Everything You Need to Know About Your Child's Baby Teeth

Milky sitting and hugging a tooth.

When Do Baby Teeth Appear?

You may be looking at that gummy smile and wondering when you’ll see a flash of white, but the truth is that the age when infants receive their baby teeth (also known as milk teeth) can vary.

Tooth buds are actually created while the baby is still in the womb, so your little one already has everything they need to get those pearly whites. In fact, it’s estimated by the British Dental Association that one in every 2,000 babies is born with teeth, but for most youngsters you’ll start to see some movement between three months and one year of age.

How Many Milk Teeth Will My Baby Have?

It might seem amazing, but over the next two to three years, your baby will have 20 teeth emerging – no wonder they dribble! From those incisors in the centre of the mouth to the larger canines and molars, these teeth will allow your child to get to grips with the world of food.

Of course, once they’re in it doesn’t feel long before we’re wondering when these teeth might fall out. But by the time baby teeth start to fall out, they’re no longer babies any more.

It all begins again around the age of six years old, when your child starts to lose their milk teeth and slowly make room for adult teeth. With a larger mouth, there is now extra wiggle room to accommodate a total of 32 adult teeth. And when your child gets to their late teens and early twenties, their wisdom teeth will begin to settle.

Which Baby Teeth Come in First?

It can often be a race to see whether your baby’s top teeth or bottom teeth come in first, and sometimes they’ll even meet in the middle. Usually they come in a pair; if you can see one
flash of white there is usually a second close by.

You might be wondering what order your baby’s teeth are meant to appear in. Teeth often start from the inside and work outwards, so those incisors (four on the bottom and four on the top) should make an appearance between the ages of six and 16 months, with molars joining from around a year old. Canines make an appearance at around 16 months and will make it much easier for your baby to enjoy solid foods. Finally, the second molars will often settle in between 20 and 33 months old – depending on whether they are in the upper or lower set of teeth.

How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth?

Amazing – your baby’s first teeth are here! You might find that they want to celebrate by chomping everything in sight, even your fingers… Which makes this a perfect time to introduce their first toothbrush. At this age, it is really important to find a soft toothbrush with multiangled bristles that won’t upset their gums and that has a chunky handle for a firm grip. Ideally, you should start a brushing routine as soon as their teeth come through.

The best way to achieve a good brushing routine is with a toothpaste dedicated for baby teeth, which cares for the slightly thinner enamel while still fighting decay. While you’ll be doing most of the brushing at first, getting your baby used to a routine will encourage them to become independent and value the importance of brushing their own teeth. Once they get past the age of three, they’ll need a new toothpaste that can offer a little more protection for that enamel, like the Little Teeth toothpaste for children between three and five years old.

Things to Look Out For

While a new tooth is always cause for celebration, without proper brushing your child could end up suffering tooth decay. Tooth decay is the number one reason why children aged between five and nine are admitted to hospital. To avoid a similar fate, you should aim to brush your baby’s teeth twice a day replacing the toothbrush when it starts to wear out around every 3-months.

There are lots of ways you can make brushing attractive to kids, from our special song and tooth brushing app, to a dedicated tooth brushing chart once they get a little older. It’s important to remember that brushing teeth is something you can do right from baby’s first tooth, which means they will soon get used to the sensation and taste of toothpaste. Before long, they’ll be doing it for themselves!

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Lilly and Milky having fun during teeth brushing time.