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Out with the Old: When do baby teeth fall out?

Out with the Old: When do baby teeth fall out?

Your little one will eventually lose his baby teeth, which is a milestone in the process of growing up. Fortunately, it is not usually too painful for kids when they lose their baby teeth, but the toothless pictures may embarrass them when they get older. Once a tooth does fall out, however, you need to know how to properly take care of the gums and the new permanent tooth that will shortly pop through.

The first baby tooth to fall out is a milestone that’s just as important as the first tooth to come in. Knowing which baby teeth fall out first can help you and your child prepare for this memorable event.

Order of Tooth Loss

A baby’s teeth will typically fall out in the same order they arrived. That means the front teeth will probably be the first to go, typically followed by the next two either side, and so on. These baby teeth will fall out between the ages of six and twelve years. The pattern can be more easily seen in an eruption chart, such as this one

Source: American Dental Association

Kids usually lose their first tooth by the age of 6 or 7, and they lose the last tooth, which is the second molar, by the age of 12 or 13. A tooth can sometimes take a few days or even a few months to fall out once you or your child notices that it’s loose. The length of time that it takes to fall out depends on how quickly the tooth root will dissolve or resorb. It also depends on how much your little one wiggles it. The more he wiggles it, the sooner it will fall out, and a new tooth will begin to appear in its place soon after. It can take several months to completely grow in; but if the tooth has not grown in after six months, see your dentist since he or she may refer you to an oral surgeon for an evaluation.

Helping Your Child Cope With Tooth Loss

Losing a tooth can be both exciting and scary for your child. However he feels, be sure to answer any questions he has, and follow his lead on how big a deal to make about it. Some kids prefer not to make a fuss about that first loose tooth. Others might like to celebrate the impending event and look forward to a visit from the tooth fairy. Still others may need some reassurance.

Whatever approach you take to your child’s first tooth loss, don’t ever interfere with its progress. The important thing to remember is not to force a tooth out. They will fall out when they are ready too. However, if your child is experiencing extreme discomfort, bleeding or premature breakage, see your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy

Losing baby teeth from decay or damage might not seem like a big deal, but premature tooth loss can have serious side effects in the long term. Tooth decay in babies can lead to infections in the sinuses, the ears or even the brain. Other examples of problems include the following:

  • Damage to permanent teeth
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty learning to talk

Regular oral hygiene is just as important for your child as it is for you. Developing good habits early will make it more likely that your kids are able to take care of their permanent teeth when they get older.

Losing a first tooth is a big deal for your child. No matter which baby teeth fall out first, make the process fun and easy, and keep those teeth healthy by establishing good hygiene habits early.

After a Tooth Falls Out

Have your little one gargle with some warm water once the tooth falls out, especially if there’s bleeding. Your child can continue to use the same child-friendly toothpaste. Instruct your child not to brush too hard where the tooth fell out to avoid irritating the area. After losing baby teeth, you should reinforce the importance of good oral health routines, such as brushing at least twice per day, flossing at least once per day and keeping up healthy eating habits. Stress the importance of avoiding soda and other foods and beverages that can damage teeth. All these details are especially important now that your child is growing permanent teeth.