Tooth Eruption: A Reference for Parents
Baby Teeth—The First Set
It’s no surprise to most that baby teeth, on average, begin pushing through the gums between the ages of 6 months and 12 months. What most people do not realize is that our babies come into this world with a mouthful of teeth. Hidden in the jawbone, all 20 of these almost completely formed crowns gradually erupt throughout the first 2½ years of the baby’s life.
Order of Eruption
Since every child is unique, there is no exact formula for the eruption of your baby’s teeth. However, there is a window of time when most babies (and their parents) experience teething—the process by which an infant’s first teeth emerge through their gums. Interestingly, these baby teeth usually come in pairs, starting on the bottom.
|6-10 Months||–||Lower Central Incisors|
|8-12 Months||–||Upper Central Incisors|
|9-13 Months||–||Upper Lateral Incisors|
|10-16 Months||–||Lower Lateral Incisors|
|13-19 Months||–||Upper First Molars|
|14-18 Months||–||Lower First Molars|
|16-22 Months||–||Upper Canines (Cuspids)|
|17-23 Months||–||Lower Canines (Cuspids)|
|23-31 Months||–||Lower Second Molars|
|25-33 Months||–||Upper Second Molars|
The Emergence of Baby Teeth and Adult Teeth
Despite the fact that a child’s primary teeth are only around for approximately 12 years, their importance is paramount when it comes to preparing the way for their permanent teeth. We recommend parents make every effort to care for their child’s baby teeth so as to avoid decay that can damage the adult teeth as they’re developing underneath.
|As early as 6 months||–||Eruption of two upper and two lower teeth|
|Age 3||–||Completed eruption of full set|
|Age 6||–||Eruption of first adult teeth|
|Ages 6-7||–||Loss of first primary teeth|
|Age 12||–||All primary teeth have shed (fallen out)|
Reducing the Risk of Tooth Decay
From the moment your baby’s teeth begin to push through their gums, they are susceptible to tooth decay. Sometimes called Early Childhood Caries, Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Nursing Mouth Syndrome, tooth decay in babies and toddlers can destroy teeth. But there are clear steps parents can take to minimize the risk of their baby developing tooth decay and increase the likelihood that they’ll develop strong healthy teeth that aid in easy chewing and proper speaking.
- Avoid exposing your child to sugary liquids, especially for a long period of time.
- After feeding, wipe your infant’s gums with a wet cloth.
- Never dip your baby’s pacifier in sugar or honey.
- Only allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle if it contains water—all other liquids are harmful to the baby’s oral health.
- Ask us about our doctor recommended pacifiers.
- Begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they begin to appear.
- Around age 2, supervise your child’s brushing to ensure only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is being used and no toothpaste is being swallowed.
Caring for baby teeth is foundational to strong and healthy adult teeth, and our pediatric dental team is ready to partner with parents as we foster a passion for oral health in children from the start. Set up an appointment with us today! Call us at 703-417-9722 in Alexandria or 703-665-3810 in Sterling, Virginia.