Our mouth and teeth allow us to make different facial expressions, form words, eat, drink and start the digestion process. The mouth is essential for speaking. With your lips and tongue, your teeth help form words by controlling the flow of air out of your mouth. The central and lateral incisors are mainly used for biting and cutting, and canine teeth are mainly used for tearing food.
You may be wondering why baby teeth are important, since they will one day fall out of your mouth. Baby teeth have many important functions in the mouth. They are needed to eat, talk and smile. Baby teeth help maintain space in the jaws for adult teeth.
Your child will lose their first baby tooth around age 6, when the adult's teeth begin to enter the mouth. If your child loses a baby tooth too soon, talk to your child's dentist about options to maintain the correct space in the mouth so that the adult tooth comes out normally. Starting at age 6, baby teeth begin to “wobble” and fall out to make way for adult teeth. They are believed to be called wisdom teeth because they appear later in life, when a young person grows older and wiser.
Other permanent teeth, such as incisors, canines and premolars, erupt in the gaps in the gums that leave baby teeth lost. Around age 21, the average person has 32 permanent teeth, including 16 on the upper jaw and 16 on the lower jaw. Most people have four teeth (called wisdom teeth) that grow in the back of their mouth when they are between 17 and 25 years old. The following chart shows when your child's primary teeth (also called baby teeth or deciduous teeth) should come out and come off.
Research also suggests that teething gels may not relieve teething pain, but that massaging it on the gum is what helps. The last baby teeth that appear in the mouth around age 3 are found in the back of the mouth, in the upper jaw. This removes food and plaque (sticky material that can cause tooth decay or gum disease) that get stuck between your teeth. A third of your teeth are hidden under your gums, which means it's just as important to take care of them as the part of your teeth you can see.
Tooth decay in early childhood is a cavity that affects the primary teeth in children younger than 6 years of age. Start brushing your child's teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when he or she is 3 years old. For each set of four teeth, there are two teeth in the upper arch (one on each side of the mouth) and two in the lower arch (one on each side of the mouth). Teething takes about 8 days, including 4 days before and 3 days after the tooth comes out through the gum.
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