Your child’s tooth eruption patterns

The growth of baby teeth is an important milestone in any child’s life. It generally signals the halfway point to a child’s first birthday.  Pediatric dental care is an essential part of a child’s overall health and wellness. Understanding how a child’s teeth erupt and the care of these primary teeth is vital to parents and their children alike.

Care for a child’s smile can and should begin before the first tooth even emerges into young mouths. In fact, parents can begin caring for a child’s teeth by taking care to clean mouths after feedings simply by gently wiping down the gum lines with a wet washcloth or a moist piece of gauze in order to remove any excess food. Baby food, formula, and breast milk all contain sugars, which turn to acidic plaque upon being introduced to saliva. The first tooth eruption will be very easy for parents to spot. Believe it or not, tooth eruption is not a random process. Teeth erupt in a specific sequence in practically all children. The first tooth to erupt is generally the bottom central incisor. As your son or daughter ages, the lateral incisors, canines and first and second primary molars will erupt.  This generally occurs by the age of three. If a patient suspects no oral health care problems, this is probably the best time to have your child visit their dentist for their initial examination.

The health of primary teeth is more important than many parents may realize. Though these teeth will of course be replaced by adult teeth in just a few years’ time, the strength, health, and placement of baby teeth directly relates to that of the permanent teeth that will one day replace the primary teeth. Baby teeth which become riddled with cavities or fall out too soon due to decay can produce problems which may affect the permanent teeth.

A child’s first teeth to be lost are those which grew in first. Around six to seven years of age, your child will lose their central incisors as permanent teeth erupt in their place. The next teeth to go are the lateral incisors, which are lost between seven to eight years of age. The first molar, which is the molar which grows closes to the front of the mouth, will be the next to be lost between nine eleven years of age. This can often be strange for children and parents, as the first molar is most often shed before the canines, which are closer to the front of the mouth. However, the canines are usually close to follow the first molar, being lost between ten to twelve years for the upper canine, and between nine and twelve for the lower canine. The last teeth to be lost are generally the second primary molars, usually shedding and being replaced between ten and twelve years of age.