A girl is smiling and showing lost tooth

How To Survive The 'Losing First Tooth' Milestone Healthily

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Every child responds differently to losing their first tooth; your child may feel excited about the tooth fairy's first visit or nervous about the pain. Most children lose their first baby tooth, also known as a primary tooth, around six years old, and their last primary tooth between nine and thirteen. Are you wondering what to do when your child loses their first baby tooth? Here are some tips on how to care for the empty socket after the tooth has fallen out.

Clean Your Child's Gums

It is perfectly normal for your child to bleed after losing their tooth, so the first thing you can do is clean the area. Use a soft or sterile gauze to wipe their gums gently. You can also have your child rinse their mouth with warm saltwater, this may be a little unpleasant, but it will help clean out the empty socket.

Use a Topical Anesthetic

Your child may experience some initial pain or discomfort after their baby tooth has fallen out. An over-the-counter topical anesthetic is a fast and easy way to relieve this. Remember to clean the area and wait for the bleeding to stop before using any anesthetic ointment.

Add an Anti-Inflammatory

Does your child have a swollen socket? Swelling is caused by wiggling the loose tooth before it is ready to fall out. Use a dose of children's ibuprofen to help decrease inflammation. Be sure to contact your dentist if the swelling persists.

Focus on Good Oral Care for The Whole Mouth

Inadequate care for baby teeth can affect the development of adult/permanent teeth. Teach your child about the importance of taking care of their teeth and practicing good dental care daily. A good oral care routine will help protect their teeth and reduce the risk of plaque buildup and early gingivitis. Here are some dental hygiene steps that will help maintain a healthy smile:

  • Your child should gently brush their teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Remind your child to floss or clean between their teeth once a day.
  • Avoid excess of sugary snacks and try healthier alternatives.

Losing the first baby tooth is a big moment for both child and parent. Your child might feel excited or even scared about losing their tooth. In addition to making them feel comfortable about this normal stage of growing up, you may have questions about what to do too. The first thing to do is to clean the socket. If your child experiences pain or inflammation, use a topical anesthetic or an anti-inflammatory to ease discomfort.

Most importantly, continue to develop a regular schedule and a healthy relationship with your child's dentist to assuage any fears your child may have. Provide positive reinforcement and encouragement while they're young, and it will encourage good dental habits as they become adults.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

paper airplane

Want more tips and offers sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up now

Mobile Top Image
Was this article helpful?

Thank you for submitting your feedback!

If you’d like a response, Contact Us.

Mobile Bottom Image