Children Brushing TeethAnswers to some frequently-asked questions:

Q: Why do we have two sets of teeth?

A: A child needs teeth long before his or her jaw is big enough to accommodate the full set of adult teeth. Baby, or deciduous, teeth are “starters” in every sense of the word.

Q: Why worry about cavities if baby teeth fall out on their own?

A: Baby teeth are important “guides” that help frame the development of adult teeth, even the jaw. In fact, the beginnings or “buds” of adult teeth are right behind the baby teeth starting at birth. Badly decayed baby teeth can pass the disease back, and don’t help the permanent teeth grow in properly.

Q: How do baby teeth “know” when to fall out?

A: They’re effectively pressed out by properly developing adult teeth. As grownup teeth grow and press through the jaw to the mouth’s interior, they cause the baby-tooth roots to dissolve.

Q: What—if anything—should I do about a loose baby tooth?

A: Ideally, a loose tooth will fall out on its own or (since they are the only ones who truly know how loose it is) the child will pull it out themselves. But, if it’s really wiggling and needs to be removed, grip it firmly with a clean hanky and rock it out gently.