There’s a game parents subconsciously play when their kids get all their primary teeth. A guessing game, actually. Since it’s a matter of time before your child’s baby teeth fall out, the question isn’t so much if they’ll get loose teeth, but what age do kids lose their teeth.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of answers on the internet that you can source from. General consensus states that it’s roughly around age four and seven that your kids start getting their first loose tooth. Other people tend to settle for six years of age. But even so, first-time tooth-losing tots and their new parents might wonder whether that jiggly tooth is a normal part of life or if it’s a sign of something more dubious.
But fear not, friends. If you’re a new parent who’s not sure if their child’s loose tooth is ripe for pulling, here’s how to know when your kid’s baby teeth will fall out:
What does a baby tooth look like when it falls out?
Like most significant milestones, a baby tooth that’s about to fall will usually show signs of what’s to come. To know what to look for, it’s essential to know how baby teeth fall out in the first place.
While your child is in the womb, their teeth begin to form underneath their gums. But just because they’ve developed doesn’t mean they’ll appear right away. On the contrary, it will take a while before their first tooth erupts.
But baby teeth aren’t the only teeth developing at this stage. Your kids’ permanent teeth are also forming during this time, albeit the top parts only. The roots eventually grow as they emerge from the gums.
Before the adult teeth can erupt, however, the primary teeth need to get out of the way. That process is fortunately very painless. The roots of your primary teeth—which are initially long and pointed—dissolve into small stubs. This disintegration loosens their grip onto the bone and makes the baby teeth easier to pluck out.
Once a baby tooth falls off, you might have noticed that it leaves a small tissue protrusion afterward. Because the tooth no longer has its roots, the tiny bit of pulp left inside it comes out as well, becoming scar tissue. But this isn’t always the case—usually, when that scar is present, it means that the tooth fell loose later than intended.
What to Do When Your Child Loses Their Baby Teeth
So your child started losing baby teeth. That’s great! It means they’re well on their way in development. And for the most part, you won’t need to intervene too much. As your child’s permanent teeth begin to grow and push out, their baby teeth lose their roots, making it easier for them to dislodge by themselves. Despite the relative ease, however, there are still some things parents can do to make the transition easier. That said, what do you do when your child loses their baby teeth?
For one, make sure that they’re in good health when they fall off. Some parents might be tempted to skip out on the dental appointments or treatments while their kids have a full set of baby teeth. After all, it can seem a little counterintuitive to fix a tooth that’s supposed to fall off anyway. But as we’ve learned, the health of your child’s baby teeth is crucial to the development of their permanent teeth. What happens before and after their teeth fall off, then, is vital to their adult dental health.
Here, then, is what to do when your child loses their baby teeth:
Make sure they fall at the right time
Just as baby teeth develop in a specific arrangement, so do they fall off the same way. Certain conditions can loosen them prematurely, however, such as periodontal issues and other dental ailments. And if a tooth falls off before they’re supposed to, this can cause crowding problems for your permanent teeth.
The first step, then, is to monitor which teeth are beginning to come loose, and when. Your children typically develop teeth from the front to the back when they teethe and lose it the same way. Children whose teeth erupt earlier also tend to lose them earlier as well, so you might want to keep track of the age they begin developing teeth.
That said, what can you do to make sure they fall off on schedule? For one, make sure their teeth are strong and healthy. The best way to do this, of course, is to focus on their oral care. Aside from keeping up with their oral hygiene, having them eat healthy food for teeth is also a great way to simultaneously build up their teeth while preventing further instances of cavities.
At what age do kids lose their teeth permanently?
Now here’s another tricky question—when can your kids lose their teeth permanently? The answer is simple: once they get their first adult tooth. Some kids can get it as early as age six, with their full set of permanent teeth coming in by age 13.
But this range isn’t set in stone. Some individuals may find their teeth falling off well until your child is 18. This condition is called over-retained teeth, which may be symptomatic of a deeper problem. If you find that some of your kids have this problem, you might need to see a dentist.
Barring this, however, a delay of less than one year is still within the normal range. So if your kids start having wobbly teeth even if their adult teeth have come in, be vigilant—it’s best to bring your child straight to the dentist at this stage.
Regularly check in with their pediatric dentist
As your child’s baby teeth loosen, a trip to the pediatric dentist becomes your best friend. During these sessions, your child’s dentist can take X-rays of the teeth to see whether their permanent teeth normally form. If their dentist catches an anomaly, they can quickly fix it up before the problem worsens.
Trips to the pediatric dentist can also be an opportunity to soothe any worries your child might have as their tooth gets wobblier. During this time, they might opt to ask their dentist questions about what might be happening to their teeth. They can check if a tooth is loose enough to take out, or whether they should still keep it in. And if they feel a slight discomfort as the teeth grow out, their dentist may prescribe techniques that could help soothe your child.