It is surprising to see a baby become a toddler, then a kid, and see them looking funnily toothless after losing their baby teeth. In fact, an emotional moment for parents is saying goodbye to baby teeth, as it marks kids getting into the last part of childhood.
Also, sometimes seeing a kid losing their teeth takes parents by surprise. As a result, parents constantly ask us questions about what to do with baby teeth. Thinking of this, we have created a list of baby tooth-related subtopics based on common parents’ concerns.
With this brief introduction, we then deal with folklore myths scaling to transcendental topics such as the importance of keeping baby teeth and its relation to stem cell research and potential future clinical needs.
The Traditions to Dispose of Teeth.
Historical depictions relatable to baby teeth traditions that occur around the world are pretty entertaining to read. For instance, a common custom that has survived to these days is the tooth fairy tale.
The history of the tooth fairy has passed through generations. Parents tell their kids the story that a Tooth Fairy will appear at night while their kid is sleeping and take the tooth that has fallen, leaving money or other treats in exchange.
The magic occurs only if a kid leaves a baby’s tooth under the pillow. But intendedly, parents use this magic to ease kids’ fear of losing a tooth.
People have replicated this tale inadvertently for centuries. Early narratives describe a Norse tradition characterized by superstitions where a single possession like a tooth control forces of nature or uncommon events.
People thought kids’ teeth bring good luck, so Viking warriors made baby teeth necklaces or buried a tooth, believing that it would help the kid resist the struggles of an afterlife. Later, the parents left a small fee for the teeth’s favors.
During medieval times in Europe, parents tossed baby teeth into the fire. They believed that by doing so, they would free their kids from the malign manipulative forces of witches.
Now, back to the Fairy Tale Tradition, a priest wrote an enchanting story in Spain in 1894, when King Alfonso XIII, an eight-year-old child, saw his first tooth falling off. So Queen Maria Cristina appointed their father Luis Coloma Roldán to write a story to calm her scared kid.
The tale tells a heartwarming story about King Bubi transforming into a mouse. Little Ratón Pérez was King Bubi’s companion and guide. Little Ratón Pérez revealed to Bubi the daily struggles the crown subjects faced.
The story’s primary purpose was to teach King Alfonso XIII values like kindness and bravery. Later on, the story was adapted and publicized, appearing in Wisconsin in 1950. Little Ratón Perez’s popularity was the germ for adaptations in Japan, Russia, and China.
Other baby teeth traditions relate to burying a kid’s first baby tooth in the place where parents wish their kid will develop its associated attributes. In Turkey, for instance, parents might choose a soccer field, expecting the kid to be a soccer superstar.
In Asia, people throw baby teeth away, believing this will boost the growth of healthy permanent teeth. Also, children throw their mandible teeth to the roof of the house, expecting their new teeth to grow upward, and bury the maxillary teeth as profoundly as possible, wishing their teeth to grow downwards.
In short, baby teeth are the source of traditions, seen as a material source of power against undesired events, and have also helped to create literary work. However, few could deny that a baby’s tooth has sentimental value for parents.
For this reason, we now want to share with parents some suggestions about what they can do to keep baby teeth and how they might serve a fruitful purpose, caring for your child’s health.
How to Preserve Baby Teeth?
We have an assortment of plans you can revise and choose from if you decide to preserve your kid’s baby teeth. Notwithstanding, there are some facts you might want to revise with us about adequately storing and keeping teeth.
Here is a three-step process for keeping a baby tooth for a long time:
You just have to rinse-soap-rinse the tooth in abundant water and soap.
Use rubbing alcohol on the tooth’s surface.
Use a clean towel or air dry the tooth.
Now we are ready to talk about what you can do with your baby’s lost teeth.
What to Do With Saved Baby Teeth
It’s very interesting, but this Dentavox Infographic shows some of the preferences on what to do with baby teeth. Once children’s teeth are taken away by the Tooth Fairy (and totally not their parents), the question is about what to do with them.
Even if nearly 3 in every 4 adults don’t have their primary teeth stored anywhere, over half of those surveyed stated they would like to save their children’s teeth.
Maybe it’s due to a feeling of regret; after all, the number of people saying they regretted not saving their teeth was nearly in the same proportion as those who claim they would like to save their kids.
That has to say something about our upbringing, right? We’ll leave that to the investigators in the appropriate field.
Some of the most popular reasons why adults decided to save their children’s baby teeth included:
- Following family traditions (even if it seems weird to you, some of those traditions are very nice)
- Trying to make the children happy (even some kids ask to save their primary teeth)
- They saw it as the most practical solution (we are not exactly sure what was the original problem, but we’ll take the help we get.)
From the minority stating they would throw away the teeth, some also claimed this meant following family tradition, following some type of ritual. A few individuals also mentioned they chose to bury them as the preferred disposal method.
Our kind suggestion is to have a specially dedicated box to preserve your kid’s baby teeth. You can find a keepsake box in the form of a hearth that resembles how much you appreciate the tooth you want to preserve.
Another option is to provide a new purpose to an existing item you love, like a jewelry box. Though it might be too small to keep more than one dental piece, so we have some other options for you.
You can surf the web and find some keepsake boxes intended to put every single baby tooth in a purposely designed spot. For instance, Etsy has an assortment of options you can check by scrolling down to find the one you like the most.
Many parents opt to have a baby book to save pictures and the most valuable things that marked their baby’s attainments. In addition, a baby book can bring enjoyable memories to parents’ minds by keeping their baby teeth in the baby’s book. An easy way is to attach an envelope with the tooth and assign it a page with the date it fell.
This does exist, and believe us, it is not disturbing. In fact, a baby’s tooth falling is an emotional moment parents wish to preserve. You can also have custom-made jewelry design charms with the tooth as the main piece.
There is a lot of space for imagination. You can try getting an earring or a necklace, and why not? You can also have a ring designed for your preference.
A wise choice is to save your kids’ baby teeth for their use in an elementary school science project. For instance, your child can prove the unwanted effects of corroding acids present in sodas over teeth enamel. By the way, now that we have touched on science as a topic, why don’t we revise what we consider the most relevant option parents can opt to do with baby teeth?
Save Baby Teeth for Stem Cells
To start defining the importance of saving baby teeth for stem cells; we found it relevant to describe a systemic disease. When we refer to the word systemic, it affects the body as a whole instead of a single organ or part—for instance, having high blood pressure.
With this said Stem Cell treatment might be crucial in solving specific systemic disorders or diseases that might present in the future. However, we can’t ignore the fact this type of treatment is expensive because it is fairly new in the healthcare world.
Harvesting stem cells from adults is painful because it requires doing so from bone marrow, but recent studies have proven that the scientific community can also harvest stem cells from teeth. Another study highlights the usefulness of teeth-harvested stem cells.
So, before thinking of disposing of your kid’s baby teeth, please think twice. Medical technology advances tremendously rapidly, and saving and preserving baby teeth can make a massive difference to your loved one.
Finally, preserving teeth for this purpose requires special treatment, so we encourage you to entrust your kids’ baby teeth to qualified experts so that they can treat and harvest stem cells from them. Then, call us so we can help you send the teeth immediately after they fall out.
What Is the Timeline for Baby Teeth to Fall?
By the age of three, children develop their primary teeth. However, some of these teeth stay for a long time until the teenage years. Also, although this set of teeth tends to fall, its care influences the development of permanent teeth that are about to erupt.
Consequently, we encourage you to educate your little kid about cavities, decay, and gum disease and how to prevent them with excellent child oral care. Fortunately, children grasp and process formative messages by the age of three.
Back to the point, the timeline for teeth to fall and erupt ranges between 6 and 21 years old if considering the third molars (wisdom teeth). We include a timelapse shortlist of events related to baby teeth falling and permanent teeth sprouting.
First in, first out. The first teeth that appeared fall also first by this age. You might also expect to see the first molars erupting in the back of the gums.
Front upper and lower teeth (central and lateral incisors) fall, and their replacement is their permanent counterparts.
Ages 9 to 10:
You might not see any disruptive changes during this time.
Ages 11 to 13:
By this age, the rest of the teeth should have fallen, including the canines, also known as cuspids, and the first and second molars. Their replacements come along immediately after.
Ages 14 to 17:
You might not see any disruptive changes during this time.
Ages 17 to 21:
Patients might not see or even feel it, but the last set of molars (third molars), also known as wisdom teeth, might erupt or develop impacted, meaning there is no space for them to sprout. Impacted wisdom teeth might stay below the gums or bone or partially erupt in an angled position. There is also a possibility that wisdom teeth never appear or only some of them show.
Do Falling Teeth Require Special Care When Loose?
We all wiggled and played with loose teeth when we were a child. Actually, we can’t deny it’s fun to make videos, take pictures, or joke around falling teeth. However, tooth falling is a natural, painless process, so applying unnecessary force to a tooth that is not quite ready to fall might damage tooth roots and lead to an infection.
What if My Child Is Late Losing Her Teeth?
Discard any major concerns about late falling teeth. The timelapse presented above is an approximation to a tooth’s baby falling. However, as in any other physiological process, no person’s response is similar.
The time the first tooth sprouted might influence the teeth falling process. Babies having their first teeth soon will eventually have their teeth falling soon as well. The same condition applies to late baby teeth receivers.
My Child’s Baby Tooth Has Fallen Off, What Should I Do?
Once you have your kid’s first baby tooth in your hand, you start wondering what to do with it. Should I keep it? Why is it important to keep it? Or maybe by following a tradition, you might opt to discard it.
Incredibly, there are plenty of choices, and critical decisions might come from a single tiny denture piece. But, we know and understand that kids don’t come with a manual, so as parents, we must wisely evaluate the most appropriate option.
Consequently, far from any suggestion about what to do with your kid’s baby teeth, we can provide you with some alternatives you can choose from to do with these teeth. We include all sorts of possibilities.
However, before entering into detail, we sensitively suggest parents keep their kids’ baby teeth. This is because medicine advances overwhelmingly rapidly, and baby teeth might be a fundamental resource for medical treatment.
Why Do Some Adults Keep Baby Teeth?
We have a thought-provoking fact. This infographic depicts some of the most typical representative actions done with baby teeth. Even though most parents don’t keep their baby teeth stored, approximately half would like to save their kids’ baby teeth.
Research findings unveil the reason why parents would opt to save their children’s baby teeth, and they are:
A Family Tradition
We can leave that to a cultural or solely a bonding custom, but we find them plausible and, of course, tender.
It Is Entertaining for a Kid
Why not? This is an outstanding event for a kid.
It Is Practical
Parents might have their thoughts about what could be the concern, but we will try to investigate further in this article.
Reasons to throw away and dispose of the teeth include traditions and even rituals. Additionally, some parents just find burying teeth practical. Whatever the choice parents make with baby teeth, the truth is, customs, stories, or narratives sometimes guide parents’ actions regarding their child’s teeth. Whether they are good or bad, we will revise some of them.
Baby Teeth Myths
We love the internet. We can get all sorts of interesting and educational information there. But unfortunately, you can also be misguided with poor and sometimes exaggerated content. Also, myths transcend from mouth to mouth, forming beliefs.
Myths are just widely held but false beliefs or ideas and should be understood this way. However, sometimes myths transcend objectivity and are taken as certainties. Myths might confuse parents leading them to neglect kids’ dental care.
Therefore, we want to thwart some of the most common beliefs that cause confusion while entertaining parents with some weird misconceptions about baby teeth and telling them what not to do with them.
Myth N° 1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important
When we talk about baby teeth, we refer to the entire development of baby teeth from the moment they sprout up to the point at which they fall. So, neglecting their importance is disregarding the complexity of future mature teeth formation and their role in adults’ life.
To clear things up, people tend to believe baby teeth will just fall, so why would they care about them while they are functional? First, they hold the space for the entire dental structure to come, help in the progression of speech, and allow kids to mature eating and masticatory habits that will be fundamental as they grow.
Most importantly, baby teeth serve as natural guides for newly coming permanent teeth preserving the natural separation so they follow a pattern. Unhealthy or neglected baby teeth might drift into permanent sprouting teeth.
Thinking ahead, a lost baby tooth due to a cavity or an accident might derail the upcoming tooth’s development, leading to orthodontic problems like crowding affecting other teeth, making them hard to clean.
Untreated or neglected baby teeth might derive from costly treatments to realign them. For this reason, we recommend you attend with your kid to pediatric dental care for checkups to promote proper teeth development at early stages and ages.
Finally, a missing tooth negatively impacts a child’s masticatory motion. As a result, poor mastication deprives kids of fully absorbing food nutrients ending in developmental and health-related problems.
Myth N° 2: There Is No Need to Fight Cavities in Baby Teeth
Myths sometimes share a source, and this is one case of it. The last myth relates to the misconception that there is no need to fight cavities in baby teeth. Once again, preventive measures to keep teeth healthy are a must.
Studies collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that almost one-half of kids in the United States aged between 2 and 9 had suffered from at least one form of tooth decay.
Tooth decay can develop into dental caries. Bacteria penetrate the enamel shield of teeth, making them vulnerable. Untreated caries permit bacteria to advance, causing pain and producing infections that can be spread through the blood vessels, affecting other body organs.
Cavities are a genetic thing. This is not a myth but an overused argument. Some people tend to think that cavities are something they can’t fight against. Now, this is a myth.
Despite the minimal influence genetics have on the development of cavities, they are absolutely controllable with adequate oral hygiene habits. So, we encourage parents to educate and guide kids on brushing and flossing after meals.
Also, parents have a mission to take their kids to checkups and ask a pediatric dentist in Katy about treatments that include sealants and fluoride applications to reduce the propensity to develop dental caries in kids.
Bonus Myth: Placing Aspirin on a Toothache Will Alleviate the Pain
It might sound odd, but this myth does exist. We don’t know where this recursive fervor for storytelling comes from, but it is our job to null this erroneous statement. Put simply, aspirin does not work this way.
Aspirin blocks certain chemicals that transmit the sensation of pain. To do so, aspirin must flow through the bloodstream, and the intestine absorbs it. The mere fact of placing an aspirin on a kid’s tooth will bring no relief whatsoever.
Instead, if your kid complains of a toothache, we are called to recur to a pediatric dentist immediately as parents.
Myth N° 3: There’s No Need to Brush Baby Teeth
We are happy to talk about and analyze this statement. So we include a definite consideration, please note: “Parents should brush their kids’ teeth right after their first teeth sprouts.” The previously thwarted myths lead us to vindicate brushing and flossing.
Going a little further, we encourage parents to start caring about their kid’s oral hygiene before their first tooth sprouts. For instance, you can use a damp rag and rub it against your kids’ gums to eliminate any trace of food that can serve bacteria as a breeding source.
Also, parents refrain from brushing and flossing their kids’ teeth to avoid alarming them when they see their gums bleeding. In such circumstances, we encourage parents to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and continuously reinforce teeth brushing’s importance. If your kid’s gums keep bleeding, consult a pediatric dentist for an evaluation.
Myth N° 4: Kids Don’t Need to See a Dentist Until They Are Older
First-time parents are subdued to the thought that the first pediatric dentist visit should occur once they find a dental problem with their kid. But, as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggested, parents are encouraged to take their kids to their first dental consultation at year one or immediately after their first tooth sprouts.
Parallelly, by showing your kids that the pediatric dentist’s office is a fun place to be, you are helping to develop a calm instead of a tense sense about dentists, forming a trusting relationship that nulls the reluctance to go to a dentist.
Myth N° 5: Adults Cannot Have Baby Teeth
Yes, adults can have baby teeth. In fact, this is a common diagnostic that is also known as retained teeth. The most prevalent case of retained teeth is when there is no permanent replacement tooth growing.
Specifically, a study shows that retained second molars are less likely to produce a future dental problem by age twenty. On the other hand, this is not the case for incisors and first molars, as they might require particular intervention.
Concurrently, adult baby teeth should not be left unattended as a neighbor tooth can’t erupt appropriately because baby teeth remain in a fixed position. Also, there might be cases of a misaligned baby tooth when closing the mouth, and finally, a retained tooth might cause a space between teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to do with baby teeth?
Some people discard baby teeth, while others hold onto them. For those of you who are thinking of keeping your child’s baby teeth after they have fallen off, you can clean them well and put them in keepsake boxes, turn them into jewelry pieces, or save them for your child’s future science projects.
What to do with tooth fairy teeth?
If you decided to keep your child’s baby teeth after they fell off, you can do a lot with them. Try saving them for a future science project to show how different drinks can affect them in the long term.
What to do with baby teeth after they fall out?
Many parents like saving baby teeth as a reminder of those first years with their child. Some parents like preserving them in a keepsake box, and even others like integrating them into pieces of jewelry like collars.
How to preserve baby teeth?
The first step in keeping your child’s baby teeth is cleaning them thoroughly. You can start by cleaning them with soap and water but also remember to swab them with alcohol to completely disinfect them. Dry them well and keep them away.
How long can you keep baby teeth?
Baby teeth won’t deteriorate much if you keep them away. Of course, there are other means to preserve teeth depending on the use you have for them. Some parents may want to keep them for stem cells in case of the need for some medical treatments, but this requires other specialized resources.
When Should You Brush Your Child’s Teeth?
We previously commented about the perfect timing to start brushing your kids’ teeth. Furthermore, there is a misconception that brushing right after a meal might damage teeth. The truth is, we should revise this all together in detail.
For instance, if your kid has delighted themselves with oranges, this fruit contains citric acid that can wear enamel. However, saliva serves to wash unwanted residues in the mouth. So, you can wait an hour and then assist your kid in brushing her teeth for at least two minutes.