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The Tooth Fairy is Right Up There With Santa and the Easter Bunny!

April 18, 2011 | Posted in Education | Be the first one to comment

If you celebrate Christmas, you know how excited your kids can get as the time for Santa’s visit draws near! We will soon be seeing a similar excitement for many children as the prospect of the Easter Bunny and all those Easter chocolates approaches!

Well, many kids get just as excited about a visit from the Tooth Fairy – particularly that first visit! It can be quite fun to share in your child’s excitement as you move from having that wiggly tooth right up to the moment when it finally comes out. It is such a special milestone in the growth of a child, it is no wonder that many people save their child’s first tooth!

But with all the magic associated with losing that first tooth, it is easy to forget that you need to make sure that you treat it, and lose it, in the right way! That means you should resist the temptation to pull it out.

To understand why you should avoid this, you need to understand how the tooth loosens in the first place. A baby tooth becomes loose as its root dissolves. Once the root is sufficiently dissolved, there will really be nothing holding it in and it can be removed simply by wiggling it back and forth.

If you were to pull it prematurely, that would mean the root has not sufficiently dissolved. The pulling action will create a larger wound. A larger wound means easier access for bacteria and a greater risk of your child developing an infection.

It is important to keep in mind that even when the tooth is allowed to come out naturally, you are leaving behind a space that bacteria can use to access your child’s bloodstream. Therefore, it is important to emphasize good oral health care practices as the new, permanent tooth grows in!

This means you should continue to brush and floss around the area of the lost tooth. You may need to be more gentle immediately after the tooth has fallen out as your child may find the area to be more sensitive. Teaching your child to rinse properly can also help to keep the area clean. The key is, do NOT assume that, because there is no tooth, there is no need for oral health care!

And as the new tooth takes its place, do not be concerned if it looks disproportionately large compared to what you were used to. The adult teeth usually grow in at full size. Unlike your child’s jaw, they do not continue to grow. Over time, your child’s new tooth will likely settle into place and look perfectly natural in doing so.

The key is to make sure you bring your child to the dentist regularly to monitor the development of his/her teeth in relation to the jaw. If there is an issue with crowding, your dentist can discuss treatment options with you as your child grows.

In the meantime, enjoy the magic of watching a child lose a tooth…and the excitement of a visit from the tooth fairy. It is a wonderful experience that all kids look forward to, as they should! You will be surprised how much fun it can be for you too…because sharing your child’s excitement is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives!

Dr.  Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

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