Losing Baby Teeth
A child’s first teeth (sometimes called primary teeth) typically come in when they are about six months old. These are usually the lower incisors; the upper second primary molars are usually the last to emerge. Most children have about 20 baby teeth by the time they get to age three and these teeth will essentially remain the same for approximately three years. Children lose their baby teeth when their permanent teeth start to emerge within the jaw. The baby teeth will eventually fall out.
Some children may be worried by the thought of losing teeth and others may be excited at the thought of getting new ones. If they are worried, you should reassure them that they probably will not feel anything. You may be worried as well; parents sometimes worry about their child’s teeth falling out too early or their permanent teeth taking too long to come in. You should learn when to expect your child’s first teeth and what you should do to make sure that they maintain a good oral health.
At What Age do Baby Teeth Normally Fall Out?
Most children’s baby teeth fall out in the order that they grew in, with the lower incisors usually being the first ones lost. In most cases, this will happen when the child is between the ages of six and eight. The next teeth to fall out will often do so in rapid succession. The top incisors will usually go with the two next to the bottom incisors. Last of all, the lateral incisors on the top jaw will fall out. For some children, the loss of these teeth will start at around age three but many will see a pause in tooth loss between ages eight and ten. The process of losing baby teeth and growing permanent ones can go on until about age 12 or even as late as age 14. The rule of thumb here is that the younger they were when the teeth came in, the earlier they will start to lose them.
It is important to note that there is a great deal of variation when it comes to the loss of baby teeth. For example, girls often lose their teeth earlier than boys. Also, children with Down Syndrome tend to lose theirs later on.
Tooth Loss and Eating Habits
The process of losing baby teeth is not usually as painful as the teething process; however, the eruption of the molars at the back of the mouth may hurt. If your child complains of pain, there are topical painkillers that can help. You can also give them over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Make sure that your child is brushing their baby teeth regularly, especially below the gum line. In many cases, baby teeth will fall out during routine brushing.
When the first teeth start to loosen, your child’s eating habits will not be significantly affected. However, they may start to chew more with their back teeth than with their front ones. Make sure that their food is softer and in smaller pieces as this will make it easier to chew.
What Happens When Baby Teeth are Lost Too Early?
In some cases, an accident or poor dental hygiene can result in a child losing their baby teeth before they were ready to fall out naturally. While early tooth loss does not necessarily result in serious problems, it is still a good idea to see an orthodontist if your child loses their baby teeth before the age of four. The orthodontist may take x-rays in order to get a better look at what is happening below the gum line.
The gap left when baby teeth fall out early can cause spacing problems when permanent teeth do finally grow in. Your child’s orthodontist may install a spacer to act as a placeholder until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. If permanent teeth emerge in limited space, this could cause them to be crooked.
Removing Loose Baby Teeth
Children should be encouraged to gently move a loose tooth but they should not be allowed to pull it out. The tooth should be allowed to fall out on its own. This means that the old tricks like tying the tooth to a doorknob or to a bottle rocket are not good ideas. If a loose tooth is yanked out, the broken root could become infected. When it falls out naturally, there will be less of a risk of infection along with less pain and less blood. If a tooth is loose and still does not fall out on its own, it may have to be extracted by the orthodontist. However, the cases where this step is necessary are rare.
Caring for Permanent Teeth
Permanent teeth are likely to be larger in appearance than baby teeth and not quite as white. The ridges will also tend to be more clearly visible because they have not been worn down by years of chewing or biting. With permanent teeth, brushing and flossing will be more important than ever. You will need to:
• Supervise the process until they get to around age eight.
• Teach your child to spit toothpaste out and not to swallow it since fluoride can be poisonous for children.
• Teach your child to use only a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a pea) when they brush. Keep in mind that many doctors actually recommend the use of a fluoride free toothpaste until a child is able to spit.
• Replace their toothbrush at least once every three months.
• Seek out Virginia orthodontic practices like Beecroft Orthodontics to ensure the proper care of your child’s teeth.
“Is there a pediatric orthodontist near me?” You may have had this thought if your child’s permanent teeth are not growing in as you think they should or if they have a loose tooth that refuses to fall out. If this is the case and you are in the Fredericksburg area, make an appointment with Beecroft Orthodontics. They can examine your child’s teeth and ensure that their permanent ones grow in as they should.
Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia
At What Age Do Baby Teeth Normally Fall Out?