Updated on February 23, 2024
7 min read

When Do Kids Start Losing Teeth?

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When Do Kids Start Losing Teeth?

Children usually begin losing their baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, around 5 or 6. However, every child is unique, and it’s considered normal for this process to be delayed by up to a year. 

It may feel like your child’s first baby tooth just came in yesterday. Losing them is an important and exciting part of your child’s dental development. When a primary tooth falls out, it leaves space for the permanent one to grow in. 

Read this article to be prepared for when your child loses their first tooth. We’ll cover:

  • The typical timeline of losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth
  • How to handle loose teeth
  • Good oral hygiene tips for kids
  • When to see a dentist

Which Baby Teeth Fall Out First?

Typically, the first baby teeth to fall out are the two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) and then the two top front teeth (upper central incisors).  

Most children lose their baby teeth one by one over the course of several years. They fall out (or shed) throughout childhood. 

According to the American Dental Association, the average ages for losing various baby teeth are:1

  • Central incisors (upper and lower) — 6 to 7 years
  • Lateral incisors (upper and lower)  7 to 8 years
  • Canines (lower) 9 to 12 years
  • Canines (upper) — 10 to 12 years
  • Primary molars (upper and lower) — 9 to 11 years
  • Second molars (upper and lower) — 10 to 12 years

When Do Permanent Teeth Start Growing In?

Your child’s smile will continue to develop until they reach their late teens or early adulthood. 

The typical timeline for permanent tooth eruption is:

  • Central incisors 6 to 8 years
  • Lateral incisors 7 to 9 years
  • Canines (cuspids) 9 to 12 years
  • First premolars (first bicuspids) 10 to 12 years
  • Second premolars (second bicuspids) 10 to 12 years
  • First molars 6 to 7 years
  • Second molars 11 to 13 years
  • Third molars (wisdom teeth) 17 to 21 years

Why is My Child Not Losing Teeth Yet?

Your child’s baby teeth should have started falling out by age 7. If you have a 7-year-old who hasn’t lost any baby teeth, it’s time to call your child’s dentist. 

One possible cause of this is delayed tooth eruption (DTE). That means the permanent teeth are taking longer to come in. A pediatric dentist can evaluate your child’s teeth and provide guidance.

The earlier a child’s teeth come in, the sooner they fall out. The first baby teeth tend to erupt around 6 to 12 months. If your child was late in getting their first teeth, they’ll probably lose them later, too.

What About Premature Tooth Loss?

Baby teeth usually stay in a child’s mouth until an adult tooth begins to grow in. For some kids, this can begin as early as 4 years old.

Reasons your child may lose their baby teeth earlier than expected include:

  • Dental trauma An accident or injury to the mouth can knock out one or more baby teeth.
  • Tooth decay Cavities (dental caries) can weaken the primary teeth and cause them to fall out early.
  • Systemic issues Sometimes, early baby tooth loss is a sign of an underlying condition, such as a thyroid disorder.

If your child loses their primary teeth too early, the empty space left behind can cause a permanent tooth to come in crooked. It’s important to consult with a pediatric dentist if your child loses a baby tooth prematurely.

Tips for Handling Loose Teeth 

Dealing with wiggly teeth can be an exciting and anxious time for parents and children. If you’re like most parents, you may not be sure exactly what to do the first time.

Here’s how to handle your child’s loose tooth:

  • Assure your child that this is a perfectly normal process
  • Encourage gentle wiggling, but discourage forceful pulling on the tooth
  • If the tooth is hanging on by a thread, you can wrap it in a tissue and squeeze it gently
  • Apply a wet cloth to stop any bleeding after the tooth comes out
  • Offer soft foods if your child experiences discomfort while eating
  • Provide over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen to reduce pain or inflammation 
  • Honor the rite of passage with a visit from the tooth fairy or other celebration

Oral Care Tips for Kids

Here are some tips to help set your child up for healthy teeth throughout life:

  • Encourage a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats
  • Limit sugary snacks and beverages like soft drinks as they increase the risk of tooth decay
  • Have them wear a mouthguard during sports and activities that may result in dental trauma

Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene Habits

Begin practicing oral hygiene when your child’s first baby tooth comes in. Maintaining proper hygiene habits as your child loses their baby teeth will help protect their oral health. 

In addition to the oral care tips above, it’s essential to:

  • Ensure your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day
  • Help them clean between their teeth with string floss, interdental brushes, or a water flosser
  • Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings for your child

Dental Care Routine and Fluoride Usage

Fluoride helps to remineralize baby teeth and permanent teeth. This helps protect against cavities. 

The American Dental Association recommends using a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) as soon as the primary teeth start emerging.4 

Between ages 3 and 6, you can use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Supervise your child to ensure they don’t swallow the toothpaste.

Talk to your dentist about fluoride treatments for your child. Children who receive too much fluoride before their permanent teeth come in may develop fluorosis.  

Caring for Your Child’s Permanent Teeth

We only get one set of adult teeth, so proper care is essential. Follow the above tips for oral care and hygiene to help your child maintain healthy adult teeth. They include:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Cleaning in between the teeth
  • Wearing a mouthguard during sports
  • Getting regular dental exams

When to See a Pediatric Dentist

You should start taking your child to the dentist as soon as they get their first primary tooth. Other signs you should take your child to the dentist include:

  • They still have all their baby teeth at age 7 — Most kids begin to lose them by this age.
  • A primary tooth comes out early (before age 4) It’s possible the adult tooth may not grow in proper alignment.
  • A loose tooth doesn’t fall out on its own Don’t tug on it or force it out yourself, as this can cause pain and bleeding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I make my child’s baby teeth fall out faster?

Don’t pull on a loose tooth or try to forcefully remove it, as this can cause pain. You should also discourage your child from excessive wiggling or tugging on the tooth.

Most children eventually lose all their primary teeth naturally. If this doesn’t happen, take your child to a dentist. They may recommend a tooth extraction.

What should I do if a baby tooth falls out prematurely?

Take your child to a pediatric dentist if they lose a baby tooth before age 4. The empty space left behind can cause alignment issues when the permanent teeth grow in.

What is the most common first tooth for babies?

The lower central incisors (front teeth) are usually the first to erupt in a baby’s mouth. They’re also among the first to fall out.

Summary

Most kids lose their first tooth around age 5 or 6, but it’s normal to be delayed up to a year. The central incisors are usually the first teeth to fall out.

If your child hasn’t started losing teeth by age 7, they should see a dentist. This may be a sign of an underlying health issue. You should also take your child to the dentist if their teeth fall out before age 4, which can cause alignment problems.

Last updated on February 23, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 23, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Eruption Charts.” American Dental Association, 2023.
  2. Children’s Oral Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022.
  3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 2023.
  4. Baby Teeth.” American Dental Association, 2023.
  5. Peedikayil, FC. “Delayed Tooth Eruption.” E-Journal of Dentistry, 2011.
  6. Choukroune, C. “Tooth eruption disorders associated with systemic and genetic diseases: a clinical guide.” Journal of Dentofacial Anomalies and Orthodontics, 2017.
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