A couple of weeks ago my daughter, Lilah (5 ½ years old), was eating a cracker and told me her bottom tooth was hurting. I took a look and realized that she had her first loose tooth. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed her playing with the tooth more and more. She’s had a difficult time eating things like corn on the cob so I have been cutting it off for her. When I picked Lilah up from school last night the tooth was moving all over the place. I cringed every time I saw it move, but she thought it was the greatest thing. I stepped out into the yard for a few minutes, and when I returned she told me she had pulled out her tooth, and that it “didn’t hurt but there was some blood.” EEWW!
Last night she eagerly placed her tooth in a baggy under her pillow and awaited the gift mom promised from the Tooth Fairy. This morning she ran down the stairs pleased as punch with a five dollar bill. I used the opportunity to reminder her about proper dental care. I explained that she needed to be extra careful to keep her mouth clean so that the new hole from her missing tooth would not get an infection. We have also been discussing that when she gets her new teeth they will have to last her a lifetime.
I’ve included some information below about the baby-to-adult teeth process. I hope this helps ease any fears you may have and equips you with information to prepare your child for this milestone.
When will my child’s baby teeth start falling out and which ones?
Alan Carr, D.M.D. a prosthodonist with the Mayo Clinic said, “A child’s baby teeth (primary teeth) begin to loosen and fall out on their own to make room for permanent teeth at about age 6. Timing can vary, though, and girls generally lose baby teeth earlier than do boys. The last baby teeth typically fall out by age 12 or 13.
Baby teeth usually fall out in the order in which they erupted — first the two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors), followed by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors), the lateral incisors, first molars, canines and second molars. If a child loses a baby tooth early as a result of tooth decay or an accident, a permanent tooth may erupt early and potentially come in crooked due to limited space.”
What if my child in nervous about the process and wants you to take it out?
If your child wants you to pull out a loose tooth, grasp it firmly with a tissue or piece of gauze and remove it with a quick twist. If the tooth is resistant, wait a few days and try again. If you’re concerned about a baby tooth that doesn’t seem to loosen sufficiently on its own, check with your child’s dentist. He or she may recommend a wait-and-see approach or an extraction in the dental office.
When your child starts to lose his or her baby teeth, reinforce the importance of proper dental care. For example:
- Remind your child to brush his or her teeth at least twice a day. Supervise and help as needed.
- Help your child floss his or her teeth at bedtime.
- Limit eating and drinking between meals and at bedtime — especially sugary treats and drinks, such as candy and soda.
- Schedule regular dental visits for your child, either with your family dentist or a pediatric dentist.
- Ask the dentist about use of fluoride treatments and dental sealants to help prevent tooth decay.
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