The weeks leading up to the loss of a child’s first tooth, are an exciting time for both kids and parents. This is an important mile marker in the road from infant to adulthood, and one that deserves attention. Many parents are unsure when to expect their child to experience the loss of his or her first tooth. While it is impossible to pinpoint the exact time frame for each individual, most kids will lose their first tooth around the age of six.
Why Kids Loose Teeth
Baby teeth, or deciduous teeth, are lost when a child’s permanent teeth begin to emerge. These “adult” teeth need room to grow, and will slowly push the baby teeth out of their way. For most kids, the first tooth to come out will be a lower, or mandibular, incisor, one of the bottom front two teeth. This tooth may become loose over the course of several weeks, and this is often a long process through which a child will wiggle and nudge the tooth with their tongue or fingers. Your child may even say the tooth hurts when he or she bites or chews with it. This discomfort will subside when the too comes out or exfoliates.
Should I Pull the Tooth or Not?
If your child is eager to pull the tooth, simply cover the tooth with a piece of gauze or a tissue and give a quick twist and a tug. If he or she insists on letting the tooth come out naturally, sit back and enjoy the wait. Some kids will worry about a loose tooth for quite a while, until almost nothing is left holding the tooth in place! Either approach is perfectly normal and parents should allow their kids to guide the process, especially for the first loose tooth.
Talking to Kids about Brushing Their Teeth
This is an excellent time to talk with your child about the importance of proper dental hygiene. After all, baby teeth come and go, but the permanent teeth that follow are intended to be, well, permanent. Review proper brushing and flossing practices, and follow up with regular parental “inspections.” It takes time and practice to master proper dental care routines, and parents are wise to broach the issue at this time, when kids are very focused on a loose tooth.
What If Baby Teeth Fall Out Too Slowly?
Parents who are concerned that a child is not losing baby teeth at a normal rate, or who have questions about other dental issues, should make an appointment to meet with their kids’ dentist. This is also a great time to discuss whether fluoride supplements are appropriate.
Kids should come in for a dental checkup and cleaning twice a year, which can be key to addressing dental issues before they become a problem. Regular visits to a kids’ dentist will give children a positive impression of dental care, which is important establishing a healthy dental care routine.