LOSING BABY TEETH: WHAT TO EXPECT AND HOW TO EXPLAIN IT TO CHILDREN

Losing Baby Teeth

Losing the first baby teeth is a significant milestone in a child’s life. The 20 baby teeth that grow in the first three years of a child’s life start falling off from the age of six, but it may be a little earlier in some cases and late in others. These baby teeth will fall out till the age of twelve. They loose and start falling out as and when a permanent tooth pushes them from below. Parents often wonder what to expect and how to explain this phenomenon to their children. Here are some tips.

First Loose Teeth

After your child has told you about his loose tooth, it will take some days or even a few weeks before that tooth finally falls out. The teeth fall out much in the same order as they had appeared. So the front teeth will fall out first and so on it goes.

What to Expect

Your child may come up to you in fear or confusion as to why suddenly his tooth has become loose enough that upon biting some foods it feels odd. He may complain of a wiggly tooth. So what do you do? Just reassure him that it’s absolutely normal. Baby teeth become loose and fall out giving place to stronger permanent teeth. Tell him it is a sign that he is growing up and becoming stronger and smarter!

What Not to Do

Don’t allow him to wiggle his tooth with his hands; if he has to, he should wash his hands first. Better still, he should use his tongue to wiggle it. Parents should not remove a wiggly tooth until it’s loose enough. Removing it prematurely might lead to infection because by that time roots may not have dissolved enough. If at all you have to remove teeth because it is too loose and almost dangling, then use clean hands and a piece of gauze to pull it out or simply take your child to a dentist.

When to Visit a Dentist

Usually, no pain is associated with falling out of baby teeth. It’s a natural process and doesn’t need a visit to a dentist except when your child complains of pain and discomfort, you may also see some redness or swelling in the gums or due to premature tooth loss there is some infection in the gums. Children must take particularly extra care of their oral hygiene during this phase of their lives when they are acquiring a new set of teeth.

Losing Teeth – A Memorable Milestone

Some children panic on seeing their first tooth fall out. In such a situation comforting and educating them are the best solutions.  However, there’s one more solution- Folklores. Besides being very comforting, Folklores can give a different twist to the whole situation.

In India elders often jokingly ask a child who has lost his baby teeth, “So, has the rat taken away your teeth?” Across cultures, people have a ritual in which lost baby teeth were buried in the garden or field surrounding the child’s house. According to the belief, it was a kind of sacrifice to the rodents, so the child’s new teeth could be as strong as rodent’s.

Then came the folklore of tooth fairy in America and now children there waiting for the tooth fairy to leave cash reward under their pillow and take away their lost tooth. It’s actually the parents who slip the money under their child’s pillow and take away the tooth either to be buried or to be kept in a box. It’s an interesting way to keep the child excited. He overcomes his fear of losing teeth and instead looks at it as an important event of his life. Parents use this folklore to keep the children motivated to brush their baby teeth regularly and nicely. After all, the tooth fairy doesn’t take with her a decayed tooth!

You may use the Indian ritual of burying the tooth or follow the American custom of tooth fairy rewarding each child for his lost tooth. The choice is entirely yours.

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