7 curiosities about children’s teeth

We tell you 7 curiosities about children’s teeth that will help you to know and take better care of the teeth of the little ones.

Last update: 19 January, 2022

Children’s teeth contain curiosities and myths. For many parents it is a challenge to understand why the so-called “milk” elements exist and what should be done to take care of them.

Sometimes it is considered that it is not necessary to give importance to these structures of childhood, but that is a mistake. Children’s teeth require constant attention to avoid problems in the future.

It is also important to distinguish between myths and curious questions. The former are dangerous, since parents can be guided by them and make mistakes in an attempt to protect the oral health of their children.

So keep reading and discover these 7 curiosities about children’s teeth that, perhaps, you did not know.

1. Milk teeth are fewer than permanent teeth

Not everyone knows this or has not noticed the difference. But one of the curiosities about children’s teeth is that, when completing milk teething, there are 20 pieces. Meanwhile, adults have between 28 and 32 dental elements.

This difference of 4 in the adult or permanent dentition has to do with the appearance of wisdom teeth or wisdom teeth. If all 4 appear, then all 32 are completed.

This means that, once the dental replacement is complete, teeth will have appeared that do not replace any milk. What is the explanation? Well, it has to do with the size of the jaw.

As we grow, the lengthening of the jaw bones allows more space. So, in order to more accurately fulfill chewing functions, new teeth appear.

At 6-7 years, the dental elements that appear without replacing any of the milk are the first permanent molars. They come to occupy a space that was empty.

Then, around the age of 12-13, the second permanent molars appear. Like the previous ones, they do not replace any milk element.

During tooth replacement, the baby molars that fall out are replaced by the premolars. These dental pieces they are only present in the adult dentition.

Wisdom teeth will appear in late adolescence or adulthood. But this does not always happen and there are adults who lack them.

2. Children’s teeth are whiter

When the first permanent elements appear in the mouth of a child color differences with milk teeth are noted. The new ones are perceived more opaque.

You know why? To understand it, it is necessary to know the structure of the dental elements, which are made up of 3 layers: enamel, dentin and pulp.

The pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth. This does not influence the color of the element and is not visible from the outside. It appears in contact with the outside when a cavity penetrates too far or if a root canal treatment is performed, for example.

The middle layer is the dentin. Is It is essential to determine the color of a tooth.

Dentin is yellowish in color and can be seen translucently through the enamel, which is the outer layer. In children, the middle layer has fewer minerals and more organic substances, because it had a shorter formation process.

Then, milk teeth appear whiter compared to adult teeth because the dentin is less yellowish. Therefore, the white of the enamel prevails. The yellow tone is typical of adult teeth.

It is normal to notice color differences between items when children are replacing their teeth.

3. “Baby” teeth are named for their color and function

The technical name for children’s teething is deciduous. This is opposed to the permanent dentition of adults.

Why they are associated with milk with this name has several hypotheses. Sometimes the fact of age influenced; many others, the color.

One of the theories about the name is that they are elements that appear when the child is still nursing. Therefore, they would serve to improve the feeding process in infants.

It was also long believed that these structures were actually made of milk. Of course Today we know that this is not the case.

Also, as we explained in the previous point, the color of the deciduous dentition is whiter compared to the permanent one. This reinforces its resemblance to milk.

4. Children’s teeth are already at birth, even if they can’t be seen

Another of the curiosities about children’s teeth that few parents know is that the elements are already inside the jaw when the little one is born. They will then have a staggered eruption process.

In fact, there are babies who are born with one already erupted and these are known as natal teeth. The frequency of this phenomenon is approximately 1 in every 2000 births.

These natal teeth tend to be located in the lower region. Sometimes, if the dentist considers it appropriate, he will suggest extraction, so that breastfeeding is not difficult and there is no risk of aspiration of the element by accident.

As we have already anticipated, in most cases babies are born without teeth and follow an eruption process that has the following schedule:

  • Two lower incisors: they are the first to emerge, between 6 and 10 months of the child’s life.
  • Two upper incisors: appear between 8-12 months.
  • Upper and lower lateral incisors: they are completed between 9 and 16 months of life.
  • Upper and lower first molars: Before the canines, the first molars make their appearance on the surface of the gums between a year and a year and a half after birth.
  • Canines: the upper canines appear between 16 and 22 months, while the lower ones do so at about 2 years.
  • Lower and upper second molars: the last milk teeth that complete the deciduous dentition do so between 2 and 3 years of age.

These dates are indicative, but each child has their own rate of growth and development. Although these data serve to have parameters of normality, it is important to know that there may be delays that do not mean the existence of a pathology.

5. Teething does not cause a fever

It is assumed by a large part of the population of parents that the exit of the milk teeth will generate a fever in the little ones. But this is not so.

This is one of the curiosities about milk teeth that is rather a myth. The problem is that It can lead to confusion that affects the quality of life of children.

Fever is a sign that appears before pathological processes. If a baby is more than 37.5 degrees Celsius while one of his teeth erupts, it is more likely that he suffers from a respiratory or gastrointestinal condition, but not that the elevated temperature responds to the exit of the dental element.

There are children in whom temperatures between 37 and 37.5 degrees Celsius are recorded due to dental eruption, but this is a low-grade fever and cannot be considered pathological. Possibly it is due to the inflammatory process that accompanies the rupture of the gum so that the tooth appears on the surface.

It is also not possible to associate the rash with the presence of respiratory infections or diarrhea. Although many parents consider that there is an increase in bowel movements coinciding with the moment of tooth eruption, it is more likely to attribute these processes to other causes.

Those that are clear as symptoms and signs of teething in children are the following:

  • drooling.
  • Irritability and nervousness.
  • Irritation in the gums.
  • Compulsive urge to bite objects.


6. Baby teeth get sick

When parents and caregivers believe many of the myths that circulate about the deciduous dentition, they can be careless. This means that it is assumed that the milk teeth do not get sick, and that if they do, there is no need to worry, because then they will fall out.

This myth is dangerous. And it should not be a curiosity, but a knowledge of all adults, which Children’s teeth are capable of developing cavities.

Dental caries is the destruction of the hard tissue of the tooth by acids that are produced in the mouth. These acids arise from the metabolism of dietary sugar by bacteria that inhabit the oral cavity.

Slowly the acid demineralizes the tooth and the hole is formed exposing the internal tissues. It is understood, then, that poor hygiene and a diet rich in sugars are the main responsible for the pathology.

Brushing helps remove bacterial plaque. On the other hand, a healthy diet, low in sugar and ultra-processed, will limit the substrate used by microorganisms to produce acid.

A special situation is baby bottle tooth decay. This is a disease of the little ones are exposed from an early age to high amounts of sugars.

It happens when the pacifier or bottle nipple is soaked in sugary and very sweet substances, such as honey. Also when the child is allowed to fall asleep with the bottle in the mouth, without removing it. The situation is more serious if the bottle contains, for example, juices or juices.

This caries is of very rapid appearance and its aggressiveness is striking. It is usually located in the upper incisors.

Early caries from bottle misuse is aggressive and progresses rapidly.


7. Deciduous teeth fall out in an order

The replacement of the dentition begins between 5 and 7 years of age. It is a process that it has its chronology, like the appearance of baby teeth.

Although, as we clarified before, these parameters are not inflexible. Each child has their process.

The moment when the first elements loosen is a curiosity for the whole family. In some children there may be anxiety and fears of something new.

The first teeth to be changed are the lower incisors. and then the superiors. The baby molars are then replaced by permanent premolars. We have already said that adult molars do not have a deciduous tooth to replace, but instead appear at the bottom of the jaws in places that were empty.

Finally, the last replacements occur with the canines or canines and the second molars replaced by the second premolars, between the ages of 11 and 13. By the age of 13 it is expected that the definitive denture will be complete in its 28 pieces, not counting the strings.

Should we take our son to the dentist to remove the deciduous pieces? The truth is that in most cases a specialized consultation is not required.

Baby teeth loosen and fall out on their own. It is possible to help the process with small movements when it is noticeable that they are already loose.

It is an indication to visit the dentist for an extraction of deciduous elements when a part of it has broken, for example, or if it is not possible for them to fall out naturally, despite the passage of time. Professional intervention will also be necessary for malpositioned teeth, when the permanent ones begin to erupt out of place.

Knowing the curiosities about children’s teeth helps us take care of them

Taking care of oral hygiene is part of the general health approach from parents to children. The mouth is an important part of the body that it requires time and dedication.

If we know the curiosities about children’s teeth, then we are better prepared to prevent them from getting sick. Tooth decay is the most common pathology in childhood and can be prevented with proper brushing and diet.

Older children can also delve into these curiosities to learn more about their body. This will allow them to take care of themselves conscientiously and acquire habits for the rest of your life.

It is possible to have a healthy smile from an early age. And in the long run, reach adulthood with strong teeth.

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