Remember the excitement of losing your baby teeth? Some of us looked forward to receiving a present from the Tooth Fairy underneath our pillow. We felt as if we were becoming more “grown up.”
However, it’s usually not until we have children of our own that we wonder why we even have baby teeth and what really happens in that transition to adult teeth.
Why do we have baby teeth?
Baby teeth—also known as primary teeth, deciduous teeth, and milk teeth—are essential to the development of our mouth and jaw. The jaw bone and muscles depend on baby teeth for proper spacing. The baby teeth also maintain the arch length of the jaw.
The primary teeth also act as guides for the permanent teeth. The roots of the baby teeth provide an opening for the permanent teeth to come through. Also, the baby teeth help with speech development and assist when a child is learning to chew.
When do kids start losing teeth?
In general, children start losing teeth around ages five to seven, although loose teeth can occur as early as age four or as late as age eight. Girls tend to lose their baby teeth before boys, although no one know for sure why. Also, children with special needs, such as Down syndrome, tend to lose their baby teeth a little later.
In what order are baby teeth lost?
Baby teeth are usually lost in the same order as they came in. The bottom two front teeth (the incisors) are the first to go followed by the top two front teeth. Next to go are the two bottom lateral incisors, the teeth on either side of the incisors, followed by the top two lateral incisors. These eight teeth are usually gone by age seven. The rest of the baby teeth don’t fall out until around ages 10 to 12 when the 12-year molars come in.
Interestingly, the incoming permanent teeth dissolve and resorb the roots of the primary teeth. This is why baby teeth usually just fall out with no bleeding or pain involved. To go along with that, avoid forcing out baby teeth. Let nature take its course.
What is the best way to prepare for adult teeth?
The best way to prepare for adult teeth is to take good care of the baby teeth. This article, Your Child’s First Dental Visit, gives advice on the best way to care for your child’s teeth.
Also, be sure your child brushes the gum line as well as the tops and side of teeth. Baby teeth will often fall out during routine brushing.
Keep in mind that adult teeth are not as white as baby teeth, so don’t worry that you haven’t brushed the adult teeth enough. Also, new adult teeth will have ridges on the biting edges until chewing wears them down.
Losing baby teeth is an exciting transition for your child. You’re now armed with the knowledge to help them understand what’s happening and how to best take care of their new, permanent teeth.
If you have any questions about your child’s teeth, call us or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main Street Dental Clinics has offices in Rochester, MN; Owatonna, MN; Mankato, MN; Blooming Prairie, MN; and New Richland, MN.