The following dental information pages answers your questions
on teeth, milk teeth and various aspects of children's dentistry.
Does the pregnant woman's diet affect the child's
Prevention of dental problems should ideally start during pregnancy. The
pregnant woman should have wholesome and nutritious diet that would help
in proper development of the growing foetus. The expectant mother should
also have a diet that is rich in calcium to ensure the healthy development
of the baby's bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium are cheese, milk,
yogurt, leafy vegetables and dairy products. Good diet during pregnancy
ensures to healthy teeth and bones in the child.
Can medicines taken during pregnancy
affect the teeth?
There are certain medicines and antibiotics that should be avoided during
pregnancy. These drugs can cause defective development of the developing
foetus. Tetracycline antibiotics when consumed by pregnant women cause permanent
brownish grey staining of the child's teeth. Thus self-medication should
be avoided during pregnancy and medicines taken after consultation with
At what age should I first consult the dentist?
It is a good idea to consult the dentist by six months of age when the
first milk teeth are expected to emerge into the oral cavity. Regular visits
to the dentist every 6 months will help in giving adequate preventive care
to the child that will aid in preventing dental decay. If there are any
cavities it is good to undertake the treatment at an early stage. These
regular visits are advised even if you think the baby's teeth are healthy.
These regular visits also helps the child get used to the idea of visiting
the dentist before he needs any treatment to be administered.
What are milk teeth?
Humans have two sets of teeth. The teeth that appear first are called the
milk teeth or deciduous dentition or the primary teeth. These teeth are
later shed off and are replaced by permanent set of teeth called the permanent
Why are the milk teeth called so?
Milk teeth are called so due to their white color which resembles the color
of milk. The milk teeth are whiter than the permanent teeth which replace
them. The refractive index of milk teeth is similar to that of milk and
hence they are called so.
What age do the teeth start appearing?
The milk teeth start appearing at 6 months of age. It is quite normal for
them to erupt a few months earlier or later. The first milk teeth to appear
is the lower front tooth called the lower central incisor. However the order
of eruption of different teeth may vary in some children. The diagram on
the left gives the usual order of appearance of the milk teeth. However
the order may differ in some children.
Is it normal for the teeth to erupt late?
It is quite normal for the teeth to erupt 3-6 months later than the expected
time. However delay beyond 6 months may be an indication that you should
consult your dentist. The dentist would try and determine the cause of the
What are natal and neonatal teeth?
Very rarely we come across babies who are born with one or more teeth.
Teeth that are seen at birth are called natal teeth while teeth that appear
within a month of birth are called neonatal teeth. These teeth are retained
unless they are very mobile or pose major problems in nursing.
At what age do the milk teeth fall off?
All the milk teeth erupt by 3 years of age. The milk teeth are shed from
6 years onwards till about 10 years of age. The permanent teeth appear by
6 years of age. Between the ages of 6 - 9 years the child has some milk
teeth as well as some permanent teeth This period is called the mixed dentition
period. By about 12 years all the milk teeth should be shed off and replaced
by the permanent teeth.
Why do milk teeth become mobile?
As the permanent teeth start emerging they wear off the roots of the milk
teeth. Thus the milk teeth loose their support in the bone and become mobile.
The milk teeth are ultimately shed off and are replaced by the permanent
Are spaces between teeth normal in children?
It is normal to find the milk teeth in children to be spaced. These spaces
between the teeth help later in accommodating the bigger permanent teeth.
Thus absence of spaces between the milk teetin children may be a fore warning
that the child may not have adequate space to accommodate the bigger permanent
teeth which may erupt in a crowded arrangement.