milk tooth


: a temporary tooth of a young mammal that in human dentition includes four incisors, two canines, and four molars in each jaw : baby tooth, deciduous tooth
Whereas most mammals retain their milk teeth for months, some bat species lose these teeth soon after birth and have adult dentition even before they are weaned. Rick A. Adams and Scott C. Pedersen
… a restless, rambunctious boy, who at the beginning of the year had lost two front milk teeth that still showed no signs of being replaced by adult ones. Edwidge Danticat

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Finlayson said the team had also found the milk tooth of a Neanderthal around 4 years old, and hypothesized that they could have been dragged into the cave by a hyaena. Jeevan Ravindran, CNN, 30 Sep. 2021 Relatives came in and out, helping with the children and watching as Youssef grew milk teeth and Samer went to school and adjusted to life in a strange country. Greg Betza, Washington Post, 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'milk tooth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1738, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of milk tooth was in 1738

Dictionary Entries Near milk tooth

Cite this Entry

“Milk tooth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

milk tooth


: one of the first temporary teeth of a young mammal that in human beings number 20

called also baby tooth, deciduous tooth

Medical Definition

milk tooth


: a temporary tooth of a young mammal
especially : one of the human dentition including four incisors, two canines, and four molars in each jaw which fall out during childhood and are replaced by the permanent teeth

called also baby tooth, deciduous tooth, primary tooth

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