Most children start losing their baby teeth at the age of six. Children lose about three or four baby teeth annually until they lose all twenty baby teeth at the age of twelve or thirteen. Baby teeth fall out in the order that they came in. In most cases, a child’s bottom-front teeth come in first then the top two teeth follow.
Losing one’s baby teeth is a milestone because it’s a sign of growing up and it means extra pocket money from the tooth fairy. There are several ways to get rid of loose baby teeth but some can cause long-term damage.
Questions about how to deal with baby teeth have been asked for millennia and it always boils down to “Should we pull it out, let the child pull it out or should we let it fall out?” Common sense tells us “adults know better so adults should pull out the tooth” but dentists don’t totally agree with that mindset.
Take these into consideration
- Dentists today agree that letting a child wiggle out the tooth with their tongue or fingers is the best approach. Only the child knows how lose his/her tooth is and can accurately gauge how much pain it’s causing.
- If the tooth falls out naturally, letting the child rinse with water should do the trick.
- If the loose tooth has been there for some time, is should bleed less. Prepare a clean towel or wet gauze, apply it to the affected area and let them bite onto it. It will cease to bleed in less than an hour.
- In some cases, existing permanent teeth end up pushing the new tooth into awkward positions affecting the gums. If you notice this happening, consult a dentist.
- During a meal, a child may end up accidently swallowing their loose tooth. Don’t panic! They won’t choke on the tooth. It won’t affect their digestion either. The acid in their stomach will dissolve the tooth and it will harmlessly pass through them. Though they might be upset not getting money from the tooth fairy.
- Offering an apple (or any other hard fruit or vegetable) is a clever way to approach the problem. If the tooth is fairly loose, one bite will likely make it to come out.
Children get scared when they think about losing their teeth. Make it a point to comfort them by telling them it will hurt a bit but it will be over quickly. Once the loose baby tooth has been removed, reward them with some money from the tooth fairy. Most parents leave a dollar bill under their child’s pillow.
When to see a dentist
There are problems a loose tooth might bring that are not normal. You might want to see a dentist if you come across these problems:
- If the loose tooth is extremely painful
- If the gums are swollen
- If the child refuses to eat to avoid losing the tooth
- If the child stops brushing the area with the loose tooth (this could result in gum infection).
Adults With Loose Teeth
For adults, it’s not normal or healthy for a tooth to be loose. If you have a loose tooth, contact us right away so we can determine the cause and recommend a solution.