It starts with a wiggle and ends with a gummy smile—and maybe even a dollar. Losing a baby tooth is an exciting rite of passage. Most children lose their first tooth between ages 5 and 6, but this can vary.
Children have different feelings about losing a tooth. Some will welcome that first wiggle, while others may feel anxious, wondering if it will hurt or if other body parts will suddenly fall off. Children can also feel self-conscious about the “hole” in their mouth.
It’s normal for children to have some worries about this much-anticipated milestone. To alleviate your child’s concerns, let him know that losing a tooth won’t be painful, that it happens to all children as they grow, and that his new teeth will come in soon.
Regardless of your child’s reaction, losing a tooth is an event to celebrate. A gift from you or the tooth fairy will certainly be received with delight. Save the tooth or take a few pictures of your child’s new smile to look back on when he’s older.
TIP: Brush up. Buy your child a special new toothbrush to reinforce the connection between good dental hygiene and growing up.
Elena Jeffries, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and co-founding partner of Positive Developments, a group practice in Millburn, NJ. She specializes in child and adolescent psychotherapy and positive discipline strategies forparents.
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