Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots
Oral health centre
Select An Article

Dental health and your child's teeth

From the first baby teeth poking through, to milk teeth falling out and adult teeth growing in their place, a lot goes on in the mouth over a lifetime.

Teeth grow and fall out at different times for each child, but the first teeth begin to break through the gums at about 6 months of age.

Usually, the first two teeth to erupt are the two bottom central incisors (the two bottom front teeth). Next, the top four front teeth emerge. After that, other teeth slowly begin to fill in, usually in pairs - one each side of the upper or lower jaw - until all 20 teeth (10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw) have come in by the time the child is 2 ½ to 3 years old. The complete set of primary teeth is in the mouth from the age of 2 ½ to 3 years of age to 6 to 7 years of age.

 

Primary teeth development chart

Upper teeth

When tooth emerges

When tooth falls out

Central incisor

8 to 12 months

6 to 7 years

Lateral incisor

9 to 13 months

7 to 8 years

Canine (cuspid)

16 to 22 months

10 to 12 years

First molar

13 to 19 months

9 to 11 years

Second molar

25 to 33 months

10 to 12 years

 

 

 

Lower teeth

 

 

Second molar

23 to 31 months

10 to 12 years

First molar

14 to 18 months

9 to 11 years

Canine (cuspid)

17 to 23 months

9 to 12 years

Lateral incisor

10 to 16 months

7 to 8 years

Central incisor

6 to 10 months

6 to 7 years

 

Other primary tooth eruption facts:

  • A general rule of thumb is that for every 6 months of life, approximately 4 teeth will erupt.
  • Girls generally precede boys in tooth eruption
  • Lower teeth usually erupt before upper teeth
  • Teeth in both jaws usually erupt in pairs - one on the right and one on the left
  • Primary teeth are smaller in size and whiter in colour than the permanent teeth that will follow
  • By the time a child is 2 to 3 years of age, all primary teeth should have erupted

Shortly after the age of 4, the jaw and facial bones of the child begin to grow, creating spaces between the primary teeth. This is a perfectly natural growth process that provides the necessary space for the larger permanent teeth to emerge. Between the ages of 6 and 12, a mixture of both primary teeth and permanent teeth reside in the mouth.

Why is it important to care for baby teeth?

While it's true that baby teeth are only in the mouth for a few years, they play a vital role.

  • They reserve space for their permanent counterparts.
  • They give the face its normal appearance.
  • They aid in the development of clear speech.
  • They help attain good nutrition (missing or decayed teeth make it difficult to chew causing children to reject foods).
  • They help give a healthy start to the permanent teeth (decay and infection in baby teeth can cause damage to the permanent teeth developing beneath them).
     
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 05, 2016

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
79x79_causes_of_fatigue_and_how_to_fight_it.jpg
Causes of fatigue & how to fight it
period_questions_answered
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman sleeping
Sleep better tonight
girl_sneezing_into_tissue
Treating your child's cold or fever
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning and organising tips
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
cold sore
What you need to know