Milk Teeth: What You Should Know


It is a joy to see babies flashing their gummy smiles but once their pearly whites start appearing in their mouths, their smiles become even more beautiful to behold. But do you know why they are called milk teeth? Read on and find out other facts about your baby's teeth.

*Milk teeth are so called because these teeth resemble the color of milk. They are whiter than adult teeth. They are also called primary teeth or deciduous teeth.

*There are a total of 20 milk teeth in a baby's mouth and the first tooth usually comes out at 6 moths of age, give or take one or two months.

*These teeth follow a sequence of eruption with the two lower front teeth (central incisors) coming out first and the second molars coming out last. A full set of milk teeth should be present in your baby's mouth when he/she is about 2 1/2 - 3 years old. The pattern of eruption may differ from one child to another.

*Milk teeth fall off when the permanent or adult teeth beneath them are ready to come out. Normally, the two lower central incisors are first to go when the child is approximately 6 years old. One or two other milk teeth come out in succession every year with the baby molars falling off last at roughly age 10 to 13 years old.

*Nursing-bottle caries happen to milk teeth, usually those in front and at the back, because babies who fall asleep while bottle-feeding do not swallow the last mouthful of milk. This makes the teeth immersed in milk which eventually causes decay.

*Milk teeth are oftentimes not given that much importance by some mothers because they reason that those teeth will fall off anyway and be replaced by the permanent set of dentition. However, milk teeth are of utmost importance because they help in maintaining good nutrition by allowing the child to chew properly. These teeth also aid in development of proper speech. They maintain the space needed by their permanent counterparts.

*The very first dental appointment of a child should take place as soon as the first milk teeth erupt. Appropriate oral hygiene instructions will be given to the mothers to prevent early childhood caries or tooth decay. Twice-a-year check up is highly recommended for  most children to help them stay cavity-free.

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