When Do Kids Start Losing Teeth?

Kids have normally grown all of their primary (baby) teeth by the age of 3, but teething isn't over yet. From the age of 6 or 7 (sometimes earlier), they'll start to lose their primary teeth and grow their permanent (adult) teeth.

Just because baby teeth are going to fall out doesn't mean they can be neglected. It's important to care for your child's teeth from the time they first appear, as this can lower their risk of oral health problems and help their adult teeth to develop normally.

beautiful teeth

What should you do when your child's tooth falls out?

Even losing teeth naturally can be an upsetting experience for some children. You should reassure your child that losing teeth is normal and that a new tooth will be along to replace it soon. Playing tooth fairy and giving your child a coin in exchange for their tooth could help to turn the experience into a positive one.

If their mouth is painful or swollen after a tooth falls out, this could be eased with pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication suitable for children, or by placing a cold compress or ice pack on the side of their face.

If a child's primary tooth gets knocked out in an accident, you should see a dentist straight away so they can check for further injuries. Don't try to put the tooth back into the socket, as this could damage the permanent tooth growing underneath.

How long after baby teeth fall out do permanent teeth come in?

Adult teeth don't come through all at once. The process usually takes several years, with wisdom teeth coming much later.

Teeth normally grow in groups, replacing the same type of teeth on each side of the upper and lower jaws around the same time. The typical timeline is:

  • Age 6–7: first molars (chewing teeth)
  • Age 6–8: central incisors (front teeth)
  • Age 7–8: lateral incisors (second teeth from the front)
  • Age 9–13: canine teeth (sharp biting teeth) and premolars
  • Age 11–13: second molars
  • Age 17–25: third molars (wisdom teeth)

By the time a child reaches adulthood, they should have between 28 and 32 permanent teeth, depending on how many wisdom teeth come through. Not everyone has wisdom teeth, and if there's a risk that they might cause problems, your dentist might recommend wisdom tooth removal.

How to look after kids' teeth

Regular visits to a dentist and dental hygienist are important for monitoring the development of their teeth and jaws, protecting their teeth against plaque and catching problems such as tooth decay, gum disease or orthodontic issues before these can cause permanent damage.

You can also look after your child's teeth by:

  • helping them to brush their teeth twice a day until the age of 7–8, by which time most children can brush their own teeth
  • using low-fluoride children's toothpaste before the age of 6 and encouraging them not to swallow the toothpaste
  • flossing their teeth as soon as they have 2 teeth that touch
  • discouraging sugary drinks and snacks as much as possible
  • making sure they drink plenty of water (especially tap water containing fluoride)
  • talking to their dentist about preventive treatments such as fissure sealants to protect their teeth against plaque
  • having their dentist make a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect their teeth during sports

Talk to a kids' dentist in Auckland

If it's time for your child's check-up or you need some advice, contact our friendly team at St Heliers Dental Centre. Call us on (09) 575 5814 or contact us to book an appointment today.