Babies start to develop their teeth when they are growing in the womb. These first teeth (also known as milk teeth or deciduous teeth) start to emerge through the gums at around six months. This process is known as teething.
Most children will have their full set of first teeth by the time they are two-and-a-half to three years of age. A full set of first teeth contains 20 teeth in total.
As your child gets older, their permanent adult teeth will start to appear. Adults can have up to 32 permanent teeth.
Permanent teeth develop in the jaw. They press on the roots of the first teeth and dissolve them so that the first tooth falls out and the adult tooth can come through. This process normally begins at around 6-7 years of age.
Most children will have the majority of their permanent teeth by the time they are 13 years old. However, after this time, some people find that their wisdom teeth emerge in the back of their mouth. This usually happens between 18-25 years of age.
If a permanent tooth is damaged or has to be removed, it will never grow back. This is why it is very important that your child is taught how to take care of their teeth.
It is important to be aware that all children develop at different rates. Therefore, don’t worry if your child doesn’t develop adult teeth at the age you expect them to.
However, see the dentist if you are concerned in any way about the development or your child’s teeth or about their general oral health.
Caring for your child’s teeth
It’s important that you help care for your child’s teeth right from the start. As soon as your baby’s teeth begin to emerge, they can be affected by tooth decay, so start cleaning their teeth as soon as they appear.
Getting your child into a good oral health routine at a young age will help ensure that they continue to have good oral health when they are older.