How To Pull Your Child's Loose Tooth
March 17, 2015

Thanks to the internet, we know about all kinds of crazy ways to help pull a child’s loose tooth. But for many kids, losing a tooth can be a scary experience and you may cause them unnecessary pain if you aren’t careful. So when is it time to pull a loose tooth, how do you do it, and what can you do to help your child through the experience?

Most children will begin to lose their baby teeth when they are about 6 years old and then 3-4 teeth will fall out each year. In total, your child should lose all 20 baby teeth by the time they are 12.

When should I pull my child’s loose tooth?

You should try to let the tooth come out on its own. Your child will likely want to wiggle the tooth as it becomes loose, and that’s fine. Encourage them to wash their hands diligently and frequently to avoid bringing harmful bacteria into the mouth. As your child wiggles their own tooth, it will continue to detach from the nearby tissues and should come out with minimal pain and bleeding.

Removing your child’s tooth before it is ready to come out can cause unnecessary pain and bleeding. You may not know where your child’s pain threshold is or whether or not there is resistance from the surrounding gums. Pulling a tooth too early can also lead to infection.

What is the best way to pull a loose tooth?

You may need to step in if your child is particularly concerned about their loose tooth and insists that you help them remove it.

Firstly, do not take Youtube as your lead. Do not tie a string from the tooth to a golf ball and yell “Fore!” This is a scary and potentially painful way for your child to lose a tooth and there are better ways to become Youtube-famous.

Tooth brushing can be a great way to help loosen baby teeth and it also helps keep the area clean, limiting the chance of infection. Get an ultra-soft toothbrush for your child and make sure that they are brushing their teeth for a full two minutes. It’s good practice anyway, but it may help the tooth come out.

Don’t pull the tooth unless it is just dangling about and barely hanging in there. Try to get your kid to pull the tooth himself, as this will likely be the easiest and most pain-free way. If you need to step in, make sure that your hands are washed and clean. Then use gauze or a piece of paper towel to grip the tooth and try twisting and pulling gently, avoiding using more force than is necessary.

What about bleeding?

If you let the tooth loosen and fall out naturally, there shouldn’t be too much blood. If the tooth gets knocked out unexpectedly, there could be more bleeding involved. Pack some sterile gauze into the space and apply pressure. The bleeding should stop within minutes, though it can take up to an hour.

What if my child swallows their baby tooth?

Swallowing a baby tooth is nothing to be alarmed about. Your child’s body will pass it naturally and you can always write a special note for the Tooth Fairy if that’s a concern. She’s pretty understanding when it comes to lost and swallowed teeth!

Baby teeth complications

Every child is different and some children will lose their baby teeth more quickly or later than others. If your child’s teeth are becoming loose early (before the age of 5), you will want to make a trip to the dentist to ensure that everything is in proper order. Similarly, if your child hasn’t lost their bottom centre baby teeth by the time they are 7, you will want to bring them in to see if there are any underlying problems. If we catch problems with extra teeth or the jaw bone early on, we may be able to prevent bigger problems later on.

It is also important that you teach your child good oral hygiene from a young age. They will have many of their baby teeth into the pre-teen years and losing teeth prematurely due to decay can be a big problem. Don’t make the mistake of thinking “they’re just baby teeth! She’ll lose them anyway”. As an added measure, you can limit the amount of sugar your child eats, including fruit juice, cereal, and candy.

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