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The visit of the tooth fairy - When do children's teeth fall out?

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Most kids start parting with their primary teeth by the time they reach their sixth birthday. Sure, losing a tooth can be worrying for most children, but societies all around the world have softened the blow by introducing mythical beings who appear in the night and exchange the tooth for gold!

Here, we explain when children's teeth begin falling out and look at some of the things that different cultures around the world do to put their children's minds at ease when their teeth start falling out.

When do children's teeth fall out?

Most children will lose their first tooth at around six years of age. The rest of their primary teeth will then fall out between the ages of 6 and 12. However, most children lose their teeth in a uniform pattern.

The lower central incisors are the first teeth that children lose, while the upper second molars are the last to drop out. The table below indicates the typical age at which most children lose their teeth:

Tooth 

Typical age of loss 

Lower central incisors 

6-7 

Upper central incisors 

6-7 

Upper lateral incisors 

7-8 

Lower lateral incisors 

7-8 

Upper first molars 

9-11

Lower first molars 

9-11

Lower canines 

9-12

Upper canines

10-12 

Lower second molars 

10-12 

Upper second molars 

10-12

Most children lose all of their primary teeth by the time they are 12 years old and will have their 32 adult teeth sometime in their teenage years.

Why do we have two sets of teeth?

The fact that humans have two sets of teeth is a point of evolutionary interest.

The best explanation we have is that the primary teeth serve as placeholders while the jaw develops.

When the permanent tooth behind the primary tooth is ready to erupt (emerge), it will dislodge the primary tooth and cause it to fall out.

Fortunately, as shown by the table above, this doesn't happen all at the same time, and most children see this process play out over a period of 5-6 years.

Do children's teeth hurt when they fall out?

Not usually, but the first time a child loses a tooth can be worrying for them. At the age of six, they're unlikely to recognize the significance of losing a tooth and may get upset.

Your child is only likely to feel pain if their teeth fall out as a result of an injury or trauma. If the primary tooth is loosened by the eruption of an adult tooth, it shouldn't cause any pain or discomfort.

It's your job as a parent to reassure them that it's perfectly natural and nothing to be worried about. It's for this reason that many cultures around the world have adopted various rituals - such as the tooth fairy - to set their children's minds at ease when their teeth begin falling out.

What do different societies do when children's teeth fall out?

The world reacts in different ways to their children's teeth falling out! Here are some of the traditions in place in different parts of the world

🇺🇸 The Tooth Fairy

Popular in the US, UK, and other countries, the tooth fairy appears overnight when a child loses a tooth. The legend goes that if the child places the tooth under the pillow, the tooth fairy will take the tooth and replace it with coins or notes, perhaps a few quarters or dollars.

🇪🇸 The Tooth Mouse

In the Spanish-speaking world, the tooth fairy is a mouse known affectionately as “El Ratoncito Perez.” The premise is the same - the Tooth Mouse will take the fallen tooth and exchange it for cash or a gift.

🇪🇬 Sun Tooth

In Egypt and other North African countries, children are encouraged to throw their tooth at the sun as an offering to the Gods.

🇦🇷 Glass Tooth

In Argentina, kids are encouraged to leave their primary teeth in a glass of water. A thirsty rodent is said to appear during the night, taking the tooth and replacing it with a small gift.

🇧🇷 Teeth for the Birds

In Brazil, children throw their primary teeth into the garden for the birds. Their parents explain that the birds will take clean teeth and return to provide them with adult teeth as they sleep!

Conclusion

So, you can expect your child's teeth to start falling out when they reach their sixth birthday, and their lower central incisors are likely to be the first to go.

It's perfectly natural for your kids' teeth to start falling out at this age, and their teeth will continue dropping until around the twelfth birthday. From there, their adult teeth will start erupting.

Whether you opt for the Tooth Fairy or the Tooth Mouse, you can introduce a little fun to the process, which will help your kids accept the fact that their teeth are no longer with them!

FAQs

Q1: When do children's milk teeth fall out?

Children's milk teeth will fall out between the ages of six and twelve. They don't all fall out at the same time - use our chart above to guide you.

Q2: When do children's front teeth fall out?

The front teeth are usually the first to start falling out and begin at the age of six.
When do children's back teeth fall out?

The back teeth (molars) are the last to go, and most children's second molars will fall out by the time of their twelfth birthday.

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