When do kids start and stop losing teeth?

Many parents wonder what is normal when it comes to their child’s first tooth, the loss of baby teeth, tooth decay, whether or not fluoride toothpaste is safe, introducing the tooth fairy, and how to find their child’s pediatric dentist. So let’s go over some commonly asked questions regarding your child’s teeth and how parents play an essential role.

First Baby Teeth

baby bottom teeth

As a mom, I know that when your baby gets their first primary tooth, it’s an exciting and tiring time for everyone in the family. While it’s a big milestone in your child’s life, it can cause some long nights for mama and be very painful for your baby. It can also spur on many questions for parents, as they want to make sure what their child is going through is normal.

A child’s baby teeth — also called primary teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth — start popping out around six months old and will continue to erupt in the correct order until they reach 3 years of age. The front bottom teeth (lower central incisors) are usually the first teeth to come out. The next set of teeth that emerge are the two front top teeth (upper central incisors). Next will be their primary upper lateral incisors (next to the top front teeth), followed by their lateral incisors. Here is an informative chart showing the correct order of when your child’s primary teeth come in.

What’s the general guideline for when your child gets their full set of primary teeth?

Did you know that all of your child’s permanent teeth AND baby teeth are already buds in their jaws when they are born? Crazy, huh!? They will continue to get their last sets of primary teeth until around age 3, at which point they will also have their primary first molars and primary second molars. The last primary or baby tooth that comes in is usually one of the canine teeth (pointy teeth) or one of the primary molars in the back of the mouth.

At what age do kids stop losing their teeth?

girl smiling with missing teeth

The average child will start losing their primary teeth around age 6 and stop losing their primary teeth at the age of 12. Their six-year molars usually erupt between the age of 6 and 7 after shedding them first.

The average person should have their full set of permanent teeth by 21 years old.

Wisdom Teeth

The wisdom teeth of an average child emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. While some older kids have no issues with their wisdom teeth continuing their natural growth process, the average child will need them removed around the age of 17.

Choosing your child’s dentist

When it comes to questions about your child’s teeth, mouth, and overall dental health, parents have many questions on the best way to promote healthy teeth from a young age. That’s why choosing your child’s dentist is very important. Aside from doing your research, you will probably get the best reference by asking other like-minded moms, especially if you’re more natural-minded. I know many moms, myself included, have reservations and questions when it comes to fluoride and whether or not it’s safe. All the more reason to do your research and be aware of what your children are putting in and on their bodies and how you can best keep harmful chemicals at bay. A good dentist will inform you as to how you can best support your child’s teeth.

The importance of dental health, even a child’s baby teeth!

One of the most important ways to help your child’s health, in general, is to teach them how to have good dental hygiene at all ages and different times of their life. Some people think a child’s baby teeth aren’t as important as adult teeth, so brushing isn’t as necessary when they are young. This is false. Check out this information from The American Dental Association.

“Baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development. They help him or her chew, speak and smile. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.”

Good oral hygiene is also linked to better overall health for your child. The Mayo Clinic says, “Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Although the connection is not fully understood, some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Pneumonia. Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Also, certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbes that multiply and lead to disease.”

All this to say, teaching your child good dental health and having regular preventive appointments with the dentist is a vital part of parenting. The first visit to your child’s pediatric dentist will definitely be something to document! I remember taking my older son for his first appointment. Because I researched a good and reputable Dentist, he never had anxiety about going, even to this day at 10 years old.

tooth fairy

Should I tell my child about the tooth fairy?

Knowing whether or not to mention the tooth fairy to your child is definitely a subject to be discussed. As with anything, I think it’s imperative not to lie to your children, even if it’s socially and culturally acceptable. That being said, there is nothing wrong with allowing imagination and pretend. That’s why we did the tooth fairy under the umbrella of “imagination.” The same with Santa Claus. We make sure our kids know the difference between pretend and real life. Imagination is to be explored in our pretend world, and the tooth fairy was part of that in our family. I think the lure of the tooth fairy is not necessarily the tooth fairy herself, but rather the aspect of getting money for all that hassle of losing a tooth.

Author

Hillary Gruener is a wife, mother, writer, and musician. If she's not at her desk writing content on family life, she's adventuring the world with her husband and two boys.

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