Now that your child has all of their teeth and have a cute smile, take lots of pictures, because now comes the part where all their little teeth are going to start falling out!
At about age five or six, children begin to lose their top and bottom front teeth. Between the ages of six to 12, they will usually lose all of their baby teeth.
Besides helping children chew and pronounce words, the baby teeth hold a place in the jaws for the permanent teeth, which begin pushing the baby teeth out. The first permanent teeth come between six and seven years, which are the molars. During this time your child’s smile will be uneven, with some big and small teeth and even some gaps or baby teeth. By age 12 or 13 most kids have lost all of their baby teeth and have a full set of permanent teeth.
Keeping your child’s teeth clean is a very important step in preventing cavities. By the age six or seven children should be able to brush their own teeth, with child supervision of course. Child-sized toothbrushes are easiest for kids to use. The head of the toothbrush is a lot smaller so it’s easier to fit in their mouths and reach further back.
Around age 10 or 11, most children should be able to brush their teeth with no supervision.
Here are a few brushing tips:
- Place toothbrush against the gums.
- Move brush in a circular motion.
- Brush the outer, upper and lower surfaces of the teeth. Repeat same method on the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen breath and remove bacteria.
Flossing is another important part of keeping teeth clean and healthy. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach. When your child is ready to floss and gently clean between the teeth, they should be flossing at least once a day.
You can protect your child’s teeth with sealants. A sealant is a material that is applied to teeth where decay occurs most often, which is usually the back molars on the chewing surfaces. These teeth have pits and grooves that are hard to clean, the sealant bonds to the tooth and protects teeth from plaque and acid attacks. Sealing a tooth is fast and painless. Sealants can last several years before they need to be reapplied.