Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Tooth

Enamel projection that grows out of the jaws of vertebrates. Plural: teeth. Teeth usually consist of enamel, dentine, cementum, and a pulp chamber or cavity. Anatomically, a tooth is divided into a crown, a neck, and roots. It functions in mastication, speech, and swallowing. Humans develop two sets of teeth: the infant set of 20 teeth (the deciduous dentition) are replaced beginning at about six years by a permanent set of 32 in the adult dentition.

See dental formula. Although many primates, including humans, have generalized teeth, for the most part mammal teeth are highly specialized to perform particular functions, unlike the teeth of other vertebrates.

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