Every child begins to lose their baby teeth and get their adult teeth around the same time, however there are instances that may cause a delay or speed up the process.
Baby teeth are not only used for eating, they hold the space necessary for the permanent (adult) teeth to erupt. When the adult teeth begin to make their way in the direction of the mouth, they dissolve the root of the the baby tooth that is essentially in its way. This is this process that causes the baby teeth to become loose. Once most, if not all of the root has been dissolved, the tooth becomes very wiggly, and is ready to come out.
Your child will begin to lose his baby teeth very close to the order in which they first made their appearance into your child's mouth. As the baby teeth are lost, the adult teeth begin to take their place. The following information is a general guideline as to when you can expect to see your child lose his baby teeth and "grow" in the permanent teeth.
Age Six to Seven
Between the ages of six and seven, your child may lose his first tooth. The lower central incisors are usually the first teeth that are lost, followed by the upper central incisors.
At this point, eating is slightly affected, although your child may prefer to do most of his chewing on the back teeth. Biting into hard foods may become difficult, when the front baby teeth are very wiggly and once they have been lost. Instead of giving your child a whole apple, carrot, or similar foods that require the need for biting with the front teeth, offer your child bite-sized pieces of hard foods. Smaller, bite-sized pieces are easily chewed with the back teeth, eliminating the need for the use of the front teeth.
Age Seven to Eight
The lateral incisors are the next baby teeth your child may lose. The lateral incisors are located in between the central incisor and cuspid.
Eating foods such as corn on the cob, chicken wings, and ribs becomes increasingly difficult. Again, offer a selection of foods that are easy to chew, in bite sized pieces.
Age Nine to TwelveAfter a small break in tooth loss, the next baby teeth your child may lose are his upper and lower primary first molars. These baby teeth have been used to do most of the heavy chewing, of food such as meat and hard or raw vegetables. Because the second primary molar and the primary cuspid still remain in the mouth, your child might complain that food is becoming stuck between these teeth. If this is the case, have your child rinse or brush and floss his teeth after each meal, to avoid the accumulation of plaque on the teeth.
Between the age of nine and twelve, the lower cuspids are the next baby teeth in line to be lost. Your child might feel like all of his baby teeth have been lost at this point, however there is still a few more left to come.
Age Ten to TwelveAfter losing 17 baby teeth, your pre-teen should finally lose the remaining three baby teeth, between age ten and twelve. The upper cuspid and the upper and lower primary molars are the last baby teeth your child will lose.
Not a Baby AnymoreBy the age of 13, your child will have most of his permanent teeth; with the exception of his wisdom teeth, which erupt between the ages of 17 and 21.
Impeccable oral hygiene is very important during your child's tooth eruption and exfoliation stages. Remember to encourage your child to brush and floss twice a day, and keep up with his regular visits to see the dentist. Cavity prevention, along with checking for the signs of malocclusion, are important aspects during your child's dental visits. Your dentist will also check for baby teeth that may have failed to fall out. This could be a sign that your child may need orthodontic treatment. An appointment to see an orthodontist for an evaluation may be recommended.
If you are concerned about how your child's baby teeth are falling out, or have questions about the permanent teeth that will soon take their place, book an appointment with your dentist.
The American Dental Association. Oral Health Topics. Eruption Charts. Accessed September 22, 2009.