kids teethThroughout your childs’ young life, they’ll develop baby teeth, which they will lose as they get a little older. Though primary (baby) teeth are temporary, they play a significant role and our Ottawa dentist says they should be cared for to ensure that they last as long as they’re supposed to. 

What Are the Primary Roles of Baby Teeth?

Primary teeth are very important in your growing child because they help shape their facial features and structure.

Oral anatomy plays a big role in how we speak and pronounce sounds. If children are missing certain teeth that help with tongue movement and pronunciation, they could develop a speech impairment.

Specific functions give each tooth their distinct size and shape. For example, the front teeth are sharp and flat because they’re used to bite into food.  The canines (the pointy teeth on the sides of the mouth) are used to tear food, and the back molars have a large biting surface allowing them to chew and break down food. 

With your kids’ teeth functioning like a well-oiled machine, missing even just one tooth can significantly impact their biting and chewing ability. 

Furthermore, baby teeth serve as space maintainers, reserving the room for each permanent tooth to come in later in life. Each primary tooth has a specific period of time in which it will loosen and fall out. Losing a primary tooth prematurely will cause the neighbouring teeth to drift toward the space, meaning that when the permanent tooth is ready to come in, it won’t have enough room.

Baby Teeth Eruption – When Do Kids’ Teeth Emerge

Seeing emerging teeth in your baby is exciting but this occurrence can also be stressful because cutting teeth can cause some discomfort. Looking at a kid’s primary teeth chart and learning what to expect as far as tooth eruption goes will help you feel better prepared to assist your child through this time.

While the age of tooth eruption and loss varies with each child, some parents may see their baby cut a tooth as early as six months of age. The first ones to appear are the two lower-middle teeth.

As the months progress and your child continues to grow, you’ll see more baby teeth come in. The first molars may appear between 12-18 months of age. This often occurs before the canines come in (which may not be until 2 years of age.) The last teeth to emerge are the second molars, and this will be once your child is around 2 years old or a little older.

A general rule of thumb is that for every 6 months of life, approximately 4 teeth will erupt, one in each quadrant of the mouth.

How Many Teeth Do Kids Have?

Once your child has cut all of their baby teeth, you’ll see an adorable smile adorned with 20 white and tiny teeth.  Children should see the dentist for the first time 6 months after their first tooth has come in or by the age of 1, whichever comes first.  Though they may not look like much, remember that these teeth are very important and should be cared for properly.

When Do Kids Start Losing Teeth?

After the initial 20 teeth have come in, you and your child will get a little break from cutting teeth for a few years. But when do kids lose their teeth? 

The next milestone will be around the age of six, which is when they’ll start shedding those primary teeth and changing them out for adult ones. Once a baby tooth is gone, it should be replaced with a new, permanent one within a few weeks. 

This exfoliation process will occur in a similar succession as the initial cutting of the baby teeth. In other words, the first ones to go are the first ones to have come in. The front teeth are first, then the back ones. 

In addition to losing baby teeth and having permanent ones take their place, your son or daughter will get a total of eight brand new, permanent teeth. The first will be the six-year molars that appear in the back of their mouth. There will be one in each quadrant, for a total of four. Six-year molars are also known as the “first molars.” Then, around the age of 12 or 13, your child will cut their 12-year molars, which will settle behind the six-year molars. These permanent teeth are also known as “second molars.”

If your child has third molars (wisdom teeth) they may begin erupting at around the age of 17.  However, they’re likely beginning to form for years prior to that. If your child has a panoramic X-ray taken during their checkup sometime during adolescence, you can tell how many wisdom teeth they will be getting. Some people will never form wisdom teeth! This is okay because wisdom teeth don’t play a vital function in the mouth and often get extracted. 

How Many Teeth Do Kids Lose?

Once your child is around the age of 13, they should have lost all twenty of their baby teeth and have them replaced by 28, new permanent teeth. 

Caring for Your Kids Teeth

To clean your baby’s teeth, use a non-fluoride toothpaste and a baby toothbrush or silicone finger brush. Using a small amount of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice,) gently wipe all of the surfaces of each tooth, your baby’s gum tissue, the roof of their mouth, and their tongue. 

When your child gets older give them the responsibility of brushing their own teeth. Teach them how to do it to ensure that they’re cleaning all surfaces of all of their teeth. Supervise them and do a once over until they are able to tie their own shoes. This goes for older children too. It’s easy to get distracted while brushing your teeth and certain areas may be missed, so stay on top of your child’s hygiene routine.

Kid Dentist in Ottawa

The best dentists are the ones that can take care of your entire family’s smiles for life. Parkdale Dental Centre in Ottawa can do just that. We can see your child as early as the age of one for their first dental check-up. To schedule an appointment give us a call today.  We look forward to building a strong relationship with you and your loved ones!