From a gummy grin to a toothy smile and back again, the journey baby teeth take is full of ups, downs, ins and outs. While babies aren’t born with teeth, it doesn’t take very long for those pearly whites to start poking through the gums in a process known as erupting. The journey of baby teeth can be unique to each kid and there is a large range when it comes to when teeth come in or are lost. However, the total process can be summed up into five big moments: birth, early days, first check-up, first lost tooth and final lost tooth.
That cute gummy smile every baby sports in their early days isn’t just for looks. Humans are born without teeth because an early infant diet is 100% liquid. Without the need to chew foods, babies don’t have the immediate need for teeth. Instead, their baby teeth are hidden away and ready to come in. Babies are born with their full set of baby teeth just below their gums. As babies get older, their teeth start to move through and out of their gums.
A baby will get its first tooth between six and 12 months. Typically, the front teeth, also known as the incisors, appear first. Baby tooth eruption may lead to some sore or tender gums. While this discomfort is temporary, parents can be proactive with some at-home remedies. To help a baby’s pain be more tolerable during this phase, parents may find it helpful to give their baby something to chew on such as a teething ring or another soft toy. Parents can also gently rub their baby’s gums with a clean finger, a cool spoon or a wet gauze.
When a baby starts to get their teeth at around eight months to one year, it is a good time to take them to their first dental check-up. A quick trip to a pediatric dentist will ensure that a baby’s teeth, jaw and gums are developing correctly. Finding the right pediatric dentist can be hard so research is important. Delta Dental of Washington provides a helpful tool to find pediatric dentists across the state.
First lost tooth
Generally, kids will lose their first baby tooth from six to seven years old. While all kids lose their teeth at different times, it is typical to lose teeth in the same order they came in. If a kid’s first tooth was a top incisor, it is likely that the same tooth will be the first to come out! It is important that kids don’t pull on their loose tooth and instead wait until it falls out naturally. Baby teeth help guide adult teeth into the correct place like runway control workers do with airplanes. Pulling out a baby tooth too early can confuse an adult tooth and cause it to come in crooked. Once a kid’s baby tooth does fall out, the Tooth Fairy may take it away and leave behind money and a letter.
Last lost tooth
Baby teeth will continue to fall out in the same way they came in until a kid is about 12 years old. Canine and molar teeth seem to be the last to come out at around the age of nine and 12. While all baby teeth eventually fall out, it is important to care for them as if they were permanent. Proper pediatric dental care and healthy baby teeth help build the foundation for the proper care of adult teeth later in life. Baby teeth health, or lack thereof, can directly impact the health of permanent teeth later in life. Cavities can occur at any age and can travel from tooth to tooth. It is important to take care of baby teeth because a cavity on a non-permanent baby tooth can even spread to a permanent adult tooth.
Ensuring that children are practicing good dental health at a young age is essential for a baby tooth’s healthy journey. From the first tooth to the last, kids should brush twice a day and floss once a day with regular visits to the dentist. Building healthy habits early on means a long life with healthy teeth!