Call Us: (02) 9538 7028

A child’s dental development journey is a fascinating process that spans several years, involving the gradual loss of baby teeth and the eruption of permanent teeth. Understanding how many baby teeth fall and kids lose and the stages involved in this transition is essential for parents, caregivers, and educators. This blog investigates the intricate details of how many baby teeth children lose, the stages of dental development, and the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene throughout this journey.

The Basics: How Many Teeth Do Kids Lose?

How Many Teeth Do Kids Lose toddlerMost children are born without teeth, and their first set of teeth, known as baby teeth or primary teeth, typically begins to emerge around six months of age. By the time they reach three years old, most children have a full set of 20 baby teeth. These include:

  • 4 central incisors
  • 4 lateral incisors
  • 4 canines
  • 8 molars (including the first and second molars)

The process of losing baby teeth, known as exfoliation, usually begins around the age of six. Most children will lose all 20 of their baby teeth by the time they are 12 years old, making way for their permanent adult teeth.

The Stages of Losing Baby Teeth

The order in which children lose their baby teeth typically follows the same pattern in which they emerged. Here’s a general timeline:

  1. Lower Central Incisors: These teeth are usually the first to fall out, and they are often lost around six to seven years of age.
  2. Upper Central Incisors: Following closely behind, these teeth typically fall out between six to eight years of age.
  3. Lateral Incisors: The upper and lower lateral incisors usually fall out between seven and eight years of age.
  4. First Molars: These teeth generally fall out between nine and eleven years of age.
  5. Canines: The upper canines are usually lost around ten to twelve years of age, while the lower canines can fall out slightly earlier.
  6. Second Molars: These are typically the last baby teeth to be lost, usually around ten to twelve years of age.

The Transition to Permanent Teeth

As children lose their baby teeth, permanent teeth begin to emerge. By the age of 13, most children have 28 of their 32 permanent teeth. The four remaining teeth, known as wisdom teeth or third molars, generally emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. However, not everyone develops all four wisdom teeth.

The 32 permanent teeth include the following:

  • 8 incisors
  • 4 canines
  • 8 premolars
  • 12 molars (including 4 wisdom teeth)

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Throughout the process of losing baby teeth and gaining permanent teeth, maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial. Here are some tips to help ensure healthy dental development:

  1. Regular Brushing: Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Using a soft toothbrush helps to protect their gums and enamel.
  2. Flossing: Once a child’s teeth start to touch, it’s important to introduce flossing to remove plaque and food particles between teeth.
  3. Routine Dental Checkups: Regular visits to a dentist can help monitor a child’s dental development and address any issues early.
  4. Healthy Diet: A balanced diet of low-sugar snacks and drinks helps prevent tooth decay and enhances overall oral health.
  5. Protection During Sports: For children involved in sports, wearing a mouthguard can shield against dental injuries.

The Psychological Aspect of Losing Teeth

Losing baby teeth is a significant milestone and can be an emotional experience for children. Here’s how to support them:

Addressing Fears and Concerns

  • Open Communication: Talk to your child about what to expect when losing teeth, addressing any fears or concerns they might have.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate the milestones of losing teeth, whether through the tradition of the tooth fairy or other rewarding experiences.

Encouraging Self-Care

  • Empowerment: Teach children the importance of taking care of their teeth and the role they play in maintaining their own dental health.
  • Routine Establishment: Help them establish a consistent oral hygiene routine that they can follow independently.

The Importance of Monitoring Dental Development

Monitoring a child’s dental development goes beyond simply tracking the loss of baby teeth and the eruption of permanent teeth. It’s a thorough approach that involves understanding the various factors that can affect dental health and taking preventive measures to address any potential issues. Here are some critical aspects to consider:

Recognising Developmental Milestones

How Many Teeth Do Kids Lose brushEvery child’s dental development is unique, and while there is a general timeline for losing baby teeth and gaining permanent teeth, variations are normal. However, recognising key developmental milestones can help identify any deviations that might require attention:

  • First Tooth Eruption: Generally, it takes around six months, but it can vary.
  • Full Set of Baby Teeth: Typically by age three.
  • First Permanent Teeth: Around six years old, beginning with the first molars and lower central incisors.
  • Complete Set of Permanent Teeth (excluding wisdom teeth): By age 13.

Identifying and Addressing Dental Issues Early

Early identification and intervention are mandatory for preventing more severe dental problems later in life. Some common issues include:

  • Crowding and Misalignment: As permanent teeth come in, they might not always align properly. Early orthodontic evaluations can help determine if braces or other treatments are needed.
  • Tooth Decay and Cavities: Even with baby teeth, cavities can be painful and cause infections. Routine dental checkups and maintaining proper oral hygiene habits are essential.
  • Impacted Teeth: This occurs when a tooth cannot emerge properly, often seen with wisdom teeth. Regular dental X-rays can help monitor the positioning of developing teeth.

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental checkups are crucial for maintaining dental health. Here’s what to expect:

  • First Dental Visit: The first dental visit should take place within six months of the first tooth emerging or by the child’s first birthday.
  • Routine Checkups: Scheduled every six months, these visits help monitor dental development and catch any issues early.
  • Cleanings and Exams: Regular cleanings help remove plaque and tartar buildup, and exams allow the dentist to assess the child’s dental health.
  • Sealants: Dental sealants can be placed on the chewing surfaces of the molars to protect against cavities.

Managing Dental Emergencies

Accidents occur, and understanding how to manage dental emergencies can significantly impact the outcomes:

Common Emergencies

  • Knocked-Out Tooth: If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it’s crucial to act quickly. Rinse the tooth gently and try to place it back in the socket, or store it in milk and seek immediate dental care.
  • Chipped or Broken Tooth: Rinse the mouth with warm water, use a cold compress to minimise swelling, and promptly visit the dentist.
  • Toothache: Rinse the mouth with warm water and use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If the pain persists, visit the dentist for evaluation.

The Role of the Tooth Fairy

The magical tradition of the tooth fairy making a visit when a child loses a baby tooth is a cherished part of childhood in many cultures. This ritual not only adds a sense of excitement but also helps children cope with the anxiety of losing their first teeth. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the milestones of dental development.

Common Concerns and Questions

Parents often have several questions and concerns about their child’s dental development. Here are some frequently asked questions:

  1. What if my child loses a tooth early?

Early tooth loss can be caused by various factors, including tooth decay or trauma. It’s important to consult with a paediatric dentist to ensure there are no underlying issues and to discuss the potential need for space maintainers to prevent the misalignment of permanent teeth.

  1. What should I do if my child’s tooth is loose but not falling out?

If a baby’s tooth is loose but not falling out, it’s usually best to let nature take its course. However, if the tooth is causing discomfort or if there are concerns, a visit to the child’s dentist can provide guidance.

  1. How can I help my child manage the discomfort of a loose tooth?

How Many Teeth Do Kids Lose careEncourage your child to gently wiggle to loosen the tooth with their tongue or a clean finger. Over-the-counter pain relief can also be used if necessary, and offering soft foods can make eating more comfortable.

  1. What happens if a permanent tooth is coming in behind a baby tooth?

This is known as “shark teeth” and is relatively common. It often resolves on its own as the baby tooth eventually falls out. If the baby’s tooth does not fall out within a few weeks, consulting a dentist is advisable.

  1. How can I prevent tooth decay in my child’s baby teeth?

Good oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet, and regular dental checkups are key to preventing tooth decay. Limiting sugary foods and drinks and encouraging regular brushing and flossing can considerably reduce the risk of cavities.

Embrace the Journey to a Healthy Smile

Understanding how many teeth kids lose and the stages of dental development can empower parents and caregivers to support their children through this crucial phase of growth. Maintain good oral hygiene and stay informed to keep your child’s smile healthy as they transition from baby to permanent teeth. Regular dentist visits and a balanced diet are key. Celebrate tooth fairy traditions, and enjoy watching your child’s smile evolve.

If you have any concerns about your child’s dental health or face a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bright-On Bay Dental at (02) 9538 7028. Our experienced team is here to provide comprehensive care and guidance to ensure your child’s teeth develop healthily. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss any dental concerns you may have. Together, we can ensure your child’s smile stays bright and healthy!


Eruption Charts. (n.d.). MouthHealthy. Retrieved from

Knocked-Out Teeth. (n.d.). Dental Health. Retrieved from

9 Tips to Boost Your Oral Hygiene Routine. (n.d.). Johnson & Johnson. Retrieved from

Wisdom Teeth. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved from ​