How many teeth in your mouth (and what do they mean)?
Holding onto baby teeth
There are normally 32 in an adult human mouth, and each of them has their own emotional and psychological associations which can help us to understand why one tooth is vulnerable to decay when another isn’t.
The gummy smile of a newborn baby hides the secret of their adult appearance. We are born with the buds of all our baby teeth (aka milk teeth or deciduous teeth) AND our adult teeth (aka permanent teeth) lying in wait inside our gums.
Baby teeth start to emerge after a few months, causing sleepless nights for many parents. It takes a couple of years for all 20 baby teeth to come through. They start falling out at about 6-7 years old, in the same order that they came in.
Not everyone loses all their baby teeth on time, in order, or ever. Baby teeth that won’t budge may force the adult teeth to come through at odd angles in the gum, sometimes causing much more serious problems than ‘shark teeth’.
A physical reason for baby teeth that won’t budge may be that the jaw is too narrow and the teeth are too crowded for the adult tooth to push the baby tooth out of the way.
There may also be emotional or psychological factors influencing baby teeth to stay put, for example a child’s reluctance to grow into the expectations and responsibilities that come with maturity.
The wisdom of teeth
With 32 teeth, adults have many more teeth than babies because our jaws are bigger and there’s more room for more teeth. However, diets heavy in grains and light on teeth healing nutrients make for narrow jaws and crowded teeth.
Some people don’t ever grow 4 wisdom teeth (aka third molars), possibly an evolutionary response to the narrowing of our jaws in agricultural cultures. I started adulthood with 31 teeth because I only had 3 wisdoms and they were impacted- not growing in straight – which was why they all got extracted in my early 20s.
It’s common to have wisdom teeth to cause a world of trouble in the back of our mouths (like the naughty kids at the back to the class). They can even disrupt the alignment of our front teeth as they jostle for space in our gums.
Dentists are often very proactive about extracting wisdom teeth, even when they are not causing problems. The rationale is that the later in life wisdom teeth are extracted, the worse the complications.
However, wisdom teeth play an important role in the energy system of the body, particularly the expression of our individuality. I wish I still had mine.
Wisdom teeth sit on the Heart Meridian so the metaphysical associations with these teeth include emotions of loneliness, grief, inhibition and humiliation. It’s not surprising that these are common problems for young adults around the age wisdom teeth emerge.
In Dr Michèle Caffin’s framework the upper right wisdom tooth relates to the way we try to communicate with the material and spiritual worlds. The top left wisdom relates to a fear of rejection. The lower right wisdom is aligned with the energy of our physical body. The lower left wisdom reflects how we express our feelings with the people around us.
How many teeth give you grief?
There is no right or wrong number of teeth for us to grow. Some people are gifted with more than 32, many of us grow fewer.
The important thing is to keep our teeth healthy and strong throughout our lives. When a tooth is extracted as a result of decay, infection or gum disease, the metaphysical influences underlying our symptoms remain unresolved.
The purely physical responses by dentistry to teeth and gum problems, such as fillings, root canals and extractions can leave us vulnerable to ongoing issues in that part of the mouth or on in the rest of the body connected to that Meridian.
For a deeper understanding of the emotional, psychological, spiritual or ancestral factors that might be influencing your symptoms download the Psychosocial Teeth Chart for FREE.