Tooth Eruption

The teeth begin forming before your child is even born. The lower front teeth can start to come in as early as 4 months of age, but typically come in around 6 to 8 months of age. The timing can vary quite a bit even between siblings. However, all 20 primary teeth will normally have come in by the age of 3.

Permanent teeth start to erupt around age 6. The first ones to come in are usually the first molars in the back or the bottom two in the front. The process of losing teeth and having teeth come in will continue until around the age of 21, when the third molars erupt. However, as with the primary teeth, when the teeth come in will vary with each child.

It is important that as your child has teeth coming in, they are evaluated on a regular basis. By doing regular evaluations, we can make sure that your child's teeth are developing properly and give tips on how to care for their teeth. We've included charts that show when teeth typically erupt and when they are lost as your child continues to grow. These are just guidelines, though, so if your child doesn't follow this exactly, your child is more than likely still developing normally. If you do have questions or concerns, call our office and we can take a look for you and address any concerns that you have.

Eruption Charts

Primary Teeth Eruption Chart


Permanent Teeth Eruption Chart



Brushing & Flossing

Children's hands and mouths are different than those of adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new toothbrush about every three months.

Read more: Brushing & Flossing


When to Begin Brushing

child_brushingOnce your child's teeth begin erupting, you can begin cleaning them by wiping them with a moist washcloth. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child's toothbrush. You should use just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste until your child is able to spit it out (too much fluoride can stain their teeth).

Wipe infant's teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow, use a child's toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of toothpaste. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush where they miss. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth motion to remove plaque. When children are older, they can switch to this method.


For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:

  • Let your child brush your teeth at the same time.
  • Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with his favorite characters and giving him a choice of which one he wants to use each time (this will give him some feeling of control over the situation).
  • Let your child brush his own teeth first (you will likely have to "help out").
  • Share children's books about tooth brushing with your child such as, "Clarabella's Teeth" and "Brush Your Teeth Please."
  • Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time.
  • Create a "tooth brushing routine" and stick to it each day.

Importance of Baby Teeth

The first baby teeth come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby's teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2-1/2 years old.

At around 2-1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don't. Don't worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth, but they are important to chewing, biting, speech, and appearance.

For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.


Baby Bottle Caries & Breastfeeding

One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant's teeth to liquids that contain sugar.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) also known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a disease that causes severe rapid decay of baby teeth.

Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks. Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child's teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comfort at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won't fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle's contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.

Read more: Baby Bottle Caries & Breastfeeding



Care of Your Child’s Teeth

Begin daily brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth erupts. A pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough not to swallow it. By age 4 or 5, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day with supervision until about age seven to make sure they are doing a thorough job. 

Read more: Prevention


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