It seems like just yesterday that your baby got their first tooth, and now they are starting to lose their teeth! Before a baby tooth actually falls out, it will typically feel a bit loose for a week or two, sometimes longer. What should you do with that loose tooth, and how can you make your child more comfortable during this phase? Start by following these tips.
1. Don’t Try to Pull the Tooth
Don’t try to pull the tooth out until it is very, very loose and basically falling out on its own. Most children actually wiggle the tooth out with their own tongue at this stage; there’s really no need to pull. Trying to pull the tooth out before it’s really ready to come out can cause pain, bleeding, and damage to the gums.
2. Keep Brushing Around It
Your child may find that brushing around the loose tooth feels a little funny, but it’s important to keep brushing in this area. You’re not worried about the tooth developing cavities at this stage, but it’s still important to remove plaque and bacteria from the tooth in order to prevent gum disease and damage to the other nearby teeth. Just have your child brush very gently, using a soft-bristled brush.
3. Don’t Worry About Bleeding
A little bleeding is normal now and then as the tooth works itself loose. If the gums start bleeding, just have your child rinse their mouth out, either with clear water or saltwater. The bleeding should stop within a few minutes.
4. Use an Ice Pack for Soreness
Some children never experience any soreness when their teeth become loose, and others do complain of some pain. An easy way to dull the pain is to hold an ice pack, wrapped in a towel of course, against the area. You can also have your child suck on a Popsicle to ease pain and inflammation. Just make sure they rinse their mouth out after eating a sugary frozen treat.
5. Reassure Your Child With Stories
Your child may feel a bit nervous and anxious about the idea of losing their first tooth. Reassure them by explaining that this happens to everyone, and that it doesn’t really hurt. Tell them that you lost all of your baby teeth, too. Knowing that you understand what they are going through can make them feel more comfortable and confident.
6. Provide Soft Foods
Some kids will take the gung-ho approach and want to keep eating hard, crunchy foods because it will loosen the tooth faster. Other kids may find chewing a little painful or awkward with a loose tooth. Just make sure you have plenty of soft foods available for your child to eat while their tooth is loose. Soft pasta, fish, smoothies, yogurt, and applesauce are all easy to eat.
Your child’s first loose tooth is an exciting experience for both of you. Follow the tips above, and reach out to your pediatric dentist if you have any additional concerns.