Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, refer to the initial, small teeth that begin to grow in a child’s infancy. They serve as placeholders to help a child speak and eat while the jaw grows and makes room for adult permanent teeth. However, as a child grows up, baby teeth will fall out of their own accord.
If your child complains about the discomfort of a loose baby tooth, you may feel tempted to yank it out on their behalf. However, this could hurt the child and lead to long-term oral health problems. You should let the baby teeth fall out of their own accord without your intervention ideally.
But sometimes, you can assist your child in removing a baby tooth if you use proper techniques. Read on to learn more about baby teeth and the proper way to handle them when they become loose.
How Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?
When a child’s jaw is strong and stable enough, underlying adult permanent teeth will begin to erupt upward toward the gumline. They push at the existing baby teeth, absorbing their roots so that the only support for the baby teeth is the gum tissue. The baby teeth will then feel loose or wobbly in their sockets. As the adult teeth continue to grow, the baby teeth will fall out on their own.
This transitional process may feel uncomfortable for the child. The loose feeling could bother them, and their mouths may feel sore. But you should assure your child that this sensation is temporary.
How Can I Help My Child Pull a Loose Tooth?
As mentioned, you should try to let a loose baby tooth fall out without intervention. But if the child prefers the tooth to be pulled, there are several techniques to removal that you can attempt. For instance, you can allow the child to wiggle the tooth with their tongue to encourage the tooth to give way.
Your child’s diet can also help to dislodge a loose tooth. Biting into a hard-textured food item, like an apple, may apply pressure to the tooth that could help it fall out. Brushing and flossing the teeth might also speed up the baby tooth removal process.
If you want to help your child remove the tooth, you should do so in a careful manner. Wash your hands before putting them near your child’s mouth. Use a tissue or paper towel to gently wiggle the baby tooth. If the tooth can turn a full 360 degrees without causing the child pain, then it is ready for removal. You can gently move and twist the tooth until it comes out.
Do not attempt to pull the tooth if it is only slightly loose. If the socket bleeds after the removal of a baby tooth, firmly press gauze to the area until it stops. Call a dentist if bleeding or irritation persists or if the child feels significant pain.