Even though losing baby teeth is a completely normal step in childhood development, it can be a frightening prospect for a child. But losing baby teeth doesn’t have to be a scary ordeal for you or your kiddo, especially if you think through a few steps as you approach the loss of teeth. Here are some strategies for helping your child when they are afraid of losing their teeth:
Talk with your child
The loss of baby teeth usually begins around age 5 or 6, but children can lose teeth as early as 4 or as late as 7. Be ready for questions about losing teeth; it’s common for children to begin asking questions when kids around them start losing teeth. Keeping your conversation friendly in nature is important as well since talk of pulling or yanking teeth can cause your child to be more anxious. Your child will be the first to know about their loose tooth, and will likely be proud to show it to you. Wiggling it around is a perfectly acceptable action, especially since doing so will help loosen the root so the baby tooth can come out.
Make it fun
The Tooth Fairy is a well-known tradition in the United States and an easy strategy for helping make the loss of baby teeth fun. The idea of a “tooth-fee” comes from long ago European lore, and children today are still charmed by the idea of putting their lost tooth under their pillow and receiving a surprise. Better yet, associating good dental care with earning prizes is a great way to encourage oral health. Making the loss of teeth about a fun surprise rather than about how much it might hurt to lose a tooth can help lessen your child’s anxiety as well.
Explain some science
Another strategy for calming your child’s fears about tooth loss is explaining the process of losing baby teeth. Everyone gets to have two sets of teeth: baby teeth, and later, adult teeth. This is a practical change: as we grow into adulthood, we need bigger teeth for eating. Our baby teeth are lost as our adult teeth grow up in childhood and eat away at the root of the baby tooth, allowing it to be shed and thereby making room for the adult tooth to grow in. Helping your kiddo know and understand why they are losing teeth will help them feel less afraid.
Celebrate lost teeth as a milestone
The loss of a tooth is an important developmental milestone in your child’s life, so it’s important to celebrate and affirm it. Whether you chose to make use of something like the tooth fairy or not, be sure to congratulate, hug, and celebrate with your child. These celebratory actions are important for encouraging them as they grow and develop.
Helping your child develop good oral hygiene is a critical part of their development, and North View Dental is committed to helping you with that goal. We will be glad to answer any questions you might have, and schedule appointments at our comfortable and professional office. Call us today!