At about age five or six, your kid’s teeth will begin to loosen and fall off one by one. For some kids, this could be something that they look forward to, as it means that they’ll soon get a visit from the tooth fairy. On the other hand, parents like you are left wondering about what happens to the baby tooth roots?
Simply put, the roots are dissolved by the crown of the succeeding permanent teeth. This dissolution, otherwise known as exfoliation, is what causes the baby teeth to get loose and eventually fall off.
Learn more about the fate of the baby teeth as their permanent counterparts erupt into the mouth.
The baby teeth — otherwise known as the primary teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth — are the first set of teeth to erupt in the mouth. These teeth are known for having those thin, thread-like roots.
Most kids have their first tooth at around six months of life, but on the average, it appears anytime from three months to one year. At age three, your kid should have 20 baby teeth, 10 each on the upper and lower jaw.
Some kids begin losing their baby teeth as early as four years old but for many, it is around age five to seven. Normally, the baby teeth that erupted first are also the first ones to fall off.
Take note of the central incisors, or front teeth, for instance. These teeth are the first ones to come out, so they are also the first ones to be gone.
Even though you can’t see them, the roots of baby teeth are actually very important. For one, they hold the baby teeth in place until they are ready to fall off and be replaced. Also, these roots preserve the space for the incoming permanent teeth, allowing them to grow into correct position and alignment.
In most cases, exfoliation of the baby teeth occurs naturally without any problem. However, there are instances where the tooth roots remain intact, causing the permanent successor to erupt behind the baby tooth. If you observe this in your kid, consult your dentist right away to have the retained baby tooth extracted.
To take care of a loose tooth, encourage your kid to brush regularly and thoroughly. If food and other debris gets trapped into these teeth, bacteria can accumulate and grow. This could result in the decay of the underlying permanent teeth even before they had the chance to erupt.
You may also ask your kid to gently wiggle the loose tooth (or teeth) with their tongue. Tell them to refrain from yanking the tooth to avoid damaging the roots. Wiggling the loose tooth gently allows the roots to dissolve properly and fall off faster.
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