Facts About Children Losing Teeth

Baby tooth held in the hand of a girl. In the background the smiling girl

Know when to get your camera ready for gummy grins by exploring when teeth will start to fall out, at what ages specific teeth fall out, and why timing is important. You can also share some fun teeth facts with your kiddos.

Ages When Children Lose Teeth

A child losing their first tooth is a huge affair. When that first little incisor becomes loose, they are already dreaming of the treasure trove of cash that the tooth fairy will be bringing. It's also a big affair when it comes to them growing up as well. New teeth are just the first step in many to your child's body growing and changing. The tween years are just around the corner.

Sequence of Events

It isn't just luck that those front teeth are the first to go. It's science. According to the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, the incisors are the first shiny little money makers for your child at about 6 or so. These are quickly followed by the cuspids and the molars. Get the deets on when you can expect to lose your child's teeth.

  • Age 6-7: Lower central incisor followed by upper central incisor (aka two front teeth)
  • Age 7-8: Lower lateral incisor followed by upper lateral incisor (next to front teeth)
  • Age 9: Lower cuspid (canine teeth or shark teeth)
  • Age 10-11: Upper and lower first and second primary molar (back teeth)
  • Age 11-12: Upper cuspid (canine teeth)

While this is just a general guideline, your child's teeth might come out sooner or later than expected. However, if your child is way off the marker, avoid dental health problems by making a dental appt.

A dental chart diagram showing primary teeth with dental names plus eruption and shedding time

The Science Behind Baby Teeth

But why do the teeth come out? According to Dr. Maggie Davis, when children are born they don't have teeth. As they grow, they start to develop their trainer teeth. But kids grow a lot and what used to be perfectly fitting teeth now have big gaps. The permanent teeth are ready to fill those gaps. These permanent teeth will fit perfectly within your child's developed jaw that has stopped growing by the time all the permanent teeth have come in. Those trainer teeth are just like anything else, they teach you how to take care of your teeth so when the permanent ones come in you are fully ready!

No Visible Teeth

While most people, even doctors, will say that children are born without teeth, that's not quite accurate. Babies are born with teeth that have been developing in the jawline since conception. They simply are not visible at birth, which is why many will just say they have no teeth. In rare instances, babies can be born with one or two teeth erupting which are referred to as natal teeth.

Importance of Timing

Timing is important with most things and teeth are no different. You might not think it's a big deal if your kid loses their front tooth at 2 rather than 5 because it is going to fall out anyway, but it actually is. Nature has created a time and place for everything! Explore the problems that can arise from losing teeth too early or late.

Early Birds

Early tooth loss can and does happen, typically due to some kind of trauma. While you might not think it is a big deal, you'll want to make a trip to the dentist. Trainer or baby teeth are there for a reason and that is to help the jaw grow and create room for the adult teeth, according to Debra Fink D.M.D., M.S., P.C.. When a child loses their teeth too early, this can lead to overcrowding in the mouth and braces later on. This can be avoided by adding a spacer if those baby teeth go missing too early.

Late Losers

Being too early can cause issues, but so can being too late when it comes to losing a tooth. If a trainer tooth isn't becoming loose and the adult tooth is coming in, the adult tooth might move around or grow in the wrong place. This means that teeth can become crooked or grow in places they aren't supposed to like the top of the gum or side. Crooked or shifted adult teeth also might not be able to push out other trainer teeth creating a bigger issue. Therefore, if your child is around 8 and hasn't lost teeth or the adult teeth are coming in oddly, Dr. Fink suggests a trip to the dentist. The dentist might need to take x-rays or remove baby teeth to straighten things out.

A Painless Affair

A child does not typically experience pain when a tooth is loose and getting ready to fall out. However, once in a while, gum discomfort is experienced. This can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin or others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol or others).

The Importance of Brushing

All baby teeth are important! This comes to brushing them as well, according to the American Dental Association. Care of trainer teeth not only teaches a child how to care for their adult teeth but helps to maintain their gums and health of their adult teeth. You also don't want your trainer teeth to fall out too early because of poor maintenance.

Boy Brushing His Teeth

Fun Facts About Losing Teeth

Teeth are amazing. Not only do they help you to eat and speak, but they help to make sure your jaw grows how it should. Learn a few fun facts about losing teeth.

  • The song All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth was created in 1944 by a music teacher.
  • Trainer teeth are whiter than adult teeth.
  • Kids can and do lose all four front teeth in quick succession.
  • Baby teeth are much smaller than adult teeth.
  • Girls typically start to lose teeth before boys.
  • A wisdom tooth never falls out because you don't have a third molar in trainer teeth.
  • Some kids are born with extra teeth to lose.
  • While children should wiggle teeth, they shouldn't pull out a tooth that isn't ready.
  • Kids can and do swallow their teeth. It will come out in the end.
  • The average left for a first tooth by the tooth fairy is $3.70.

The Changing of Teeth

Much like the changing of the guard, in your life, you will have a changing of the teeth. This is just one sign that your little isn't so little anymore. Be aware of both the serious and fun facts when it comes to caring for and losing teeth.

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Facts About Children Losing Teeth