4 Ways to Ease Your Child’s Fears About the First Lost Tooth

4 Ways to Ease Your Child’s Fears About the First Lost Tooth

Losing a first tooth is a big deal for a child but shouldn’t be a scary milestone.

By Kelly Bryant

For parents, the idea of playing Tooth Fairy for the first time is a pretty fun concept. Between plotting out how you’ll execute the tooth-for-cash exchange to what keepsakes or notes or even high-tech “evidence” you’d like to leave behind (there are myriad apps that will add a “tooth fairy” to a photo of your child sleeping, or even videos that include her sprinkling a little magic over a sleeping kid), it’s one of the few chances we have to play pretend as grownups.

On the other hand, if your little one has just lost her first baby tooth, she might be freaking out. She’s had that tooth for most of her tiny, little life but now it’s gone (and blood may have been involved!). So how can you make this childhood milestone go as smoothly as possible? We asked some experts to weigh in.

Know When to Have “The Talk”
“It’s usually wise to answer only the questions that your child asks,” says Dr. Jill Lasky, a Los Angeles-based pediatric dentist. “Some children lose their teeth as early as 4 and 1/2 years old, so depending on your child's social group you might have the discussion about losing teeth as early as 2 years old or not until 4 to 5 years old if the child is not around older kids much. I would wait for them to ask you about a friend's loose or missing tooth.”

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Embrace the Magic
“I wrote Teeth Fairies: A Baby Teeth Tradition to address kids’ concerns,” says author Ingrid Bencosme. “Having their own ‘personal’ Tooth Fairy present throughout the process can make the experience both comforting and fun for children. Letting children know that their Tooth Fairy will reward them with a special surprise once their tooth falls out is a great incentive to promote healthy dental habits.”

Don’t Stress Out Anxious Kiddos
“If the tooth is loose, do not tell the child you are going to pull it out,” warns Lasky. “Who wants any part of them pulled? No [tying]-floss-around-the-tooth-and-slamming-the-door stories, either. You can suggest the child ‘wiggle’ his tooth with clean hands. If it hurts to touch it, let the tooth be.” She also suggests skipping any blood-related discussions, too. “Teeth that fall out naturally rarely bleed. If you see blood, apply pressure with a wet washcloth. It should stop after a few minutes. Tell the child that the blood is supposed to happen. It is not like a cut or blood from a fall. I tell my little patients that I am happy to see blood. If I saw anything else but a little blood I might think they’re from outer space and not human!”


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Remember to Celebrate!
“[Offer] hugs, kisses, joy, and take lots of pictures,” says Bencosme. “When my daughter’s first tooth fell out, she proudly put it in her Tooth Fairy’s crown pocket [and] I took a picture of them together. We were very excited, jumping up and down, wondering what the fairy’s surprise would be the next morning. The next day, we wrote out all of the details. My daughter couldn’t wait for her fairy to come back to do it all over again! My other children are so excited for all of this to happen to them now!”

How do you celebrate the loss of a baby tooth in your home?

Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/JLBarranco

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