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Six Names for Baby Teeth and Their Meanings

Baby TeethDentists often use many different words that all refer to the same thing.  Dentists say calculus when they mean tartar and radiographs when they really mean to say x-rays.  One interesting group of synonyms like this are used to describe a child's first set of teeth.  Here are six different names that are all used to describe our first set of teeth.

Six Names for Baby Teeth and Their Meanings

1. Baby Teeth

The first set of teeth are most often known as baby teeth.  This is because they start to come in around the age of six months, when you're a baby.

2. Primary Teeth

Primary means first.  Baby teeth are often called primary teeth since they are the first set of teeth that come into the mouth.

3. Milk Teeth

Long ago, people thought that babies' teeth grew in as a result of the mother's milk washing over the baby's gums.  This is how the first set of teeth became known as milk teeth.  Because this was so widely believed, many babies would be put to death if they were born with teeth, a condition known as natal teeth.

To learn more, read When Your Baby is Born with Teeth: Natal Teeth.

Deciduous Teeth

Baby Teeth - Like Leaves - Eventually Fall, Leading to their name of Deciduous Teeth

4. Deciduous Teeth

Remember learning about coniferous and deciduous trees in elementary school?  Deciduous trees lose their leaves.  Baby teeth are often called deciduous teeth because they fall out, similar to how a deciduous tree's leaves fall off.

5. Training Teeth

The first set of teeth are also called training teeth because they train the child to take care of the permanent teeth.  Although they are training teeth, sometimes it is still necessary to get dental work done on baby teeth in order to keep the permanent tooth healthy.

6. Temporary Teeth

Temporary teeth is the counterpart to permanent teeth.  Since the first set of teeth generally stay in the mouth for less than a decade, they are sometimes labeled temporary teeth due to the fact that they are eventually replaced by the permanent teeth.

Although baby teeth are "temporary" it is still important to take care of them.  Here are 5 reasons baby teeth are important.

Baby Teeth By Any Other Name Are Still Baby Teeth

Don't let your dentist confuse you — all of these terms refer to your child's first set of teeth!  Can you think of any other names for baby teeth?  I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!


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1 Comments |  Leave A Comment

  1. Nice little information, no one ever thinks about the reason behind the naming of baby teeth. Thanx for the info Tom.

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About Me

Tom, Creator of Oral AnswersHi, I'm Tom. I recently graduated from dental school and am now a dentist in Bridgewater, Virginia. I started this blog to help people take better care of their teeth. You can learn more about me or ask me a question.

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