The milk teeth accompany your child through the first ten years of its life. The twenty milk teeth do not all grow at once but erupt one after the other. Teething is accompanied by fever, infections, and bad moods in most children.
When does the tooth come? And when do the first teeth fall out again? You will find answers to these questions in this article.
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What Is The Difference Between Milk Teeth And Adult Teeth?
Before your child gets his adult permanent teeth, the milk dentition grows. The twenty-first teeth are called milk teeth. Ten of them are in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw.
So that’s four milk incisors on the top and four milk incisors on the bottom, two milk canines on the top and two milk canines on the bottom, and four molars each. Molars are the molars.
The milk teeth are smaller and softer than the teeth of the permanent dentition, and they erupt in the same order in most children. But not in all of them. What should you know about your child’s dentition?
Humans are no different from other mammals in this regard: Your child’s first teeth erupt at the tender age of a few months. The milk teeth, like the permanent teeth, are already in place in the jaws before your child is born.
However, not all milk teeth erupt at once. They grow one after the other over the course of several years. As soon as they have all broken through, the first milk teeth fall out again. They make room for permanent teeth. However, it takes a good two decades for the permanent teeth to grow completely.
The permanent teeth accompany your child for the rest of its life, and it consists of a total of 32 teeth. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We explain to you what you should know about your child’s milk teeth, in which order the milk teeth erupt.
The Milk Teeth Need Care: Caries Is Contagious
When you clean your child’s first teeth with a toothbrush, this is initially a playful affair. At this age, your child is still being fed mainly on milk, either because you are breastfeeding it with breast milk or using formula milk.
For dental care, it is sufficient if your child roughly rubs the first teeth once or twice a day with a soft silicone brush. The milk teeth have very little enamel: they are no more than 1 mm thick.
Later, the enamel is twice as thick. The mineral content of the enamel is also lower in milk teeth than in adult teeth. Because of this thin and fragile enamel, the primary dentition is much more susceptible to caries than the permanent dentition.
Caries refer to bacteria that do not directly destroy teeth. The caries bacteria feed on sugars and carbohydrates. When these carbohydrates are digested, the bacteria release acids that attack and gradually destroy tooth enamel.
The enamel normally protects the tooth substance. Once the enamel is destroyed, these acids attack the tooth itself – creating small holes that are difficult to clean. Caries bacteria are tiny, they are located in the spaces between the teeth, on the attacked surfaces, and on the edge of the gums.
In other words, everywhere where the toothbrush cannot reach well. This is because food residues collect in the places that the toothbrush misses and with them the carbohydrates on which the bacteria live.
Caries, like any bacterial infection, are contagious. Once the bacteria have infected one tooth, the rest are no longer safe either. Important to know: Caries can spread from the primary dentition to any tooth in the permanent dentition that is erupting.
Where Do The Bacteria Come From?
Caries bacteria are transmitted from person to person. This happens when you drink from the same cup with your child. If you share a toothbrush or if you let your child eat from your fork or spoon, you can also transfer the bacteria.
Even the pacifier can transmit the infection: You should never put your child’s pacifier in your mouth to clean it and then give it to your child. Even if you do not have an acute caries infection, the bacteria may still live in your mouth and attack your child’s sensitive milk teeth.
For this reason, your child should use his or her own eating utensils from the very beginning, drink only from his or her own bottle or cup, and use his or her own toothbrush. Make sure that your child does not share personal items with other children, such as siblings or friends.
This way you can avoid an infection with caries bacteria. Daycare centers and daycare parents also usually pay close attention to compliance with such basic hygiene measures.
The First Milk Teeth Grow At The Age Of Four Months
In most children, the first tooth erupts at around four to six months of age. Often the incisors below and above grow first, but the first tooth erupts below and becomes visible.
Then, alternating between the top and bottom, a tooth comes in every so often over the course of several months. Then the canines erupt when your child is about one and a half years old. The molars only come in after that. In many children, the milk teeth are complete by the age of two to three.
For some children, this can take longer. And of course it also happens that the milk teeth are not complete until the age of four – in some children, one or two incisors are already wiggling and making room for the permanent teeth.
Even though the majority of children get an incisor down first, this does not have to be the case with your child. The order in which milk teeth erupt and grow is not a law of nature. In fact, to this day we only know from experience at what age the first milk teeth erupt and in what order they usually do so.
The First Permanent Teeth Are Often Molars
The permanent dentition starts to grow around the age of six. In many children (not all), the first molars to erupt are those that do not exist in the primary dentition. So no milk tooth falls out, but the permanent tooth grows in a place where there was no tooth before.
As a result, many parents do not even notice the change from milk teeth to permanent teeth. But this is not a law of nature either: In other children, incisors actually wobble first and even fall out before the permanent molars grow.
The order in which the milk teeth fall out is not fixed and can vary. For many children, tooth change is complete by age eleven. Once all milk teeth have fallen out and been replaced by permanent teeth, permanent molars erupt once again.
And the last to grow are the wisdom teeth, which often only become visible in adulthood. However, not all people get wisdom teeth. In some, these teeth are not set.
The time of the first tooth eruption, the order in which the milk teeth and permanent teeth erupt, and the time of the tooth change are very different for each individual.
Normally, it is not associated with health problems if your child does not adhere to the usual sequence or teeth erupt earlier or later than other children. If you are unsure, you should visit a pediatrician and/or a pediatric dentist with your child.
Take Your Child To The Dentist Right From The Start
When you go to the dentist, your child doesn’t have to stay with grandma, go to the babysitter, or be at daycare. Just take him or her with you. Every dentist’s office has someone who can watch your child for a short time during treatment. It is important that your child experiences you at the dentist early on.
This way your child sees what happens at the dentist. Children who have been to the dentist with mom or dad (ideally both) from time to time as babies know the treatment rooms and the staff.
They are later relaxed at the dentist and are not afraid. The dentist can take a look inside your child’s mouth as soon as the first milk teeth erupt.
Your child usually sits on your lap. The dentist will be happy to answer your questions about the change of teeth. They will also be happy to explain to you what you should pay attention to when caring for your child’s teeth.
What Makes Healthy Teeth
There is a lot you can do to ensure healthy milk teeth and later healthy permanent teeth for your child. In fact, dental care is important from the very beginning – your child should get used to using a toothbrush as early as possible. However, dentists today also agree that good dental hygiene alone is not enough.
The latest research is that dental hygiene is only responsible for about 30% of dental health. The remaining 70% is attributed to nutrition. What should a diet for your child look like that guarantees healthy tooth growth from the first tooth?
Dentists advise against sugary drinks and drinks containing fruit juice. Your child should drink only water and unsweetened tea throughout the day. Of course, you can give your child a glass of delicious, freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast – but he or she should not drink juice spritzers or sodas at daycare or kindergarten.
Because what permanently damages tooth enamel is the permanent presence of sugar in the mouth. At mealtimes, your child should be given natural foods with no added sugar, if he or she is already eating by themselves. Fruits and vegetables as well as (whole grain) cereal products naturally contain sugar and taste sweet. That’s enough, the human body can’t handle more sugar in the long run anyway and stay healthy.
Hard foods like raw apples and carrots as well as nuts are perfectly fine for the teeth as long as your child can chew well. However, you must not give these things until your child stops choking on them.
Sweets are not completely forbidden, but should be limited to once a day. The sugar flood in the mouth should be over quickly and should not be permanent. Ideally, you should clean your teeth with your child after eating.
But please don’t do it right away: Immediately after eating, the tooth enamel is soft and attacked by the acids contained in the food. You should wait about fifteen minutes to half an hour after eating so that the pH value in the mouth neutralizes again.
Then you can clean the milk teeth with a toothbrush and, if necessary, a toothpaste suitable for children, without further attacking the enamel.
Extra Toothpaste For Children Must Be
Tooth enamel becomes more resistant when your child is sufficiently supplied with fluoride. The trace element is found in some foods, is often added to tap water and can also be added to household salt.
Too much fluoride is harmful to health because the body has to eliminate it. However, your child’s toothpaste should be fluoridated. This is because fluoride can act directly on tooth enamel when teeth are brushed.
However, your child should not swallow the toothpaste, but spit it out. Make sure that the fluoride content of the toothpaste is adapted to the age of your child. Too high a fluoride content can lead to stains on the teeth and discoloration.
As long as your child does not spit out the toothpaste and the foam produced during brushing, you can of course also use a fluoride-free toothpaste. In the beginning, you can of course brush your child’s teeth without toothpaste. Simple tap water is sufficient to moisten the toothbrush.
Small, Soft Toothbrushes For Small Children, About Medium-hard For Older Children
You will need to brush your child’s baby teeth until about age eight or nine, or at least check them regularly after brushing. This is normal. Because brushing teeth correctly requires outstanding motor skills, especially during periods of tooth change and with loose teeth.
Support your child as best you can. Soft and ultra-soft toothbrushes are recommended for young children, because children often cannot estimate their strength and can injure their gums with harder bristles. From about elementary school age, the toothbrush may then have a medium hardness.
The brush head should always be small enough so that your child can easily reach the molars without dislocating his or her jaw. Most children enjoy dental care and are happy to take care of the cleanliness and health of their mouths from the first milk tooth onwards.