When Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?
It is common for most children to keep their baby teeth until the age of five to six years old, although the age when your child loses his first teeth is not something that you can easily predict. The normal range for when baby teeth fall out for this first time is between four and eight years old. Generally, if your child was ahead of the curve on the teething process, he will be ready to start losing his baby teeth at a relatively younger age. If you are looking for information on what you can expect in terms of when your child’s baby teeth fall out and the next milestones he will experience, you have come to the right place.
The Main Difference Between Baby Teeth and Permanent Teeth
Children have far fewer baby teeth than the permanent teeth that will eventually come in. They only have 20 baby teeth, but they will eventually be replaced by a total of 32 adult teeth after they have all fallen out. By the time your child is around three years old, he will likely have all of his 20 baby teeth mostly grown in. Your baby’s mouth and jawline are not quite large enough to support a full set of permanent teeth until they begin to grow around the age of four years old. This is a subtle change that happens over time and is necessary in order for your child’s permanent teeth to have a big enough space to settle into.
What Starts the Process
Your child’s baby teeth will not start to become loose until there is a permanent tooth growing underneath. As the permanent tooth gets larger, it puts pressure on the root of the baby tooth and eventually causes the baby tooth root to dissolve. As the root starts to dissolve, the baby tooth comes loose to the point of being able to wiggle it in your child’s mouth. When your child is able to wiggle or pull on a baby tooth without any pain or sign of bleeding, this is usually the sign that the tooth is ready to come out soon.
Which Permanent Teeth Tend to Come in First When Baby Teeth Fall Out?
For most children, they are likely to lose their lower central incisor first. These are also the first teeth to be replaced by permanent teeth when they are ready to come in. The baby lower central incisors tend to start coming in when a baby is between eight and 12 months old. As a general rule of thumb, a baby’s lower set of teeth tend to start erupting or growing in before the upper set of teeth. Also, girls tend to lose their first tooth before boys on average. There is no known reason for this disparity in development except that young girls tend to develop physically at a faster rate than most boys.
By the time your child is about 13 years old, you can expect that he will have a full set of permanent teeth. The only exception is that wisdom teeth may not appear until your child is between the ages of 17 to 21 years old. If your dentist has to remove any baby teeth that have not fallen out naturally by that age, this may be a sign that your child is likely to experience spacing issues with their adult teeth as they age.
Reasons Why Baby Teeth Fall Out Sooner Than Expected
The most common reason why a child may lose a baby tooth before the age of four years old is if he or she experienced some sort of head trauma. The force of the impact could have knocked the baby tooth root loose before the permanent tooth underneath it had a chance to start sprouting up. A key sign that a child may have experienced significant head trauma or are losing baby teeth faster than normal is if a tooth other than the bottom front teeth falls out first. You can also check for signs of decay that would indicate there is an issue with your child’s oral hygiene, which could have caused the root of the baby tooth to dissolve faster than normal.
Helping Your Child Take Good Care of Their Baby Teeth at a Young Age
Just because your child will eventually lose their baby teeth does not mean that they can ignore oral hygiene. It is still extremely important to thoroughly brush your child’s teeth and tongue even if they do not have any permanent teeth yet. In addition to preventing oral infections and painful cavities, establishing good oral hygiene habits at a young age is helpful in teaching your child to take good care of their permanent teeth, which will save them the pain and discomfort of developing cavities and having them filled.
Some of the most important aspects of a good dental hygiene routine for young children include the following.
- Brushing all teeth with toothpaste for about two minutes
- Flossing with a pick device or pieces of string with the help of an adult
- Brushing both sides of the tongue to prevent the spread of germs
Do Not Rush The Process
Children will be naturally curious about the sensation of having a loose tooth, but you should not encourage them to yank it out prematurely. This can cause unnecessary bleeding and lead to infections if the child’s permanent tooth is not in a position to start growing in shortly after the baby tooth is pulled out. You never want to allow your child to use a string to pull out a tooth that is not ready to be lost naturally. Some gentle pulling and twisting is just fine, but your child should not experience any pain in pulling out a tooth that is not yet ready to fall out.
Some Benefits of Having Baby Teeth Fall Out Later
While you and your child may be impatient to get rid of baby teeth, it can be beneficial for baby teeth to fall out later because it allows more time for the permanent teeth to form below the gums. This makes your child’s permanent teeth more fortified and durable to withstand a lifetime of use. Rather than focusing on how long it takes for baby teeth to fall out, you should pay close attention to whether your child seems to have any crowding issues with their teeth at a young age. While it may be premature for braces, it is good to have an overcrowding issue on your child’s dentist’s radar as soon as possible to continue monitoring it.
One of the ways that your child’s dentist can prevent a spacing issue down the line if your child loses a baby tooth too soon is to insert a spacer where the permanent tooth will eventually grow in. This prevents the gum from getting irritated and helps your child develop normal speech patterns in the absence of overcrowding.
Monitoring for an Infection
It is not common for children to come down with an infection after losing their baby teeth, but there is a potential for an infection because of the gum’s exposure and sensitive skin without a permanent tooth in place yet. If you notice that your child’s gums are swollen or if the local bleeding does not stop after a few minutes of pressing a wet compress against the gums, this may be cause for concern. Rotten baby teeth are more likely to lead to a gum infection. You should contact your child’s pediatrician or dentist to have their mouth examined if you are concerned that an infection has developed after your child loses a baby tooth.
After making it through this information on the timing of teething and tooth loss processes for children, you should come away with an understanding that the timing of when baby teeth fall out is not an exact science. While it is true that many children tend to lose their first baby tooth by the age of five or six years old, this is not written in stone. Even though your child will have a full set of baby teeth by the time they are three years old in most cases, their mouth and jawline will not be ready to support more permanent teeth until they start to grow about a year later. Along with not rushing your child to pull a tooth until his baby teeth fall out naturally, it is important to teach your children to start brushing their teeth at a young age.