Tooth loss is normal in small children, of course, but should not be a problem for adults. To help answer the question, “Is tooth loss normal”, let’s take a look at the process, shall we?
A child’s teeth should begin to come in at about one year old, and they should keep their “baby teeth” until they are approximately 4-6 years old. Sometime between the ages of four and eight, your child’s baby teeth will begin to fall out, as the roots of infant teeth naturally dissolve, allowing for their permanent teeth to grow in and replace them (creating wonderful job security for the Tooth Fairy).
This process is completely normal in a healthy child and you should always allow your child’s baby teeth to fall out in their own time and place. Do not try to “help them along” by pulling your child’s baby teeth, as this can lead to infections and other problems. If a stubborn tooth should persist and resist coming out, see your dentist instead.
Early tooth loss in infants and toddlers
Your child’s body has a schedule for the growth of teeth, from baby teeth to permanent teeth, as described above. However, some very young children may experience the premature loss of their baby teeth, usually due to genetics or an autoimmune disorder, diabetes or other metabolic disorders, for example.
If your child is losing teeth before the age of four years, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Permanent teeth in children
Once your child has lost his or her baby teeth, the new permanent replacement teeth will grow in. This will be the last set of teeth your child will grow; hence the phrase “permanent teeth,” of course. To ensure your child a long life with a mouthful of healthy teeth, you should begin teaching proper dental hygiene early and often; including brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day.
If your child should at some point begin to play contact sports, such as football, basketball, hockey, or soccer for example, make sure she or he uses a mouth guard to protect those beautiful teeth. Should your child receive an inadvertent blow to the mouth, teeth may be broken or chipped, or may even be knocked out completely. A mouth guard is relatively inexpensive protections for your child’s teeth. (By the way, a mouth guard can also help to prevent concussion.)
As your child ages, daily hygiene will become his or her responsibility, rather than yours. However, as the parent, you will help to control your child’s diet and you should be extremely conscious of what your child is ingesting daily. High sugar products are particularly problematic in children and teens, as sugar can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay and cavities. Girls in their teens are also prone to tooth problems if calcium is deficient in their diet, as they acquire most of the calcium their bodies will need by the age of 17.
Tooth loss in adults
Tooth loss in adults is not natural, of course, but can be a problem for many reasons; including a high sugar diet continued from adolescence, or a continuation of poor dental hygiene. Of course, disease can also lead to tooth loss, especially periodontal disease, which is the most common reason for tooth loss in adults.
If your teeth have loosened, or if you have begun to lose teeth on a somewhat regular basis, visit your dentist immediately for a full dental check-up and treatment options.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.