Milk Teeth

Deciduous teeth, otherwise known as milk teeth, baby teeth, temporary teeth or primary teeth, are the first set of teeth in the growth development of humans and many other mammals. They start to form during the embryonic phase of pregnancy. These teeth will continue to form until they erupt in the mouth at the age of approximately six months and continues until twenty-five to thirty-three months of age. The full set of milk teeth is twenty: five per quadrant and ten per arch.

The deciduous teeth will remain until a child is about six or seven. At that time, the permanent teeth start to appear in the mouth. The erupting permanent teeth push down on the roots of the milk teeth causing the roots to be dissolved and become absorbed by the forming permanent teeth. The process of shedding deciduous teeth and the replacement by permanent teeth may last from age six to age twelve. By age twelve there usually are only permanent teeth remaining.

Deciduous teeth are considered essential in the development of the oral cavity. The permanent teeth replacements develop from the same tooth bud as the deciduous teeth; this provides a guide for permanent teeth eruption. Also the muscles of the jaw and the formation of the jaw bones depend on the primary teeth in order to maintain the proper space for permanent teeth. The roots of deciduous teeth provide an opening for the permanent teeth to erupt. These teeth are also needed in the development of a child’s ability to speak and chew their food correctly.

Various cultures have customs relating to the loss of deciduous teeth;

In the United Kingdom the tooth is put under the pillow of the child who lost the tooth. When the child wakes up, the tooth fairy will have turned it into a coin.

In Mexico the child goes to bed with the baby tooth under their pillow. A mouse, not a fairy, takes it during the night. She leaves some money.

In Austria, you either make the baby tooth into a pendant head, a key ring, or throw the upper tooth under the house and the lower over the roof.

In Korea If it is a lower baby tooth, throw it up onto the roof; and if it is an upper tooth, throw it underneath the house. It is done so that the upper tooth grows healthy downwards, while the lower tooth upwards.

In Mongolia the baby tooth is given to a young dog. In Mongolia, the dog is respected and is considered a guardian angel. The baby tooth is put in the meat fat and it is fed to the young dog. When the guardian angel eats it, it is said, that a strong tooth will grow.

Now I wonder what they ever did with mine?

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7 thoughts on “Milk Teeth

  1. grannymar it is interesting to read about the different traditions; the tooth fairy put some of my children’s teeth in little pots which I still have!!

  2. What the Tooth Fairy Does With All Those Teeth?

    (based on an unscientific study conducted on the tooth fairy experts – kids!)

    • Builds a castle up in the sky
    • Throws them away
    • Uses them for money in tooth fairy land
    • Turns them into fuel for her car
    • Her horse eats them for treats
    • Plants them in her garden and grows children
    • Makes jewellery with them
    • Turns them into seashells for fish to live in
    • Makes sparkling clothes out of them
    • Grinds them into fairy dust and sprinkles it on herself; that’s the magic that makes her fly
    • Gives them to elves and gnomes to turn into gems for the fairies
    • I don’t know
    • Puts them into a museum

    Any of these answers do, Grannymar?

  3. Chris ~ I never heard of that before.

    Steph ~ ‘Grinds them into fairy dust and sprinkles it on herself; that’s the magic that makes her fly’ really appeals.

  4. Me too! I’d love to get my hands on some fairy dust and spread a bit of magic around 😉

    Don’t you just love the honesty of kids – except when it hurts!

  5. Steph I love the way little ones look at you and say what they think in a very uninhibited way.

  6. I have a nephew with decidedly wiggly front teeth at the moment. They’ll get the pillow treatment and a two dollar coin but what happens to the rest? I only ever remember the tooth fairy visiting three or four times . . .I think I must have swallowed them!

  7. Baino it is so many lifetimes since my milk teeth fell out, I have no memory of it at all.

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