Losing a tooth is one of the first dental experiences that a child will have. Sometimes losing a tooth can be a scary experience for little ones, but for most, it’s an opportunity to make something fun out of an everyday experience. Parents have many choices for how they can teach their children about the importance of losing a tooth, such as rewarding them with money from the Tooth Fairy or a fun treat. Losing a tooth lets parents teach their children how to take care of their teeth and is a great opportunity for children to establish good dental habits. Find out what you can do to make losing a tooth a fun experience for your child and teach them how to care for their oral health at the same time!
Teaching young children what to do when they lose a baby tooth can be an exciting and new experience for little ones. Losing baby teeth is inevitable for a child, so there are some tips for parents to help them navigate this process with their child. Whenever a tooth becomes loose, it can take a few days or even months to finally fall out on its own. A tooth can fall out sooner than that depending on how much the child wiggles it, or how quickly the tooth root dissolves. Pinpointing when a child’s tooth will erupt and when it will fall out is a difficult thing to plan. The American Dental Association states that teeth typically fall out in the order that they come in, with the two bottom front teeth normally falling out first. Most children will lose their first tooth between 6 and 7 years of age, with the last tooth falling out in the early teen years, around 12 or 13 years old.
Before a child’s tooth falls out, explain to the child what is going to happen so that they’re prepared, comfortable and excited for this new experience. Some blood loss will accompany losing a tooth, so reassure the child that this is a normal part of the process and have him/her swish some warm water around in their mouth to help with the bleeding. As children begin losing their teeth and adult, permanent teeth fill their places, teach them the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth daily so that their new teeth can last them a lifetime. Good oral health care should begin as soon as teeth begin erupting in your child’s mouth, and should continue once all of their baby teeth have fallen out.
There are plenty of ways to make losing a tooth fun for your child, and most activities take very little effort or planning. The most common way to celebrate losing a tooth is establishing a tradition with the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy doesn’t just celebrate losing a tooth, but can be an opportunity to teach your child the importance of taking care of their teeth. Try replacing their tooth under their pillow with a note from the Tooth Fairy, such as: “Thank you for this beautiful tooth! I can tell that you are doing a great job brushing your teeth. Keep up the good work!” Little notes from the Tooth Fairy can be an exciting gift (along with some money) for children that can encourage them to keep brushing and flossing their teeth. You can even create a keepsake book for all of the Tooth Fairy’s notes that she leaves behind when she collects each tooth. You could decorate the book with your child and include their name, hometown and any other details that the Tooth Fairy should know. Keep the notes that the Tooth Fairy leaves after each visit, and pretty soon your child will have a book full of all of the fun notes that they received as a child!
Some other ways to celebrate losing a tooth include taking a picture of the new gap between your child’s teeth and putting it in a picture frame, or make a batch of tooth cupcakes to celebrate. You can have fun decorating the cupcakes with your little one, and explain to them at the same time the importance of taking good care of their teeth. Some families even take their child to an amusement park, a movie or their favorite restaurant to celebrate their newly lost tooth. Make sure to snap a picture of this fun event for them to look at when they’re older.
Healthy teeth are developed by having a consistent oral health regimen throughout childhood and into adulthood. Teaching children at a young age how and why they should care for their teeth will help them prevent tooth decay, cavities and other dental problems. Brushing and flossing a child’s teeth should begin whenever they turn 2 years old. Even though this may seem young, baby teeth can develop tooth decay just as easily as adult teeth, so it’s important to begin early on. Monitor your child as they brush their teeth, as many young kids tend to swallow toothpaste rather than spit it out. Introduce fluoride toothpaste to them once they’re old enough not to swallow it. Once two teeth begin touching, help them floss between these teeth once a day. You can use normal floss, or if it’s easier for your child, there are special plastic floss holders that they can use instead. Schedule regular dental checkups with their dentist so that he/she can monitor tooth development and give them a thorough teeth cleaning.
If your child is due for a dental checkup, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics at (720) 887-6003! Our experienced team is dedicated to your child’s oral health and helping them get the healthy and happy smile that they deserve. Call now for a consultation!