Although newborn babies are born with tooth buds below the gums, most infants don’t get their first teeth until around six months old. At Bay Area Kids Dentist, new parents often ask us “How many baby teeth do children have?” The answer is 20. Most kids have all of their baby teeth, also called primary teeth or milk teeth, by age three. Starting around age five, these teeth start falling out one at a time. This happens because the permanent adult teeth grow underneath the primary teeth and push them out of the mouth.

From Baby Teeth to Adult Teeth

After the adult tooth has caused the baby tooth to loosen and fall out, it can take several months for it to grow in completely. This process repeats itself 20 times over the next several years. Additionally, children receive 12 more teeth by the time they are approximately 12 years old. These adult teeth remain in the mouth for the remainder of your child’s life unless a tooth is lost to trauma, dental decay, or it needs to be pulled as part of orthodontic treatment.

The 32 adult teeth include four wisdom teeth, which not all people get. These teeth grow in the far back of the mouth on the left and right sides of the top and bottom teeth. Because there is insufficient room for them and they serve no useful purpose, wisdom teeth are typically removed around age 18.

Instill Good Oral Hygiene Habits Early

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s not important to care for your child’s baby teeth because they fall out anyway. The oral hygiene habits your child develops now will last for a lifetime. When your son or daughter is still an infant, you should clean the teeth with a damp cloth until around age one. At that time, you can switch to a toddler toothbrush. Be sure to brush your child’s teeth twice per day until between two and three years of age when you can teach him or her to do it independently.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Bay Area Kids Dentist if you have additional questions about caring for your child’s primary teeth.