Why Do We Lose Baby Teeth?

Have you ever wondered why we spend so much time taking care of our baby teeth that we will lose eventually in just a few years? The answer is a bit more complicated than just providing the tooth fairy with something to collect.

Why Do We Lose Baby Teeth?

Most people have around 20 baby teeth, sometimes called milk teeth, once they are through with teething. Our first set of teeth are replaced by our adult teeth, or permanent teeth. Typically, most people start experiencing the loss of their baby teeth and growth of their permanent teeth at around 11 to 12 years old.

Mammals, including humans, who grow two sets of teeth as they age are called diphyodonts. Our first set of teeth are much smaller than the teeth we get later on because our heads and jaws are much smaller. We need our teeth early on so we can develop our speech, and to help us eat foods rich with nutrients to help us grow strong, primarily fruits and vegetables.

If we kept our same baby teeth as we grew up, our teeth would be too small and widely spaced to properly chew our food. Baby teeth also act as placeholders for our permanent teeth when they come in. Baby teeth preserve the space for our adult teeth while they are still forming beneath our gums and inside our jaws. 

Taking Care of Your Smile Early on

If we’re just going to lose our baby teeth, we don’t have to take good care of them, right? Wrong! It is even more important to make sure baby teeth are routinely brushed and flossed, because if a baby tooth is lost prematurely, either from an injury or from cavities, it can make the adult teeth grow in too early, leading to overcrowding of teeth or incorrect spacing. 

Getting the Right Treatment from the Get-Go

Orthodontists actually encourage patients as young as seven to be brought in for an early intervention evaluation. Even if a young patient still has baby teeth, orthodontic treatment can help solve certain issues like overbites, underbites, and narrow jaws that create teeth crowding. Starting early can lead to a shorter length of treatment that is also often less invasive. 

Early treatment is also called Phase I treatment because it is usually followed by a Phase II treatment of braces or Invisalign once all of the adult teeth have erupted. This treatment usually consists of an appliance, palatal expander, partial set of braces, or Invisalign First, and is done between the ages of 7 and 10.

Phase I treatment can provide ample space for adult teeth (which can reduce the need to extract teeth later), encourage proper jaw growth, eliminate harmful habits like thumb-sucking, and increase your child’s self-esteem if they are embarrassed by their smile.

It’s never too early to get a perfect smile! At Milnor Orthodontics, you can book a free consultation appointment today to see if early preventive intervention care is right for your child.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit milnororthodontics.com to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.