New parents are always looking out for their child’s milestones– be it their first smile, their first words, when they began walking or when their first tooth erupts. Your child’s dental health is vital for their overall health, and so, every parent must know how to take of their child’s teeth and the normal cycle of when children teeth erupt and fall out.
Children with healthy teeth and gums have healthier dentition in adulthood and good physical health. It is a common misconception that a child’s milk teeth are not as important as permanent ones. Well, fact check – Your child’s milk teeth are just as important as their permanent teeth!
Where Do Your Child’s Teeth Come From?
Your child’s baby teeth erupt from the tooth buds, which are present at birth. As your child grows up, teeth buds for their permanent or adult teeth begin to form below the existing baby teeth.
How Do Teeth Erupt in Children?
Teeth eruption and exfoliation (or falling out) are complex physiological mechanisms of the body. Your child’s first teeth erupt between four to seven months of age, with most of them having atleast one erupting tooth at six months. Your child’s lower front teeth are usually the first to erupt, followed by their upper front teeth. One of the first signs that your baby’s teeth are erupting is a slight bulge in their lower gum pads. Many mothers may also notice their baby’s erupting teeth during feeding.
The process of teeth eruption is preceded by a phase called teething. It usually begins around six months of age, during which your child may experience the following symptoms:
- Swollen gums that may be tender on touch
- Excessive fussiness and crying
- A rise in body temperature
- A gnawing tendency to chew everything or put everything in their mouth
- Excessive salivation and drooling
Teething can occur during the eruption of all your child’s baby teeth but may hurt more when their back teeth or molars are coming through.
By three years of age, all of your child’s baby teeth (20 in number) would have erupted.
How Do Children Teeth Fall Out?
Have you ever thought of how your child’s teeth fall out and the new ones come in their place? The permanent set of teeth is 32 in number and follows an eruption pattern similar to the milk teeth.
Around six years, your child’s first permanent or adult teeth begin to erupt. The first permanent teeth to erupt are the lower front teeth that replace the existing baby teeth. Your child’s body releases certain chemicals that begin dissolving the roots of the baby teeth and guide the underlying permanent teeth to erupt in their place.
When the natural process slowly dissolves the roots of the baby teeth, they loosen up and fall out. In most cases, only the top portion of the tooth called the crown remains that falls out. After a baby tooth has fallen out, you see the permanent tooth making its way through the gums. This happens with 20 permanent teeth that replace the existing baby teeth.
However, the remaining 12 teeth present in the permanent set of children teeth erupt according to the body’s clock. By 14 years, your child will have all their incisors, canines, premolars and two sets of molars. The third set of molars, called third molars or wisdom teeth, usually erupt around 20 or 21 years of age.
Why Do Children Have Two Sets of Teeth?
Ever wondered why children have two sets of teeth? Well, you will be surprised to know that your child’s baby teeth hold the space for their permanent counterparts till their jaws are large enough to accommodate them. Other functions of milk teeth are:
- Enable your child to eat, bite and chew, all of which are essential for their overall health
- Enable your child to speak
- Guide your child’s jaw growth and development
- Guide permanent teeth into their proper positions
Though your child has two sets of teeth, both sets are equally important and require an adequate amount of care to keep them cavity-free.
How to Take Care Of Your Child’s Teeth During Teeth Eruption and Fall Out?
It is called a primary dentition phase when your child has only milk teeth (between three to six years of age). Between six years till around 12, your child will have a few milk teeth and a few permanent teeth, giving this phase its name, the mixed dentition phase. Did you know you must begin oral hygiene measures for your child even before their first set of teeth erupt? It’s true! It is a good habit to clean their gum pads with a clean, wet cloth right after feeding. This helps to keep a healthy environment for milk teeth to erupt.
Once your child’s first teeth come, you must take them for their first dental visit. Your dentist will train you in brushing your child’s teeth. As your child grows up, they may want to brush on their own. You must, however, continue monitoring their brushing until they are atleast seven or eight years old.
Here are some ways to ease your child’s discomfort during teething:
- Massage your baby’s gums with a wet gauze
- Give them a chilled spoon or chew toy to relieve the pain
- Milk popsicles may be a good idea to calm their irritation
- Your child’s dentist may prescribe OTC pain medications or fever-relieving medications
Older children may avoid brushing their teeth if they have pain or discomfort during teething. However, encourage them to brush lightly and keep the area clean to permanent teeth erupt in a healthy oral environment.
Good childhood dental health and habits go a long way in keeping your child’s mouth healthy even after they grow up. If you have any queries or concerns about your child’s teeth eruption and falling out, speak to our expert paediatric dentists at Shams Dental Clinic today!