What To Do When Your Child Loses A Tooth

Illustration by: Ji-Young Park

Your little one will eventually lose his or her baby teeth, which is a milestone in the process of growing up. Fortunately, this is usually not a painful process for children when they lose their baby teeth. Once a tooth does fall out, however, it is important that you, as a parent, know how to properly take care of your child’s gums and the new permanent tooth that will appear.

Losing Baby Teeth

Children will lose their first tooth around the age of 6. This timeline varies from child to child. However, if your child loses a tooth prematurely due to an accident or tooth decay, then we recommend you to schedule an appointment with the dentist to assess the issue, especially since this could indicate a bigger problem. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that when a primary tooth falls out prematurely, your child’s permanent tooth may not have enough room to come in properly.

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According to the American Dental Association, teeth tend to fall out in the order of which they first appeared. Usually, it is the two bottom front teeth that fall out first. Kids usually lose their first tooth by the age of 6 or 7, and they lose the last tooth, which is the second molar, by the age of 12 or 13. A tooth can sometimes take a few days or even a few months to fall out once you or your child notices that the tooth is loose. The length of time that it takes to fall out depends on how quickly the tooth root will dissolve or resorb. It also depends on how much your little one wiggles it. The more he or she wiggles it, the sooner it will fall out, and a new tooth will begin to appear in its place soon after. This process can take several months for the new tooth to completely set in. However, if the tooth has not grown in after six months, then we advise you to schedule an appointment with your dentist as he or she may refer you to an oral surgeon for an evaluation.

After a Tooth Falls Out

When a tooth falls out, have your little one gargle with lukewarm water and salt, especially if the bleeding occurs. This helps to flush out bacteria and irritants, reduce possible swelling, and relieve any pain your child may experience. When brushing, instruct your child to not brush too hard where the tooth fell out to avoid irritating the area. Your child can continue to use the same child-friendly toothpaste, such as Colgate’s Transformers Anticavity Fluoride if he or she wishes to do so. After your child loses his or her baby teeth, it is good to reinforce the importance of good oral health routines such as brushing and flossing twice per day, and maintaining their healthy eating habits. Stress the importance of avoiding soda and other foods and beverages that can damage teeth. All these details are especially important now that your child is growing permanent teeth.