Children Brushing Baby TeethAnswers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: Why do we have baby teeth and adult teeth?

A: A child needs baby teeth long before his or her jaw is big enough to accommodate 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: They are essential “guides” that help frame the development of adult teeth and the jawbone. The beginnings or “buds” of adult teeth are right behind, starting at birth. Severely decayed teeth can pass the disease back, and don’t help the permanent teeth grow in properly.

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

A: They’re forcefully pressed out by the properly developing adult teeth. As grownup teeth grow and press through the jaw to the mouth’s interior, they cause the previous tooth’s 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 wiggling and you and your child decide it’s time to go, grip it firmly with a clean hanky and rock it out gently.