Children typically begin to lose their primary (baby) teeth around the age of 6 or 7. This process of losing baby teeth and growing permanent teeth normally continues until around age 12 or 13, although it can vary from child to child.
The order in which children lose their teeth can also vary, but the front teeth are typically lost first, followed by the molars and canines. As permanent teeth come in, they may cause some discomfort or pain, and it’s common for children to experience some swelling or sensitivity in the gums.
Parents must encourage good dental hygiene during this time to help prevent tooth decay and ensure that the permanent teeth come in properly. This includes brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and regular visits to the dentist.
When your child’s tooth is loose, it’s important to encourage them to wiggle it gently with their fingers or tongue. This can help to loosen it further and make it easier for it to fall out naturally. It’s generally not a good idea to pull out the tooth prematurely, as this can cause pain, and bleeding, and increase the risk of infection.
What to do when the tooth is getting loose?
Here we will like to share some additional tips for managing a loose tooth:
- Encourage your child to eat soft foods that are less likely to get stuck between teeth or cause pain.
- Have your child rinse their mouth with warm salt water to help soothe any soreness or irritation.
- Remind your child to brush and floss gently around the loose tooth, being careful not to dislodge it.
- If your child experiences pain or discomfort, you can give them over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, as directed by their healthcare provider.
- If the loose tooth is causing significant discomfort or bleeding, or if it has been loose for a prolonged period without falling out, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your child’s dentist to ensure that everything is okay and to discuss any necessary treatment options.
Ideal foods for loose teeth
Here are some ideas for foods that are gentle on the teeth and gums:
- Soft fruits like bananas, berries, and melons
- Boiled or grilled vegetables such as green beans, sweet potatoes, and carrots
- Soups and broths
- Soft grains like oatmeal, rice, and quinoa
- Scrambled eggs or tofu
- Yogurt or smoothies
- Pudding or Jell-O
- Soft cheese
- Mashed pumpkin, potatoes, or sweet potatoes
- Pasta or noodles
It’s also important to encourage your child to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to avoid sugary or sticky foods that can get stuck in between teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay.
When the tooth falls out
If your child loses a tooth, we’d like to share some natural ways to relieve the pain of losing a tooth:
- Saltwater rinses: Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can help soothe any soreness or irritation. Add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and have your child swish it around in their mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Ice pack: Applying an ice pack to the affected area for 10-15 minutes can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can wrap it in a towel or cloth to avoid an ice burn on the skin.
- Clove oil: You can apply a drop or two of clove oil to a cotton swab and gently apply it to the affected area. Clove oil is known as a natural analgesic.
- Honey: Honey has natural antibacterial properties and can help reduce inflammation and soothe sore gums. You can apply a small amount of honey to the affected area, mix it with warm water, and use it as a rinse.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe sore gums. Brew a cup of chamomile tea and let it cool before using it as a rinse.
Remember, these natural remedies can help alleviate the pain and discomfort of losing a tooth but are not a substitute for professional dental care.
What to do with the tooth?
After your child’s tooth falls out, there are a few things you can do with the tooth:
Keep the tooth: If your child’s tooth falls out naturally, you should try to keep it, as it can help identify any dental problems or abnormalities that may need attention. If the tooth is clean and intact, you can put it in a small container or bag and label it with the date it fell out.
According to a survey conducted by Dentistry Today, 24% of parents save their child’s teeth to use their stem cells if the child needs them for health reasons such as restoration of the pulp tissue, regeneration of periodontal ligaments, or even to regenerate teeth.
Celebrate the occasion: Losing a tooth is a milestone for many kids, and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate and create special memories.
It’s getting more common for people to create small family rituals with their kids using their lost teeth. Teeth are cells (just like hair and nails), so they represent part of our energy; you can get your child to pick up flowers from your garden, take some grains from the kitchen, or even add a strain of your hair, and together you can dig a hole on your back yard to make a little offering to Mother Earth showing gratitude for life, health and the imminent growth of the child that lost the tooth. You can invite your family to get creative and add drawings, music, and prayers to make it a fun experience for everyone while they get to connect with the earth.
Dispose of the tooth: If you choose not to keep the tooth, you can dispose of it in the trash or bury it (ritual not included) in the garden. Just be sure to clean the area thoroughly to avoid attracting pests.
Remember, losing a tooth is a Rite of Passage, and while it can be a little scary or uncomfortable for some kids, it’s important to reassure them that it’s a normal and healthy process. If you have any concerns about your child’s dental health or if they are experiencing any significant pain or discomfort, be sure to consult with their pediatric dentist.