How to make it a positive experience
Losing that first tooth is an important experience for any child. It’s a sign that they’re growing up. And it’s also a sign that they need to take better care of their oral health because adult teeth don’t grow back if they’re lost. However, losing that first tooth isn’t always a positive experience. It can be painful, involve some blood, and even traumatise children, which can affect how they feel about their overall oral health. If you want to make this experience a positive one for your child, there are a number of things you can do.
The Impact of a Lost Tooth
For children, life is full of new experiences both positive and negative. And every experience influences their emotional development and how they feel about related events in the future. This is particularly true when it comes to their first lost tooth. According to research, about one in five children experience negative emotions like fear or pain with the loss of a tooth. This event is often paired with a trip to the dentist as well, which can negatively influence how they feel about dentists as well as how they feel about their oral health.
This combination of experiences can result in dental fear or a reluctance to visit the dentist that can last well into adulthood. And this is a problem because having regular dental check-ups is essential if you want good oral health over the long term. That’s why it’s so important that you make this important experience as positive as possible for your children.
Making a Tooth Loss Positive
There are a number of strategies that you can try to make the loss of a tooth a positive experience for children. Some of the most effective are as follows:
Build the anticipation
Research indicates that the longer children anticipate the loss of a tooth, the more exciting it is for them. So as soon as your child’s tooth starts to wiggle, start building their excitement about the day when it finally comes loose. This will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Focus on the rite of passage
Most children want to grow up and be a ‘big kid’, and nothing proves how big they’re growing like a lost baby tooth. So help them focus on how grown up they’ll be once the baby tooth falls out rather than on the more negative aspects of the event.
Don’t use tools.
Never use tools like pliers to remove your child’s tooth. Baby teeth fall out when they’re ready and if you try to pull them out more quickly it will cause dental pain and bleeding.
Let your child take the lead.
Encourage your child to wiggle the tooth with a clean finger or with their tongue, but don’t make them do it. Let them lead the way and do as much as they’re comfortable with. This puts the control in their hands and will really help them feel the importance of this rite of passage.
Talk about the Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy was created to remove the fear of losing baby teeth and for good reason. Promising a reward, monetary or otherwise, for every lost tooth is a great way to make the whole experience a positive one.