our baby teeth start to erupt, and the other during the development of our adult teeth. As explained by the American Dental Association, our canines are the third type of human teeth to develop, following the eruption of first molars and incisors.

You can expect your upper and lower pairs of canine teeth to erupt at these specific timeframes:


Baby Canine Teeth

Upper canine teeth erupt between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two months and are shed between ten and twelve. Lower canine teeth erupt between seventeen and twenty-three months of age and are shed between nine and twelve years of age.


Adult Canine Teeth

Adult canine teeth will erupt after the baby canine teeth are entirely shed. For the upper canine teeth, it typically erupts between the ages of eleven and twelve years. Whereas lower canine teeth develop during nine to ten years old.


Why Do We Have Canine Teeth?

We know that there is a specific role for all teeth types. But why do we have canine teeth? How does it affect teeth function?


Canine Teeth Helps Teeth Alignment

In regular human teeth, canines play a considerable purpose in maintaining dental structure. Without it, there is a higher risk for the bite to weaken and could sometimes cause misalignment on our adjacent teeth.


why do we have canine teethCanine Teeth Improves Our Meals

Additionally, our canine teeth are essential for chewing. Among other teeth types, only our canines can tear up and ripple apart our food when eating. Furthermore, its placement and appearance are necessary to guide the bite into its proper position.


Canine Teeth Enhances Our Speaking Ability

When you look at their placement, you’ll see that the lower canine teeth’ points are closer to the middle part than the upper canine teeth’ points. When biting down, the offset helps direct all of the teeth into alignment. A good and efficient speech is made possible by the proper alignment of these teeth. Poor spacing may lead to a less effective formation of words. If this condition becomes too severe, your dentist might suggest undergoing corrective treatment.


What Are the Common Concerns for Canine Teeth?


Canine Teeth and Impacted Tooth

The first concern for our canine teeth is when it becomes impacted. In some instances, your canines will lodge under the gums, and there is a high chance that it would not erupt the way it should. The tooth can break through later than expected, causing it to emerge in the incorrect position, typically behind or in front of the other teeth.

When your canine tooth emerges at the wrong position, fret not. There are alignment options that can assist you in correcting and making enough room for your canines to erupt smoothly. When treated early, the tooth will adjust on its own. Addressing this concern in the later years can make it more challenging and difficult to restore.


Canine Teeth and Gum Recession

Because of their prominent position, canines may be particularly worthy of attention, especially when brushing your teeth. According to the Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics experts, canines are among the most frequent gum recession sites, mainly due to excessive brushing, smoking, or gum disease.

Suppose you want to maintain your youthful smile and your overall oral health. In that case, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene without being too aggressive on your teeth.


Are Your Canine Teeth Too Large?

As mentioned earlier, canine teeth can grow significantly more than the rest of our teeth types. While it can be a significant aesthetic issue, it can also affect regular teeth function. If you believe your canine teeth are oversized, there are various treatment options available to resolve your concern.


Identifying the Concern

It is vital to note that there are times when the actual teeth aren’t the only aspect responsible for the issue. You might believe your canines are too large, but this issue might be something else. In most cases, a crooked or misaligned lateral incisor is one of the most prevalent causes. As a result, the canine tooth may look significantly more prominent. For these circumstances, your dentist might suggest adjustments to improve your teeth’ visual proportion.


Contouring Oversized Canine

fixing canine teeth concernsSuppose your dentist confirms that your canines appear to be larger than average. In that case, contouring is a possible solution. The process involves grinding a part of the canine to reduce its size. Since the procedure means scraping off the tooth itself, the enamel can become affected. Therefore, it is best to seek an experienced orthodontist to ensure the best results as the treatment can be a little sensitive.

Nonetheless, the canine teeth contain the most enamel. So, you can still have a good amount of protection to keep your canine tooth healthy despite the reduction.


Adjacent Teeth Adjustment

In other instances, experts prefer enlargement of the adjacent teeth rather than contouring the canine itself. It is actually the best solution as to not affect the teeth’ function and health. There are many methods to adjust the size of these neighboring teeth. Still, the most popular ones are done through porcelain veneers and dental bonding.

  • Dental Bonding. Enlarging teeth using dental bonding is a quick and straightforward process. If you are not into invasive procedures, this is the best choice among other options. It only involves a slight scratch on the teeth that requires bonding. Doing so will aid in the bonding’s adhesion to the teeth. The bonding substance is then molded to produce the replacement tooth, which begins off as a putty. Finally, the material hardens by exposure to a specific light. This is a low-cost approach that may be accomplished in a single visit. However, it may not be as durable or stain-resistant as that of porcelain veneers.
  • Porcelain Veneers. These are thin ceramic coverings that are bonded to the front portion of your teeth. To make a place for the veneers to fit, the dentist must remove some natural tooth material. After making an impression of your teeth, the lab creates a specialized veneer for your teeth. Veneers take longer to apply and are more costly, but they endure longer and are stain-resistant.


Taking Care of Your Canine Teeth

If you want to achieve healthy canine teeth, it could require a lifetime of effort and patience. Even if you have been told to have a lovely set of teeth, it is still essential not to take them for granted. Maintaining proper oral practice is necessary to avoid any issues. This entails choosing the appropriate dental care products and being mindful of your habits.


Observe Proper Brushing Techniques

Brushing your teeth well is just as essential as brushing them at all. To eliminate plaque, take your time and use the right toothbrush in gentle, circular strokes. Leaving out plaque might cause it to become rigid, leading to the formation of calculus and gingivitis. Furthermore, avoid brushing too hard as it can result in gum recession and other problems.


Drink More Water

Water is indeed the most acceptable beverage for your oral health. As frequently as possible, experts advocate making a habit of drinking water, especially after each meal. Doing so can help wash away some of the unpleasant effects of sticky and acidic meals and beverages.


Maintain A Healthy Diet

Sugar eventually breaks down into acid in your mouth, which erodes the enamel of your teeth. These are also responsible for cavity formation. Teeth enamel can be scraped off by acidic fruits, drinks, and coffee. While you don’t have to completely avoid certain meals, it’s always a good idea to set limits to prevent overconsumption.


Visit Your Dentist Regularly

maintain canine teethYour oral care routines have a significant role in your overall health, but that is not enough. Even the most diligent brushers and flossers need to visit their dentist regularly. It is necessary to see your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings as much as twice a year. A dental professional will not only check for cavities or remove calculus formation, but they will also help you address possible sources of concern. They can detect oral problems and avoid worsening the condition by providing early intervention and suggesting the necessary treatment options.


A Word of Advice

Because of their pointed appearance and length, our cuspids are among the most recognizable human teeth types. Cuspids are bigger and stronger than incisors, having roots that go deep into the jawbones. They play a considerable function in our oral health but are mainly used for grabbing and shredding food. Therefore, issues connecting our canine teeth can cause significant interruptions to our day-to-day routine.

If you want to prevent these situations from occurring, it is essential to keep those vampire teeth as healthy as they should be. Proper brushing techniques and implementing other oral hygiene procedures are the most excellent ways to take care of your teeth. From these simple acts, you can go a long way towards improving your overall health.



Frank, C. (August 2019). Can receding gums grow back? What to know.

Brichford, C. (August 2017). The 4 Types of Teeth and How They Function.

Teeth Development in Children.

Watson, S. (May 2018). What Are the Different Types of Teeth Called?

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