Molars are large, broad teeth located at the back of the mouth used for grinding and chewing food. Read on to learn about the structure and functions of molars and their importance in dental health.
What Are Molars?
Molars are teeth located in the back of the mouth used for grinding and chewing food. They are larger and wider than other teeth and have a large surface area for better mashing of harder foods. Molars are an essential part of our teeth and perform an important function in the digestive system.
Types of Molars
There are three types of molars – first molars, second molars, and third molars. First molars are the largest teeth located at the back of the mouth and erupt in early childhood. Second molars erupt in early adolescence and are slightly smaller than first molars. Third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, typically erupt in early adulthood, but not everyone has them.
Functions of Molars
Molars are important for breaking down food into smaller pieces, making it easier to ingest and digest. The large surface area of the molars ensures proper mastication and mixing of saliva with food, which helps in the digestion process. Additionally, molars also help maintain the vertical dimension of the face, support the cheeks and lips, and assist in phonetics.
Maintaining Healthy Molars
Proper oral hygiene is the key to maintaining healthy molars. Regular brushing and flossing help remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, routine visits to the dentist can help detect any issues with molars or other teeth and enable prompt treatment.
Issues with Molars
Molars are prone to several problems, including cavities, gum disease, impaction, and malocclusion. Impacted molars occur when the tooth fails to emerge from the gum line, leading to swelling, pain, and discomfort. Malocclusion, also known as a bad bite, happens when molars do not line up correctly and can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and uneven wear and tear on the teeth.
Molars are a crucial part of our dental health and play an important role in the digestive system. By maintaining proper oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly, we can ensure our molars remain healthy and functional for a lifetime.