The Back to School Special

The words, “my tooth is loose” usually mean that it is almost time for a visit from the Tooth Fairy. It also represents a milestone in your child’s life and the end of a process that lasts six or more years. Most children will be excited about this development, and some will be a little bit nervous, so if your child is scared it is okay to reassure them that they probably won’t feel a thing when it finally does fall out.

A child should have a total of 20 baby teeth, which typically come in by the time they are three-years-old, and most commonly fall out in the order in which they came in. That means the lower center incisors are usually the first to go when the child is around the age of five or six. The top center pair follows soon after and a baby tooth normally doesn’t loosen until the tooth below pushes it up to take its place.

It is okay to encourage your child to wiggle a loose tooth, but remind them not to pull it out until it feels ready, because it could make the root more vulnerable to infection. Losing baby teeth should not be as painful of a process as the teething stage, and if your child is feeling pain in the back of their mouth, it is probably just the first of their back molars coming in. Regardless of the source of their discomfort, a topical painkiller such as ibuprofen, or acetaminophen can help to ease the pain.

Tooth Fairy Origins

The tooth fairy is an imaginary figure of early childhood. The legend states that when children lose one of their baby teeth, they can put it underneath their pillow, and the tooth fairy will replace it with a small payment during the night.

In the European middle ages, it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out. During this time, however, other rituals arose surrounding children’s teeth. These ranged from the necessity to burn the lost teeth to wearing them in the battle for good luck. It was even thought that if a witch were to get hold of one of your teeth it could lead to them having total power over you (maybe don’t tell your children that part).

While some adults are unsure of themselves when promoting the fiction of the tooth fairy, the majority of children report positive outcomes, and most parents tend to view the myth as providing comfort for children in the loss of their tooth.


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Read more from our Back to School series:

Tooth Friendly Snacks

Sports Guards

Playground Accidents and Tooth Injuries

Teeth Cleaning and Maintenance