Every parent will face at least one, if not many instances when their child has a loose tooth. Besides the excitement of the tooth fairy coming to visit and the expectation of a reward for their milk tooth under their pillow, parents need to know how to deal with their child’s oral hygiene once a tooth is lost.

Your child will probably lose their first milk tooth around the age of six years old. The process of attaining their permanent teeth may only stop anywhere between the ages of nine and thirteen. Since each child’s reaction to losing a tooth may be different, you may want to explain to the child that since they are getting older, their permanent adult teeth are arriving, and that it is a natural process. Your child may want to wiggle the loose tooth but discourage them from pulling at it before it is ready as this increases the risk of infection.

With regards to hygiene, you can use a sterile wipe, the same kind you used when your child was a baby, to wipe the gums where the tooth used to be. Having your child rinse their mouth with salt water is also a great way to clean out the mouth.

The bleeding should stop after ten minutes to an hour. To ease the discomfort, place a gauze or cool tea bag over the bleeding. Your child should not spit out the blood as this action will only make the bleeding worse. If the bleeding persists after an hour, call your dentist.

A topical anesthetic can be applied if there is still discomfort after the gums have stopped bleeding. An anti-inflammatory can also be taken to reduce the swelling after the tooth has fallen out or even when the tooth is still loose in the mouth.

Give the gum time to heal and advise your child not to brush the empty socket. The upkeep of daily oral hygiene will keep the mouth healthy during this time. It is also the perfect opportunity to enforce good hygiene habits once you explain these new teeth are meant to last them for the rest of their lives. Warning them against soda and other acidic food and beverages that can damage their teeth is a start towards preventing future ailments.

If at any period you feel there is something wrong, for example, an increase in swelling or persistent bleeding, do not hesitate to call your dentist.