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