baby teeth

Baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth or primary teeth, are the first set of teeth that appear in infants and young children. These teeth are very important as they help with proper speech development, chewing, and the alignment of the permanent teeth that will eventually replace them. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about baby teeth, from when they start to emerge to how to care for them.


When Do Baby Teeth Start to Emerge?

Baby teeth typically begin to emerge between six and twelve months of age, although some children may experience teething earlier or later than this range. The first teeth to come in are usually the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors. Over the next few months, the remaining incisors, canines, and molars will emerge.

By the time a child is three years old, they will typically have a full set of baby teeth, which includes twenty teeth in total. This set of teeth will remain in place until they start to fall out, usually around the age of six or seven years old.


Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

Baby teeth serve several important functions in a child’s overall health and development. Here are some reasons why baby teeth are crucial:

  • Speech Development
  • Chewing
  • Jaw Development
  • Appearance


Speech Development

Baby teeth play an essential role in speech development. They help a child learn how to pronounce words correctly by providing a surface for the tongue to press against.


Baby teeth are essential for chewing and breaking down food into smaller pieces that can be easily digested. Proper digestion is crucial for a child’s overall health and growth.

Jaw Development

Baby teeth also play a crucial role in jaw development. They help guide the permanent teeth into their proper positions, which ensures a proper bite and alignment of the jaw.


Baby teeth also contribute to a child’s appearance. They help fill out the face and provide a healthy, full smile.


Baby Teeth’s Number, Order of Eruption, and Intervals

Children typically have 20 baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth or primary teeth. These teeth usually erupt in a specific order and at specific intervals, although there can be some variation from child to child.

The general order of eruption for baby teeth is as follows:

  1. Lower central incisors (bottom front teeth)
  2. Upper central incisors (top front teeth)
  3. Upper lateral incisors (the teeth next to the top front teeth)
  4. Lower lateral incisors (the teeth next to the bottom front teeth)
  5. First molars (back teeth used for grinding)
  6. Canines (pointed teeth next to the lateral incisors)
  7. Second molars (back teeth used for grinding)


The intervals between eruption can also vary, but typically the first teeth start to come in around 6 months of age and the last teeth usually emerge by around age 2-3.


How to Care for Baby Teeth

Caring for baby teeth is crucial for a child’s overall health and well-being. Here are some tips on how to care for your child’s baby teeth:

  • Start Cleaning Early
  • Brush Regularly
  • Limit Sugary Foods
  • Visit the Dentist
  • Consider Dental Sealants


Start Cleaning Early

Even before your baby’s teeth emerge, you should start cleaning their gums with a soft cloth or gauze pad after each feeding. This will help remove bacteria and prevent infection.

Brush Regularly

Once your baby’s teeth start to emerge, you should start brushing them twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. You can introduce toothpaste once your child is old enough to spit it out, usually around the age of two years old.

Limit Sugary Foods

Sugary foods and drinks can contribute to tooth decay, so it’s important to limit your child’s intake of these items. Stick to healthy, nutritious foods and drinks, such as fruits, vegetables, and water.

Visit the Dentist

Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health. Your child should see a pediatric dentist for the first time by their first birthday, and then every six months after that.

Consider Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are a protective coating that can be applied to your child’s molars to help prevent cavities. Talk to your child’s dentist to see if sealants are a good option.


What Happens When Baby Teeth Fall Out?

As mentioned earlier, baby teeth will typically start to fall out around the age of six or seven years old. This is a natural process that happens as the permanent teeth start to emerge. Here are some things to keep in mind when your child’s baby teeth start to fall out:

  • Don’t Force It
  • Keep Brushing
  • Prepare for Tooth Fairy Visits
  • Watch for Permanent Teeth


Don’t Force It

Baby teeth will fall out on their own, so there’s no need to force them out. If your child is worried or anxious about losing a tooth, reassure them that it’s a normal part of growing up and that a new, permanent tooth will soon take its place.

Keep Brushing

Even though baby teeth are falling out, it’s still important to keep brushing and flossing your child’s teeth. This will help maintain good oral health and ensure that the new permanent teeth come in properly.

Prepare for Tooth Fairy Visits

Losing a tooth can be an exciting time for children. Consider setting up a special tradition, such as a visit from the Tooth Fairy, to make the experience even more memorable.

Watch for Permanent Teeth

As your child’s baby teeth fall out, the permanent teeth will start to emerge. Keep an eye out for any issues, such as crooked or crowded teeth, and talk to your child’s dentist if you have any concerns.

In some cases, baby teeth may need to be extracted due to tooth decay or other issues. If this happens, it’s important to talk to your child’s dentist about the best course of action.



Baby teeth may seem small and unimportant, but they play a critical role in a child’s overall health and development. By taking proper care of your child’s baby teeth, you can help ensure that they have a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come. Remember to start cleaning your child’s teeth early, brush regularly, limit sugary foods, visit the dentist, and prepare for the eventual loss of baby teeth. With the right care, your child can have a healthy, happy smile that will last a lifetime.

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