- Kids start losing teeth around six years of age
- Kids tend to lose their central incisors first
- Kids have 20 baby teeth to lose, and 28-32 adult (permanent) teeth will replace them
- It’s best not to pull out loose teeth, but let them fall out on their own
- You may need to reassure your child that losing teeth is a natural process and new teeth will replace them
If your child is approaching school-age, you might be wondering when they will start to lose their teeth.
It’s probably not far away, with most children starting to lose their baby teeth around six years of age.
When Do Kids Start Losing Baby Teeth? Kids start to lose teeth around six years of age , although this may be up to a year or even two years later. By age 12, most kids have all their adult teeth , except for the third molars (also known as wisdom teeth) which don’t erupt until 17-21 years of age (if at all).
Kids have 20 baby teeth, but there are 32 adult teeth in total. However, 28 adult teeth are also considered a full set, because some people do not develop wisdom teeth, or develop them but they do not erupt.
If your child had their baby teeth come in late , their adult teeth will likely be late too.
When do kids start losing teeth: the cause
Kids lose their baby teeth (also called primary teeth) to make room for their adult teeth (also called secondary teeth or permanent teeth). But, they don’t usually lose them in readiness for their new teeth coming through, rather they are pushed out of place by these adult teeth.
What if kids lose teeth in an accident?
If there’s an open space left by accidental tooth loss, or by tooth removal due to decay, a permanent tooth can drift into this place . And it may not come through correctly, so can be crooked or even cause overcrowding of permanent teeth.
“According to orthodontists, 30 percent of their cases have their origins in the premature loss of baby teeth .” So, it’s worth doing everything you can to protect your kids teeth, whether through proper dental care, or wearing protective equipment like mouthguards when playing sport.
What teeth do kids lose first?
Just as the central incisors were likely to be the first baby teeth that arrived for your little one, they will likely be the first teeth to be lost.
Interestingly though, the adult central incisors might not be the first of your child’s permanent teeth to erupt. That’s because the adult first molars tend to come in right before the adult central incisors. The adult first molars erupt towards the back of the mouth, behind your child’s existing teeth.
After the first molars and central incisors come in, teeth tend to emerge in the following order:
- Lateral incisors
- Canine teeth
- Second molars
- Third molars (wisdom teeth)
How to help your child through losing teeth
If you’ve been wondering when kids start losing their teeth, you might also want to learn what to do to help them through it.
Losing teeth can be painful, but also an unsettling process, particularly when it’s the first tooth they’re losing and they do not know what to expect. You should reassure them that this is a natural process every child goes through and they will be getting all new grown-up teeth in their place. Explain to them that a little blood or tender gums are also normal so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
The Tooth Fairy mythology is also a great tool to make losing teeth seem like a more positive experience - something to look forward to, rather than something to fear.
If loose teeth are causing your child pain, you can ask your pharmacist or dentist for advice on suitable pain relief . Cold compresses are also a great option and may be worth trying before turning to medication.
Should you pull loose teeth out?
Although pulling loose teeth out at home is a common practice, according to raisingchildren.net.au, you should let them fall out on their own .
Although loose teeth may feel uncomfortable when your child is eating, pulling a loose tooth out too soon can cause pain and infection to the gums. So, it’s best to let nature take its course.
Importance of proper dental care when kids lose baby teeth
We often take our teeth for granted. But, the truth is, teeth aren’t just for chewing. They’re also essential for speaking, smiling and giving our faces shape and form . So, it’s a big deal to go through life having teeth in great condition.
Adult teeth will only be permanent if cared for properly. You will hopefully already be instilling good dental hygiene habits in your child. But, it’s more important than ever to do so when kids start losing their baby teeth. This gives their incoming adult teeth the best possible start.
Good dental habits include:
- Using low-fluoride toothpaste until your child turns six, then changing to high-fluoride toothpaste.
- Supervising your child when they brush their teeth. Even if your child seems able to clean their teeth on their own, they should still be supervised until eight years of age . It may help for you to either start or finish the teeth cleaning process.
- Brushing at least twice per day for two minutes each time.
- Flossing daily.
Poor dental hygiene habits include:
- Drinking juice at night , which allows sugar to linger on the teeth.
- Snacking frequently between meals.
- Snacking on sweets , which contributes significantly to dental caries forming.
A study into the dental health habits of three to five year olds, suggests that while it would be ideal if children never ate sweets, it is an unrealistic goal. Instead, they suggest parents designate a sweets day. “Our findings do indicate that a designated sweets day is just about as good as not giving any candy at all to children.”
If you have any concerns about your child’s dental hygiene habits, delays in losing teeth or problems with emerging teeth, please seek advice from your dentist.