As soon as parents learn that their little one is teething, they might wonder… which tooth will pop out first? And is there a handy baby teeth chart that I can refer to so it feels a little less unpredictable?
While we can’t tell you how your baby will handle teething (sorry—every kid is truly different!), we can tell you which teeth come in which order, and at what age to expect them!
When do babies start teething
Most babies begin teething around 6–8 months of age, and those teeth will usually emerge in a predictable order. However, babies are all unique, and some can get their first tooth as early as 3 months—or as late as 1 year.
Do yourself a favor and don’t sweat it. As long as your baby is happy and meeting other developmental milestones, he or she is right on track. (My children were always on the late side of teeth development, not getting their first one till 9 and 10 months!) If you still have concerns, talk to your child’s doctor.
How many teeth do kids have? How many baby teeth?
As you’ll see in the teeth diagram, by the time your child is 3, she should have all of her baby teeth, which includes:
- 4 central incisors
- 4 lateral incisors
- 4 canines, and
- 8 molars
- for a total of 20 baby teeth.
When babies begin to shed teeth at around 7 years, they will begin to get the full set of adult teeth (32 teeth, including wisdom molars).
Baby Teething Chart
If you’re wondering when your baby might be getting her first (or next) tooth, here’s a handy tooth eruption chart to help you figure it out.
Baby Teeth Schedule
When does baby get each tooth? And what are they for? We’ll tell you in this list.
These are typically the first teeth a baby will get. The lower central incisors come in around 6–10 months, while the upper central incisors come in around 8–12 months.
These first teeth are meant to help baby bite into and shear food into small pieces. Many parents delay solids until this first tooth appears or until 9 months of age if no tooth yet. However, the gums and jaws of babies are quite strong so they can enjoy pureed or very soft solids even before a tooth comes in. If she only has the bottom teeth, baby can use them to bite soft foods (like liver or egg yolk) by pushing the tooth against the top gums.
Some believe this is evidence that babies don’t need foods to be puréed—in lieu, these parents often opt for a more intuitive style of infant feeding, called baby-led weaning. With proper teeth for biting and cutting food, baby-led weaning supporters believe there is little reason to worry about choking. Additionally, they believe allowing baby to bite into appropriate foods gives her practice at using those teeth, learning to manipulate food in the mouth, and bringing food to the back of the mouth for swallowing.
These teeth typically come in second. The upper set tends to come in slightly earlier (9–13 months), while the lowers come in around 10–16 months. These teeth are also for biting and shearing food into manageable pieces, but both the central and lateral incisors are used for more than biting food. These teeth actually help keep the shape and form of your face. Your lips rest against your teeth, and without them, your face would sag (a bit weird to think about isn’t it?). The incisors also help you speak! If you try to say words with a th sound (like in birth), you’ll notice that you must press your tongue against your top incisors to make the sound. Finally, incisors help guide your jaw when you close your mouth.
Again, the upper canines come in slightly earlier, at 16–22 months, while the lower canines emerge around 17–23 months. Canines are sharp, pointy teeth that are used to bite and tear denser foods (like steak). Canines are at the corner of the mouth, bridging the front teeth with the back. They also help align the jaw when you close your mouth, keep your face shape, and help you speak. Additionally, canines are like corner-posts that help guide your teeth while you chew.
The first molar tends to come in before the canines, but not always. The first lower molar emerges around 14–18 months, while the upper first molar can come in anywhere from 13–19 months. Molars are used to grind and crush certain foods that are tough to chew otherwise, like seeds and hardy grains. In fact, some healthcare professionals believe you shouldn’t feed babies grains until the molars come in, as these teeth help baby to grind and break down grains to better digest them.
The second molars come in later. When life has settled down from teething, all of a sudden it’s back with a vengeance! The lower second molar pops out around 23–31 months, while the upper emerges at 25–33 months. Both sets of molars help support their face shape by filling out their cheeks, as well as support chewing grains, nuts, seeds and hard, raw produce like carrots and apples.
Baby teeth chart explained
Each child will develop differently, and that includes baby teeth order and time of emergence! However, they all come in a typical order and sequence—even if they vary somewhat from baby to baby.
So what’s the reason for this?
Some research shows that the emergence of teeth may indicate what foods would be good for baby to eat at that time. That makes sense too, since the role of the teeth—chewing!—comes at the beginning of the digestive process (right after our sense of smell and sight activates the salivary glands to release saliva and enzymes in the mouth in anticipation of food!).
How about you?
Did your kids’ teething fit in this order? What surprised you the most?