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How Many Baby Teeth Do Children Normally Have?

author image Erik Andrews
Erik Andrews began scientific and medical writing in 2004. His work as a second author on a research article appeared in the journal "Genetics" in 2005. His areas of expertise are the natural sciences, medical education and physical fitness. He earned a Master of Science in chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry, both from the University of Pennsylvania.
How Many Baby Teeth Do Children Normally Have?
A smiling young boy with missing teeth.

It is normal for kids to grow and lose their first set of teeth as they develop. There are normally 20 of these baby teeth, that grow out by the time a child is 2 or 3 and typically start falling out when he is 6. While many processes can influence the rate of baby tooth development, they do begin to appear at fairly regular ages, according to Medline Plus.

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The baby teeth also are known as milk teeth or primary teeth. They begin to develop before your baby is born, though they probably won't be visible until at least 6 months after birth. They grow in the same location that your child will have permanent teeth later in life, and help guide these permanent teeth to their proper positions. They carry out all the roles of permanent teeth for your child while the permanent teeth are developing.

Making their Arrival

The first baby teeth appear between the ages of 6 months and 1 year. The full set of 20 teeth is typically present by 2 1/2 to 3 years of age. Your child will have 10 teeth on both the upper and lower jaw. The baby teeth will begin to fall out when your child is about 6, signaling that the permanent teeth behind them are ready to appear. This process can last well into the child's adolescent years, and the full set of 32 permanent teeth might not finish growing until she is in her mid-20s.

What's What

There are three types of baby teeth: incisors or front teeth, canines and molars. According to Medline Plus, the incisors appear first, followed by the canines and then the molars, which start to appear in the second year of life. Your child will lose his baby teeth in this general order as well, from incisors to molars. This process is less regular, however, and teeth might fall out seemingly without order.


Since the baby teeth are essentially placeholders for the permanent teeth, your child's dentist might find that their placement indicates that the permanent teeth are not going to develop normally. If this is the case, she might suggest space maintainers to help create enough space in your child's mouth for all the permanent teeth. Since there are more permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth, than baby teeth, the baby teeth might not fully indicate exactly how well the permanent teeth will develop.

Taking Care

Although baby teeth are temporary, it is of critical importance that your child maintain and care for her teeth. Proper health of baby teeth will help improve the health of the underlying permanent teeth, and also will teach your child how to care for the permanent teeth when they arrive. Regular visits to the dentist are important for proper care of baby teeth.

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