About Kids’ Teeth

We have two sets of teeth during life: 20 temporary baby teeth and 32 permanent adult teeth.

Birth – 3 Years Old 3 – 6 Years Old 6 – 12 Years Old 12 – 17 Years Old 17 – 21 Years Old

Birth – 3 Years Old

The 20 baby teeth that will appear in the first 3 years of your baby’s life are already there at birth, in your baby’s jawbones. Baby teeth are key for chewing, speaking and appearance. They also hold space in the jaws for upcoming adult teeth. Even though they fall out, your child’s baby teeth are important, and you need to take good care of them.

Learn about Baby Tooth Decay

3 – 6 Years Old

From around ages 3 - 6, most children have all 20 baby teeth come in.

Protect your kids’ teeth by brushing for 2 minutes, 2 times a day with a fluoride toothpaste for kids 2 and older.

Learn about Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers

6 – 12 Years Old

From around ages 6 - 12, children gradually lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth start to appear.

The first adult teeth to come in are molars. These first molars are important because they help shape your child’s face and affect the position and health of the other adult teeth that are about to arrive.

Learn about Preventing Kids' Tooth Decay

12 – 17 Years Old

Cavities aren’t just for little kids—you can get them at any age. When you eat sugary foods and drink sugary sodas, juice or energy drinks, you put yourself at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Good oral hygiene is especially important for people wearing braces.  And it’s always important to wear a mouthguard when playing sports like basketball, soccer, football and hockey.

17 – 21 Years Old

The last teeth to appear are wisdom teeth at around ages 17 – 21. By age 21, all 32 of the adult teeth have usually appeared.

Learn about Nutrition

Baby Tooth Decay Is Real

As soon as teeth appear in your baby’s mouth, it’s possible for your baby to develop cavities. It is important to keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth.

Keep Baby’s Gums and Teeth Clean

Begin cleaning your baby's mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe your baby's gums with a clean gauze pad. This removes plaque and food, and helps your baby become used to having its gums and teeth cleaned – and it will make tooth brushing easier later on.

Brush the teeth of kids over age 2 with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste.

Baby Teeth Are Important

Kids need strong, healthy baby teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for permanent teeth.

If a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth beside it may drift into the empty space. When it's time for the other permanent teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded. Starting your babies off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for life.

Baby Teeth Decay

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they show up - usually around age 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers usually occurs in the upper front teeth, but it can also occur in other teeth. In some cases, infants and toddlers have experienced decay so severe that the teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed. The good news – decay is mostly preventable.

What Are Cavities?

Causes of Decay

Tooth decay begins when cavity-causing bacteria is passed to an infant. For example, if you put your baby’s spoon or pacifier in your mouth and then put it in your baby’s mouth, cavity-causing bacteria is passed to the baby.

Another cause of tooth decay in babies is frequent or long exposure to liquids that contain sugar, such as fruit juices, soda or other sweetened liquids.

To Bed Without a Bottle

It’s also important to put your baby to bed WITHOUT a bottle. Sugary liquids from a bottle pool around the teeth while the child sleeps. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food. They then produce acids that attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks these liquids, acids attack for 20 minutes or longer. After these attacks, the teeth can decay.

Pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey or sweetened liquids can also lead to tooth decay since the sugar or honey can provide food for the bacteria’s acid attacks.