In our lifetime, we have two sets of teeth. Baby teeth (milk teeth or deciduous teeth) are the first set of teeth to appear in your child’s early life. The second set are the adult teeth (permanent teeth). There are 20 baby teeth altogether and they begin to erupt around 6-8 months and continue to progressively erupt up to 3 years of age.
Children lose their baby teeth which are replaced by adult teeth typically starting at 6 years up until 13 years of age.
Which Teeth Are Baby Teeth?
Baby teeth are the first set of teeth to erupt in the mouth and are smaller and sharper. Comparing them to the adult teeth they will appear whiter and shorter. Their enamel layer (hard outer layer) is also thinner than in adult teeth (which makes them more vulnerable to dental decay).
Why Do We Have Baby Teeth?
• They create and reserve space for adult teeth that are growing under the gums.
• They give shape and definition to the face.
• They help your child learn to speak and pronounce words correctly.
• They play a role in good nutrition because your child can chew solid food easily.
• They give adult teeth a healthy start.
Sometimes a baby tooth can be lost (removed) earlier than expected (due to decay), causing the teeth behind to drift forward into the gap. This causes space
loss and crowding of the teeth as there is no longer enough room for the adult teeth to come through. That’s why it is important to form good oral hygiene habits from a young age to protect the teeth and keep them healthy until they are ready to come out naturally.