The old-fashioned name for baby teeth is “milk teeth,” presumably because they grow in while the baby is still nursing, each tooth one milestone closer to the inevitable solid food and weaning of the child. The dentist name for them is “deciduous,” like trees that lose their leaves every fall and grow them anew in spring. The name suggests renewal and rebirth. But, unlike trees, children only shed and regrow their teeth once, a reminder of the fleeting nature of childhood and the impermanence of life itself, and that second chances are doled out rarely.
Please go here to read the rest of my essay, "Memento Mori" at Mutha Magazine. Thanks!