Join 82,866 users already on

Supplement to Teeth: Etymology & Glossary

3 364 exc
Avatar for Mictorrani
Written by   504
6 months ago

When I had finalised the articles of the series about teeth, human and animal, I realised that a glossary would be needed. So here it is, along with a brief comment on etymology. I might add to the glossary later, if there is need for that.

This is a supplement to the series:

1. Dentistry - A Modern Luxury? Why Do We Need It?

2. Preserve Your Teeth: Nutrients & Other Beneficial Substances

3. Take Care of Your Teeth: Hygiene, Prevention & Reparation of Damage

4. Animal Teeth, Sabre-Toothed Tigers & Dragon's Teeth


The etymology of "tooth" can be brought back to Sanskrit "dant". That led to Greek "odont" (used as a prefix as "odont-", e.g. "odontology"), Latin "dens" (used as a prefix as "dent-", as in "dentistry"), and to the word for "tooth" in most modern European languages.

"Odont" suggests a vowel that otherwise might have been lost. That would make Sanskrit "adant" (eater), or "ad" (eat), and lead to Latin "edere" - the same root as English "edible" and "eat", German "essen", Icelandic "eta".

A not too surprising etymological connection between teeth and eating!


Some terms that occur in the text of the articles, and some that do not, but are still pertinent to the subject.

baleen - A keratin structure with certain whales, instead of teeth, whose purpose is to filter out edible material, plankton and krill, from the water.

birch sugar - Another name of xylitol.

bunodont - Having a rounded cusp.

canine teeth - "Corner teeth", used to hold a prey, or as weapons in a fight. ALSO as visual symbols in a competition of dominance .

carnassials - Teeth of carnivores for the purpose of slicing meat and crushing bones.

carnivore - Meat eater, an animal that only eats animal food; for example cats, big and small.

Creodonta - An order of mammals. Extinct.

dental - Related to teeth. See also "Etymology" above.

dentition - How teeth are arranged in an animal.

Feliformia - A suborder within Carnivora. The word means "cat-like" or "of the form of a cat". It includes, of course, all cats, but also hyenas, viverrids, and other families - some extinct. [The only other sub-order of Carnivora is Caniformia, "of the form of a dog".]

fluoride - Strengthens the dental enamel. If ingested, inorganic fluoride inhibits certain important enzymes and can accelerate ageing. Use it to rinse your mouth, but do not swallow it.

forensic odontology - The identification of individuals on the basis of teeth or bite marks. A branch combining criminology and medicine. Odontology mainly deals with human teeth, but essentially the same techniques can be used in paleontology.

gizzard - A digestive organ found in birds, some fish and reptiles, and in certain invertebrates. A muscular pouch, sometimes with grit or stones, serving as a mill in the digestive process.

herbivores - plant eater, an animal eating only plants; for example all ruminators.

incisor - A tooth for the purpose of gnawing or cutting.

invertebrates - Animals which are not vertebrates. See vertebrates below.

Marsupalia - A subclass of the mammals. The word is derived from Latin "marsupium", pouch. This subclass includes for instance kangaroo, wombat, opossum, and koala.

mandible - The lower jawbone, the strongest bone of the face.

mandibular - Pertaining to the mandible. See mandible.

maxilla - The upper jawbone.

maxillary - Pertaining to the maxilla. See maxilla.

molars - The grinding teeth of many mammals. The word is derived from Latin "mola", millstone. Humans have three molars in each quadrant, totally twelve.

Mysticeti - Baleen whales; for example the blue whale.

Nimravidae - Extinct family of the suborder Feliformia. Can also be called "false sabre-toothed cats". Extant about 37-7 million years ago.

Odontoceti - Toothed whales; for example dolphins and porpoises.

Odontognathae - Toothed birds. Extinct. Superorder of the subclass Neomithes.

odontology - The study of teeth, their anatomy, structure and diseases.

omnivores - Animals eating food from both the animal and the plant kingdom; for example bears.

palaeontology - The study of prehistoric life.

taxonomist - Someone working with taxonomy.

taxonomy - The science of classification of organisms. (The word can be used for other classifications as well.)

thelodonts - A group of fish or fish-like, jawless vertebrates with tooth-like scales, which lived about 430-370 million years ago.

vertebrates - Animals with a backbone, a spinal column. Traditionally they are divided into classes: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Fish are sometimes divided into three separate classes (jawless, cartilaginous, bony), but that is of no importance in this context. Classification is never final anyway. Deviations exist, and there can be good reasons for that.

xylitol - A sugar alcohol and sweetener good for the teeth. It is alkalising and has a normalising effect on the microbe flora.

Copyright © 2010, 2018, 2021 Meleonymica/Mictorrani. All Rights Reserved.

Here you can find my articles about Teeth, about Health & Medicine, and about Palaeontology.

You find all my writings on Read.Cash, sorted by topic, here.

Also, please join my community: The Mechanisms of Health (d52e).

$ 9.92
$ 9.78 from @TheRandomRewarder
$ 0.10 from @Gemstone
$ 0.03 from @Hanzell
+ 1
Avatar for Mictorrani
Written by   504
6 months ago
Enjoyed this article?  Earn Bitcoin Cash by sharing it! Explain
...and you will also help the author collect more tips.


Is it true that the active carbon (charcoal) can whiten teeth? Some people are using lemon juice, but that can actually harm teeth due to acid.

$ 0.00
5 months ago

Active carbon can whiten teeth, yes. So can strawberries.

You are right about lemon juice, it's too acidic for that purpose. Strawberries are also slightly acidic, although not at all to that degree. Don't overdo it though. Active carbon is a safer alternative.

$ 0.00
5 months ago

Thank you! I heard about strawberries, but they're harder to get than both lemons and active carbon. 😀 thank you for the reply!

$ 0.00
5 months ago