When your child got their first tooth, the age is etched in your memory like it was yesterday.
It all started with the goofy smile that they sported back then. Over the course of their childhood, you have witnessed the eruption of all 20 of their primary teeth. And now that your child is a little bit older, there is a new landmark event to look forward to: the process of their teeth falling out.
When exactly do children start to lose their baby teeth? And as a parent, what steps can you take to get ready for an event of such great significance? Here is everything that you need to know about it.
When Do Kids Start Losing Baby Teeth?
When your child was between six and 12 months old, their first teeth started to erupt through their gums. When they turn three, the entirety of the set ought to have been put in place. And now that it’s been a few years since then, you’re curious about the age at which children typically lose their baby teeth.
In a nutshell, the majority of young children experience their first signs of tooth loss between the ages of five and six. However, this is a gradual process, and it will take your child somewhere between seven and eight years before all of their primary teeth have fallen out.
When the permanent teeth of your child begin to erupt, there will be an additional twelve of them in total. Adults indeed have 32 permanent teeth, and by the time they are teenagers, your child should have all of their permanent teeth in place.
How Many Teeth Do Children Lose?
Every human being has 20 baby teeth and 32 adult teeth. We lose 20 baby teeth during childhood, which are replaced by stronger, bigger, and longer permanent teeth. Children lose their first baby tooth around the age of six, and their final baby teeth fall out between the ages of twelve and thirteen. “Succedaneous” teeth are permanent teeth that replace baby teeth. The 12 adult teeth that remain (aside from the 20 that replaced the baby teeth) are the first, second, and third sets of permanent molars. These are also known as 6-year molars, 12-year molars, and wisdom teeth. Permanent adult molars form in the space behind our baby teeth in the back of our mouths.
Some people are born with only 20 baby teeth and end up with 32 adult teeth, even though humans are designed to have 20 baby teeth and 32 adult teeth. There are times when our bodies produce fewer than 32 permanent teeth (adult teeth). This condition is referred to by its technical name, “congenitally missing teeth.” If a permanent tooth is missing due to a birth defect, a baby tooth might not be able to be pushed out by the permanent tooth next to it. In this particular instance, the baby tooth will continue to be present in the adult’s mouth. This issue manifests itself most frequently in the second set of baby molars, which are the teeth located at the very back of the mouth.
In What Order Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?
Baby teeth will usually fall out in the same order that they grew in. The bottom central incisors (the teeth in the front) are the first to become loose. Tooth loss usually occurs in pairs, so if the right central incisor becomes loose, the left-side counterpart is likely to follow suit in the coming weeks or months. Following the bottom central incisors, the top central incisors or bottom lateral incisors are usually the next to fall out. The second tooth from the middle is the lateral incisors. Many people refer to these as “side teeth.”
Expect your child to lose all of their baby teeth between the ages of 6 and 8, which will take roughly two years. These are the four incisors at the front of the upper jaw and the four canines at the front of the lower jaw.
After all of the incisors have been lost and the permanent adult teeth have begun to erupt, the next set of teeth that are going to fall out for your child are going to be the bottom canines or the first set of baby molars, depending on which set of teeth comes out first. In most people, the canines and molars are the first teeth to fall out between the ages of two and three. The top baby canines or the second set of molars are typically the teeth that remain in place until the very end.
It is important to note that some children lose teeth in a slightly different order, particularly canine and molar tooth loss. If this happens to your child, don’t worry; the standard textbook charts vary greatly. If you have a more pressing concern about your child’s tooth loss pattern and age, you should consult with your child’s pediatric dentist.
Why Do Baby Teeth Loosen?
Long roots hold teeth in place in the jaw. Most teeth have roots that are 2-3 times longer than the tooth itself. Additionally, some teeth (molars) have multiple roots, providing even more anchorage. Here’s a fun fact: top molars have three roots, while bottom molars have two. Incisors and canines have a single root.
Permanent tooth buds protrude to the surface as they grow larger in size. This movement toward the surface puts pressure on the baby teeth’s roots, causing them to shorten and resorb. As the permanent tooth approaches the surface, the root of the baby tooth shortens, causing the baby tooth to become increasingly loose. A baby tooth will only become loose when a permanent tooth is ready to emerge.
When the time comes for the baby tooth to fall out, the root will be completely resorbed. That is why, when a tooth falls out, no root fragments are visible.
The only exception to this rule is if a tooth is damaged as a result of a fall or accident. This blunt force can cause tooth loosening. Depending on the severity of the injury, the loose tooth may tighten up again, or the blunt force from trauma may cause the tooth to fall out sooner than expected.
Your child will be very excited — and possibly a little nervous — when the tooth falls out. Begin by assuring them that everything is fine and that they were extremely brave to extract their first tooth! On that note, now is an excellent time to reinforce the principles of proper brushing with your child. They’re concentrating on their teeth and smile now that a small piece is missing. Remind them of the importance of good oral hygiene and demonstrate how to brush their teeth properly.
Finally, remember to celebrate! Losing a tooth is an exciting milestone for children, especially if it is their first. Highlight the event, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures.