A healthy and well-functioning dentition is im-portant during all stages of life since it supports essential human functions, such as speaking, smiling, socializing and eating. Teeth help to give the face its individual shape and form.
The normal set of teeth comprises 20 primary teeth, which are replaced by 32 permanent teeth. Tooth eruption begins when babies are around 6 to 10 months old, usually starting with the lower primary incisors. By the age of two and a half, all primary teeth have erupted.
Healthy primary teeth maintain the space for their permanent successors developing in the jaw underneath. Their premature loss, from tooth decay or injury, often results in loss of space for their successors and may lead to crowding problems with the permanent dentition.
At about six years of age, the lower permanent incisors and the first permanent molars erupt. The transition period from primary to perma-nent dentition typically lasts from 6 to 12 years of age. By age 21, ideally all 32 permanent teeth have erupted.
During the life course teeth and oral tissues are exposed to many environmental factors that may lead to disease or even tooth loss. Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common oral diseases, yet they are largely preventable.
Proper self- and professional oral care, combined with a healthy lifestyle and avoiding risks, such as high sugar consumption and smoking, make it possible to retain a function-ing dentition through life.