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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It is easy to take our teeth for granted, as we use them every day. It is also easy to think of our teeth as a monolith. However, there are in fact four different types of teeth that we as humans have: canines, incisors, premolars, and molars. Are the four types of teeth created equal in terms of utility, aesthetics, health, and general popularity? Let’s find out. 

In order to judge the types of teeth based on the general population’s opinion rather than just my own opinions, I engaged in science and surveyed my Instagram followers on the four types of teeth, based on their usefulness, aesthetics, the necessity of medical intervention, and general popularity. 10 respondents reported their thoughts. 

The questions I asked were:

  • Which is the most useful tooth type? Least useful?
  • Which is the most aesthetic tooth type? Least aesthetic?
  • Which tooth is least susceptible to needing medical intervention? Most susceptible?
  • Which is your favorite tooth type? Least favorite?

Respondents were asked to choose one tooth type for each of these 8 questions. For each of the four metrics, I gave a 1 to the type that was best for that metric, and a 4 to the type that was worst for that metric. I then averaged the score for each tooth across the 4 metrics. This means that the tooth type with the highest score is the best tooth type, and the tooth with the lowest score is the worst. The following results show how the four types of teeth truly rank against each other:

I Want Proof


In the first place are canines. Their job is to tear food apart. 100% of respondents reported canines as their favorite tooth type. Additionally, canines were the most popular choice for the most aesthetically pleasing tooth type. Not one respondent listed canines as being the most susceptible to medical intervention, and they came in just behind molars in terms of usefulness. Canines are ultimately the best tooth type.


In second place are molars, which are used for vigorous chewing. 54.5% of respondents reported that molars are the most useful tooth type. However, a large 63.6% of respondents chose molars as being the tooth type that is most susceptible to needing medical intervention. Molars can be so problematic because of their cusps. Although these cusps aid in grinding food, bacteria can easily hide in the cusps. Not one respondent chose molars as the most aesthetic tooth type, which also may be due to the cusps in my opinion. 


In third place are incisors. A healthy 36.4% of respondents chose incisors as the most aesthetically pleasing tooth type. However, not one respondent chose incisors as being the most useful tooth type. The incisor’s role of slicing food as we bite into it may not be as important to respondents as the roles of other types of teeth. 


In last place are premolars, similar to molars, sit in the mouth between the canines and molars. They mash food, and, similarly, help tear food. Premolars ranked last in the aesthetic category and were chosen by not one participant as their favorite tooth type. However, they are considered somewhat useful, with 18.2% of respondents ranking them as the most useful tooth type. 

Although canines seem to be the most widely loved tooth, there is a pretty even spread regarding the types of teeth that people don’t like. Incisor criticism includes, “[Screw] incisors <3 respectfully.” Molar criticism includes, “I remember the pain of my molars coming in, [screw] a molar.” Premolar criticism includes, “premolar bad.” Not one respondent reported canines as their least favorite tooth type. 

There are some characteristics of my study that encourage us to proceed with caution in interpreting these results. For example, we cannot assume normal distribution due to the small sample size. In addition, the results may not be representative of the general population’s views, due to the voluntary response bias of asking my 77 Instagram followers to complete my survey and only 10 responding. 

What I’ve learned from these findings is that people have more opinions on teeth than I had originally thought. In addition, many people are in agreement in terms of certain aspects of teeth. I was surprised to find that canines are the unanimous favorite tooth, as I had originally thought that molars would be. More widely, these results show that when prompted, we have more opinions on certain topics than we realize. When asked, the survey’s respondents had strong feelings about certain teeth that they may not have expressed otherwise. I am now inspired to investigate the opinions of my peers on many more topics. 

Miranda is a fourth year linguistics major. She enjoys playing sudoku, roller skating, and brie.
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