Baby teeth. Eruption. Development. Importance

“Baby teeth”, also known as primary or temporary teeth, are an essential part of a child’s oral development. These teeth are the first to appear in the mouth and play a crucial role in the subsequent development of permanent dentition. In this article, we will explore the process of baby teeth development, their importance for children’s health, and tips for their proper care.

Development of Baby Teeth

The development of baby teeth begins during prenatal life and continues into the child’s early years. Here is how this development unfolds:

Eruption of Baby Teeth:

The first baby tooth typically emerges around the age of 6 months, but the normal eruption range can vary from 4 months to 1 year.

In total, children develop 20 baby teeth, known as the “temporary dentition.”

This eruption process continues until around the age of 3.

Order of Eruption:

Baby teeth erupt in the following order: the first are the two lower front teeth (lower central incisors), followed by the upper central incisors, lower lateral incisors, and so on.

The wisdom tooth, also known as the “6-year-old tooth,” is the last baby tooth to appear at around the age of 6.

Importance of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are not just temporary; they play a crucial role in the subsequent development of permanent dentition and overall children’s health. Here are some key aspects related to the importance of baby teeth:

Chewing and Nutrition:

Baby teeth allow children to properly chew food, contributing to better digestion and efficient nutrient absorption.

A healthy dentition helps children adopt a varied and balanced diet.

Language Development:

Baby teeth aid in the correct formation of sounds and speech, influencing a child’s language development.

Guide for Permanent Teeth:

Baby teeth act as guides for permanent teeth, establishing space and alignment for them.

Premature loss of a baby tooth can lead to alignment issues with permanent teeth.

Aesthetics and Social Interaction:

Healthy baby teeth contribute to a beautiful smile and boost a child’s self-confidence.

Dental problems can impact children’s social interactions.

Caring for Baby Teeth

Proper care of baby teeth is essential to keep them healthy and ensure the correct development of permanent dentition. Here are some tips:

Regular Cleaning:

Start cleaning the first tooth with a soft toothbrush and water as soon as it erupts.

Around the age of 2, begin using children’s toothpaste under adult supervision.

Healthy Diet:

Limit the consumption of sugary foods like candies and carbonated beverages.

Encourage the consumption of calcium-rich and fiber-rich foods such as dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.

Regular Dental Visits:

Schedule dental visits from a young age to monitor dental development and prevent potential issues.

As we know, baby teeth begin to develop during the embryonic stage. The mother plays a crucial role in the development of her child’s teeth by maintaining a healthy diet.

The mother’s diet should contain adequate amounts of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, should not be administered to the mother during pregnancy as it can harm the developing teeth of the child.

There are four stages of baby teeth development:

The first stage begins during embryonic development, around 6 weeks. This is when the basic structure of the tooth forms.

Next, the tissue surrounding the tooth forms, around 3-4 months of pregnancy.

After the child is born, the next stage occurs when the tooth erupts through the gum.

Finally, through the process of resorption, the root of the baby tooth is gradually absorbed as the permanent tooth erupts.

There are many misconceptions that baby teeth are not important, leading many parents to neglect their care. The idea that baby teeth will eventually fall out and therefore do not require attention is widespread but incorrect.

It is true that baby teeth have a temporary existence on the dental arches, and within a few years after their eruption, they will naturally become mobile and fall out. The first baby tooth becomes mobile at the age of 6, and the last one at around 12. Due to this fact of replacement, too little attention is often given to their care and treatment.

From a medical perspective, it is important to promote and emphasize the idea that baby teeth are indeed very important!

Frequently Asked Questions about Baby Teeth:

Are baby teeth important?

Baby teeth are important because:

a. They allow the child to chew and digest food correctly.

b. They contribute to the development of correct speech.

c. They establish space and alignment for permanent teeth.

d. They ensure a healthy smile and self-confidence.

Baby teeth maintain the necessary space for the eruption of permanent teeth on the dental arch. The premature loss of baby teeth can lead to misalignment over time, necessitating orthodontic treatment. One of the main causes of premature loss of baby teeth is dental caries.

All 20 baby teeth should be free of cavities (caries). Properly cared for and maintained, baby teeth provide a child with the comfort and pleasure of chewing any delicious food. If they become diseased, baby teeth will cause pain when consuming sweets, fresh fruit, hot soup, or cold ice cream.

Consequently, if a single temporary tooth hurts, the child will not be able to eat healthily and will not seek the pleasure of taste through chewing. They will try to minimize contact with the painful tooth, often swallowing food nearly unchewed.

In the absence of healthy chewing, which plays a crucial role in self-cleaning, baby teeth will accumulate tartar and bacterial plaque, which will eventually lead to the development of cavities on other baby teeth or even permanent ones during the mixed dentition period.

The maxillae (mandible and upper jaw) on which baby teeth sit receive growth and development stimuli during chewing. Without normal chewing, the maxillae will remain underdeveloped to accommodate the 32 permanent teeth. The risk of misalignment increases, with teeth erupting crowded or impacted, ultimately requiring orthodontic intervention.

Can baby teeth be kept healthy?

Yes! Parents are primarily responsible for keeping baby teeth in good health. For this, they need to know or, if they don’t, inform themselves from a specialized source about how to prevent cavities in baby teeth. A child should have their teeth brushed by parents until the age at which they can tie their own shoelaces. It is considered that before this moment, the child does not have enough dexterity to correctly brush their teeth on their own.

Can baby teeth be protected, sealed, and treated?

Yes, depending on their occlusal relief, the depth of the pits and fissures, and their degree of retention, baby teeth can be sealed to reduce the chances of carious processes developing. Parents should periodically take their child to the dentist, starting from the eruption of the first baby tooth. Neglecting simple cavities in baby teeth can expose the child to their complications and to a typically negative dental experience before the age at which they can understand the need for dental intervention.

What are baby teeth?

Baby teeth, also known as temporary or primary teeth, are the first teeth that appear in a child’s oral cavity. These teeth are temporary and are later replaced by permanent teeth.

How do baby teeth develop?

The development of baby teeth begins during prenatal life and continues into the child’s early years. The first baby tooth typically appears around 6 months of age, and a total of 20 temporary teeth form during the early years.

What is the order of baby teeth eruption?

Baby teeth erupt in a specific order. The first to erupt are the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors, lower lateral incisors, and so on. The last baby tooth to appear is the wisdom tooth, also known as the “6-year-old tooth,” which typically erupts at around the age of 6.

How should baby teeth be cared for?

For the proper care of baby teeth, it is important to:

a. Begin cleaning as soon as the first tooth appears using a soft toothbrush and water.

b. Use children’s toothpaste under adult supervision at around the age of 2.

c. Limit the consumption of sugary foods and promote a healthy diet.

d. Schedule regular dental visits to monitor dental development.

What happens if a baby tooth becomes decayed or is lost prematurely?

If a baby tooth becomes decayed or is lost prematurely, it can affect the proper development of permanent teeth. It is important to consult a dentist to assess the situation and discuss treatment or protection options for permanent teeth.

When do baby teeth start to fall out?

Baby teeth typically start to fall out around the age of 6-7 and continue to shed throughout adolescence as they are replaced by permanent teeth.

What happens if baby teeth are not properly cared for?

Neglecting the care of baby teeth can lead to dental caries, infections, alignment problems with permanent teeth, and other complications. It is essential to pay attention to oral hygiene and make regular dental visits to prevent such issues.

Proper care of baby teeth is crucial for healthy oral development and ensuring a strong foundation for a child’s permanent dentition.


Baby teeth are an important part of children’s development, significantly impacting oral health, nutrition, language development, and social interactions.

By providing proper care for these teeth and scheduling regular dental visits, parents can contribute to the healthy development of permanent dentition and the overall well-being of their children.

It is essential to give special attention to these temporary teeth because their importance goes beyond their limited lifespan.

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