You remember exactly how old your child was when their first tooth appeared.
It all started with that gappy smile they had then. Over the years, you’ve watched as all of their baby teeth grew in, 20 in total. And, now that your child is a bit older, there’s a new milestone to which to look forward: their teeth falling out.
But when do kids start losing baby teeth? And, as a parent, what can you do to prepare for such a momentous occasion. Here’s everything you need to know.
When Do Kids Start Losing Baby Teeth?
Your child’s teeth started appearing when they were between six and 12 months old. The entire set should be in place by the time they turn three. And, now that it’s a couple of years after that, you’re wondering, when do children lose baby teeth?
In short, most little ones start to lose teeth when they’re between five and six years old. The process is a slow one, though — it will be about seven or eight years before your child loses all of their baby teeth.
When your child’s adult teeth start to grow in, there will be a dozen more of them. Yes, adults have 32 permanent teeth — your child should have all of theirs in place by the time they’re teenagers.
Why Do Teeth Fall Out? And In What Order?
Baby teeth fall out because an adult tooth has started to grow beneath it. The mature tooth pushes the baby tooth up and out to make room for the new chomper.
In most cases, this process begins with the teeth that grew in first. Remember back to your baby’s grin. Chances are, one of their bottom two teeth appeared first — so, one of those two will probably be the first to go.
Once I Notice a Loose Tooth, How Long Will It Take to Fall Out?
Perhaps your child’s dentist has explained what’s ahead, and they’re expecting their teeth to start wiggling. Or, maybe you’ve let your child know that they’ll get a new set of teeth someday.
Either way, your child is now on the lookout for teeth that have started to wiggle and jiggle. But a loose tooth doesn’t mean that it will fall out imminently.
As we said, teeth start to fall out because an adult tooth grows beneath the baby version. This loosens up the root beneath the baby tooth, which has to dissolve or absorb back into the gums before it will fall out completely.
This process doesn’t take place on a set timeline. It could be a day or two between the first wiggle and the tooth falling out. Or, it could be weeks before the tooth in question fully dislodges.
And, once the tooth falls out, it takes just as much — if not more — time for the new tooth to come in. It could be several months before the adult tooth fully grows into its rightful position. If it has been more than a half-year, contact your dentist for a check-up.
What Should My Child Do After Their Tooth Falls Out?
After the tooth falls out, your child will be very excited — and perhaps a bit nervous. Start by reassuring them that everything’s fine and that they were very brave to pluck out their first tooth!
Next, make sure you clean up and sanitize your child’s mouth. Encourage them to gargle some saltwater, especially if the tooth bled when it came out.
You’ll want to remind your child to be gentle when they brush their teeth after losing one. The gums will be sensitive, and vigorous brushing could cause irritation to a delicate area. You might want to help them with flossing and brushing after their first tooth loss, just so they know what to do.
On that note, now’s a great time to reiterate the tenets of good brushing to your child. They’re focused on their teeth and smile, now that a little piece is missing. Remind them how important their oral health is, and show them again how to properly brush their teeth.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate! Losing a tooth is such a fun milestone for kids, especially if it’s their first one. Highlight the occasion, and don’t forget to take lots of photos.
What If My Child’s Teeth Aren’t Falling Out?
Think back to when your child’s first teeth started to appear. Most babies get their first chomper between six to 12 months into their lives. If your child was late then, they will likely be late to lose their first tooth, too.
However, if your child misses a dental milestone by a year, then you’ll want to call your dentist. As we said, most kids lose their first tooth when they’re five or six years old. So, if you have a seven-year-old with a full set of baby teeth, it’s time to call a pro for advice.
When Does My Child Need to Go to the Dentist?
Your child should have gone to the dentist for the first time when they were a one year old. After that, your little one should see the dentist every six months. Those regular visits will give you the reassurance that everything’s going as it should.
Losing baby teeth is one of the major milestones in your young child’s life – it’s not surprising that you have questions. If you have more, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment to see us. And, in the meantime, check out our blog for more info and advice on a child’s most common dental issues.