Most children start losing their baby teeth around the age of six years. These give way to permanent teeth, and represent a major event in a young child’s life. The process itself may take almost six years to complete.
Most children have 20 baby teeth, which develop by the time they are about 3 years old. The children lose teeth in the order they came in. The lower central teeth, or the lower incisors, are the first to go followed by the two top central teeth. Children usually lose teeth only after the permanent teeth develop and start pushing them out. The age of the child may range from 4 to 6 years of age. The earlier your child started teething, the earlier he or she will lose the baby teeth. The process may last until the child is 12 or 13 years old and stop just when the 12 year molars develop.
Some children may lose teeth before the permanent teeth start developing due to dental infections or injuries. You should talk to a dentist if your child loses teeth before the age of four years. The dentist may check for the presence of underlying diseases, and place a customized, plastic placeholder known as spacer until the adult teeth develop. This will help prevent spacing problems in the teeth. Some children do not lose teeth even by the age of 7 or 8 years. This is common. However, your dentist may recommend an oral x-ray to rule out underlying diseases.
It is important to learn proper techniques of oral care, especially when your child is losing the baby teeth. While some kids are excited about it, others are worried that the wiggling teeth may hurt them. Talk to your kids, and explain the cause and process of teeth loss. This will help them relax.
You may encourage your child to wiggle or rotate a loose tooth gently without removing it forcefully. Children who lose teeth before it is ready to fall out are at an increased risk of root infections. If your loose tooth does not fall out for a long time, your dentist may help remove it.
Some five or six year olds may experience pain at the back of their mouth due to the formation of adult teeth. This may happen before their baby teeth loosen up. You may use over-the-counter pain killers such as ibuprofen to relieve very severe pain.
Adult teeth are bigger than the baby teeth. Some children develop adult teeth completely before they lose their baby teeth. This condition is known as shark’s teeth.
Brush your teeth regularly. Children under 8 years of age require only a pea-size of toothpaste. The fluoride content of the toothpaste depends on the fluoride content of your tap water. Your dentist will guide you, depending on where you live. You should visit a dentist twice every year, and replace the brush every two or three months.
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