If you have a child between the age of six and twelve, then you are probably all-too familiar with wiggly teeth, the tooth fairy, and smiles filled with gaping holes. Most kids begin losing teeth when they are about six years old, and over the next several years will eventually end up losing all of them. That’s about 20 teeth total! While it may be startling at first, especially if your child loses multiple teeth before any fully grow back, this is no cause for concern. In fact, losing teeth is a perfectly normal and developmentally healthy part of life!
When your child has a loose tooth, he will inevitably spend much of his time wiggling it around with his tongue. After all, it feels strange! It is perfectly fine for your child to wiggle the loose tooth with her tongue, but encourage her to avoid wiggling the tooth with her fingers in order to keep germs away from the mouth. It is also not advised that your child try to pull a loose tooth out, especially using string or floss. Keep in mind that baby teeth fall out because the permanent tooth is pushing it out. If a baby tooth is pulled too early, the permanent tooth won’t be totally ready to grow in and the surrounding teeth may fill in the gap, causing crooked and overcrowded teeth.
When the tooth is ready to come out, it will likely fall out while your child is eating or wiggling it with his tongue. The American Dental Association also says it is fine if your child wants to place a tissue over the tooth and gently squeeze it, allowing the tooth to naturally come out. If the tooth doesn’t come out when you do this, it probably means it’s not quite ready and you can try again the next day.
When the loose tooth does finally comes out, there will probably be some blood. Make sure your child knows this is totally normal (it may be helpful to warn her ahead of time that it will bleed a little bit) and place a moist washcloth in the mouth until the bleeding stops. You can also encourage your child to rinse his mouth with warm water to clean out his mouth and take away any bad taste leftover from the blood. Don’t forget to save the tooth in a baggie for the tooth fairy!
Once your child has lost a tooth (or teeth), encourage her to brush and floss like normal. It’s okay to avoid the hole when brushing at first since it might be a little sensitive. Now that your child will begin growing his permanent teeth, creating good oral health habits is essential. Make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two-minutes each time and flossing every day. Some foods may be difficult to eat with missing teeth, so consider cutting up crunchy foods like apples, carrots, and corn-on-the-cob.
It is important that your child is seeing her dentist twice a year for a checkup and routine dental cleaning, especially when she begins losing her baby teeth. Your dentist will be able to ensure that the permanent teeth are growing in correctly and everything looks good in your child’s mouth, as well as address any concerns you may be having. We would love to care for you and your child during this exciting stage of life, so make an appointment with us at Cornerstone Family Dentistry today!