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When Your Little Ones Lose Their Teeth: What You Need to Know

When your baby's teeth first come in, you are thrilled and mark it down in the baby book as an important landmark. Before you know it, those precious baby teeth are coming out. While this is a perfectly natural process, you need to know what steps to take to make the process a healthy one.

When They Fall Out

Children usually have all 20 of their baby teeth by the time they are three. The oldest teeth tend to go first, so the lower front teeth usually come out while your child is in the early primary grades. That's when the permanent teeth below the gum start to push out the baby teeth. Some children will begin losing their teeth more quickly. Teeth that fall out before age four may signal that something is wrong, so you should consult your pediatric dentist. On the other hand, you should check with your dentist if your child doesn't lose any baby teeth by the age of eight.

To Pull or Not to Pull?

You should allow your child's teeth to come out on their own since they will naturally fall out when the permanent tooth is ready to break through. Sometimes, a really loose tooth will be stubborn and require a little assistance. When a healthy tooth is hanging by a little skin, you can take a piece of gauze and gently pull it out. You should not make it a practice to pull loose teeth for several reasons. First, pulling them at home can cause your child pain and actually hurt the gum. Second, pulling a tooth too early can leave a toothless spot that causes spacing issues for your child.

Proper Tooth Care

From the age of two or three, your child should be using a toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time. Once your child has teeth that touch each other, you need to introduce floss into their routine. Your dentist will determine if a fluoride rinse is appropriate for your child.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child start visiting the dentist at around age one so that any tooth decay or other issues can be addressed. When primary teeth rot, it can affect the permanent teeth and cause a host of tooth and gum problems. Your child may be in a hurry for their baby teeth to come out, but you should not rush the process. In general, parents should not pull baby teeth unless they are hanging by a thread. If you have concerns, discuss them with your child's dentist at their biannual appointments.

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