milk teeth

Milk Teeth: Dental Care For Infants And Toddlers

Milk teeth are the first set of teeth in the growth development of humans

There is no doubt that everything related to infant's teeth, from the popularly known "milk teeth" (or baby teeth) to the permanent set, is surrounded by a wide variety of myths. For example, it is very common for a series of symptoms to surround the imminent arrival of milk teeth, which in reality have nothing to do with the actual teeth.

Therefore,  having all the information about your baby's teeth is very important, especially if you have children aged between 1 and 3 years old.   Discover everything you need to know about your little one's teeth in this Healthy Way Mag article. 


What are milk teeth?

Known popularly as  "milk teeth," temporary teeth, deciduous teeth, or baby teeth are those that remain in the child's mouth for a limited time until the secondary, or permanent teeth finally replace them. The reality is that milk teeth are essential for both the health and the development of the child, and they have interesting functions:

  • maintain the appropriate space in the jaws while permanent teeth grow under the gums
  • help the child chew
  • help the child talk
  • help the child smile
When do milk teeth come out?
How to care for milk teeth

When do milk teeth come out?

Many pediatricians and dentists agree that  the infant teething process usually begins after the fifth month of life. However, it is most common for it to take place between the sixth and the eighth month of age when they begin to erupt from the gums and to become more visible. However, there are babies whose teeth may take a little longer to come out, a fact that should not be cause for concern since every child is different and develops at a different pace. 

Thus, it is common that at the age of 3 years most children have a complete set of 20 baby teeth, usually starting with the central incisor and following in the order detailed below:

  • 6-10 months: Lower central incisor

  • 8-12 months: Upper central incisor

  • 9-13 months: Upper lateral incisor

  • 10-16 months: Lower lateral incisor

  • 13-19 months: First upper molar

  • 14-18 months: First lower molar

  • 16-22 months: Upper canine

  • 17-23 months: Lower canine 

  • 23-31 months: Second lower molar

  • 25-33 months: Upper second molar


As we can see, although it is true that each child is different,  the most common emergence pattern in milk teeth is related to the upper and lower front of the mouth.



Dental care for milk teeth 

Many times, because these teeth are temporary, many parents don't often pay due importance or attention to their care.  However, as many pediatricians have stated, milk teeth are as essential as permanent adult teeth. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to take care of them. When a baby tooth falls out too soon, the permanent teeth may move into the space that has been left empty.

It can then cause a shortage of space, and the rest of the teeth won't have space at the time of erupting, resulting in crooked teeth. Hence,  infant dental care is as fundamental as it is crucial. Nowadays, it is very common for children aged 4 or 5 years to have cavities in their temporary teeth, caused by inadequate dental hygiene over a long period.

Moreover, if we don't practice dental hygiene as soon as the first teeth come out, cavities can and will develop. Despite the popular belief, the truth is that we must begin to care for and clean the baby's teeth from the first moment they start erupting. How can we do this? Continue reading below:

First few months

Some children don't get their first baby tooth until 12 or 14 months of age; sometimes the four small front teeth often erupt from the gums at six months of age. Begin cleaning your baby's mouth during the first few days after. Place a clean gauze pad or a soft cloth over your finger and dip the gauze in water so that it's damp, but not soaking wet.  Wipe your child's teeth and gums gently. When your child's teeth start coming in, begin to use a small, soft toothbrush to brush their teeth.

Under 3 years
Babies experience pain when their milk teeth start coming out.

Under 3 years

As soon as the first baby teeth start to come out, start brushing them gently using a special brush for infants, and a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste (it is advised not to be more than the size of a grain of rice). Dentists recommend brushing your child's teeth twice a day, preferably in the morning and at night.



Between 3 and 6 years

At this age, it is normal for the child to have some curiosity about trying to brush his or her teeth alone. If so, encourage them to do so by always supervising them, and reminding them that they should not swallow the toothpaste.  During this stage it is advisable to brush your child's teeth carefully twice a day, using a quantity of fluoride toothpaste not larger than the size of a pea.


In addition to maintaining proper dental hygiene, it is advisable to make the first visit to the dentist from the time when the primary teeth begin to erupt. During this visit, the dentist will check whether or not there are possible bottle cavities, whether there have been alterations in the position of the teeth or their growth, or if there are any periodontal conditions.


  • This article about "Milk Teeth" was originally published in Spanish in Viviendo La Salud