Facts about Baby Teeth
Why are baby teeth so important? They’re only going to fall out.
Yes, baby teeth do eventually fall out, but they also serve some very important functions while they are in. Baby teeth are needed for:
- chewing and eating
- providing space for permanent teeth and guiding them into position
- allowing for proper jaw bone and muscle development
- for proper speech and having an attractive appearance.
When will my baby’s teeth come in?
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. Teething is variable among individual babies. Around six to ten months, the first lower center baby teeth usually make an appearance. Although all 20 baby teeth usually appear by age three, their pace and order of eruption may vary.
Permanent teeth begin appearing around age six, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately 21 years of age, if there is space for the third molars (wisdom teeth) to erupt in.
When do baby teeth fall out?
The front teeth (incisors) are usually lost between six to eight years of age, and the back teeth (canines and molars) are not lost until ages nine to thirteen.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries)
One form of serious tooth decay found in infants and toddlers is called “baby bottle tooth decay”. This is caused by frequent exposure to liquids that contain sugar, including milk, breast milk, formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks. If a young child is put to bed for a nap or at nighttime with any drink other than water, it can cause rapid and devastating tooth decay. The sweetened, sugary liquids can pool around the child’s teeth giving the bacteria in plaque the sugar they need to make acid and causes tooth decay. If feeding your baby at night, wipe the gums and teeth with a damp cloth, tooth wipe or toothbrush afterwards. During the day, for toddlers and older children using Sippy cups, offer water only between meals and save other drinks for meal and snack time.