When a Child Loses His First Tooth: 4 Helpful Aftercare Tips

Last Updated on: 10th June 2024, 11:58 am

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Written by

Q.F. Nayibe Cubillos Morales


Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Gustavo Assatourians D.D.S

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Like other important milestones, such as the first word or first steps, when a child loses his first tooth is usually a memorable moment. If your child has a loose tooth or is close to the age of losing their first tooth, you may have some questions. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about the loss of milk teeth.


Why do Milk Teeth Fall Out?

Humans have two sets of teeth: temporary ones and permanent ones. The temporary teeth are 20 and are designed to remain in the mouth during childhood until the growth of the maxillary bones is complete. As the child’s mouth gets larger, the temporary or milk teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth. The latter corresponds to a group of 32 teeth (including wisdom teeth), which will function for the rest of life.



How do Milk Teeth Fall Out?

All teeth have a visible part, called the crown, and a part anchored within the jawbone, called the root. The permanent teeth are formed just below the deciduous teeth, and when they are ready to come out, they reabsorb the mineral from the roots of the deciduous teeth, which causes them, having no support, to fall out and leave the space free for the new teeth.


Why Take Care of Milk Teeth?

It is common for parents to think that if milk teeth are going to fall out at some point, it is not necessary to take care of them. Here are 6 reasons why taking care of temporary teeth is as important as taking care of permanent ones:

1. Milk teeth save space for permanent teeth.

2. They are essential for the proper development of speech.

3. If there are cavities, they can generate very dangerous infections that can damage the permanent tooth being formed, and in severe cases, could compromise the patient’s life.

4. Milk teeth guide the growth of the jaw bones.

5. If the milk teeth are lost early, the child will not be able to chew food efficiently until the permanent ones come in.

6. Losing milk teeth prematurely represents an aesthetic problem for children.


At what Age do Teeth Fall Out?

Most children lose their first tooth between about 5 and 6 years of age. However, every child is different, so it’s also possible for this milestone to occur between the ages of 4 and 7.


What Happens if the Teeth do not Fall Out at the Expected Age?

As mentioned, each child is different, and although there is an average age for dental replacement, it can also happen sooner or later than expected. However, meanwhile, children should schedule periodic consultations with the dentist to control the dental eruption. In case of any anomaly in the normal sequence of dental replacement, the professional could request a panoramic X-ray to confirm that the permanent tooth has indeed been formed and no problem prevents it from coming out.



What is the First Permanent Tooth to Erupt?

The first teeth to fall out are the front teeth: first the lower ones and then the upper. In most cases, at the age of 9, children have finished shedding their anterior teeth, and canines and molars will begin to change, until approximately 12 years of age.

On the other hand, the first permanent molar erupts at approximately 5 or 6 years of age. It is normal for parents not to notice it because it appears in the most posterior part of the mouth, without being preceded by the falling out of any teeth. Caregivers must know that from this age, children already have these permanent molars, which are the largest and most important in adult dentition.

To learn more about permanent teeth and teeth names, read this teeth numbering chart. This will serve as a guide for the corresponding treatment. It is a fundamental tool for the dentist that minimizes mistakes in a diagnosis and subsequent procedure.


What to do when a Child Loses his First Tooth?

The loss of a tooth is a natural process, which in many cases happens without major complications. Usually, the milk tooth loosens when the permanent one is about to come out, so it usually falls out without causing significant pain. The following tips can help you manage this tooth loss

1. Reassure your child by explaining that this is a natural process that happens to all children.

2. Light bleeding may occur and is usually controlled by rinsing the mouth with water or biting down on a damp gauze pad. If after applying pressure for more than 30 minutes, the bleeding does not stop, consult a dentist.

3. Eating a popsicle of water or placing an ice pack on the area can help the clot form.

4. The idea of the tooth fairy can excite children, so it could be a strategy to make tooth replacement appear normal, in addition to promoting dental care.



How to Manage the Pain After the Loss of a Tooth?

The loss of a milk tooth usually involves more discomfort than pain. However, if your child complains of pain, applying cold to the area or using over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen may help.


How to Care for the New Tooth?

• Brush teeth: Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day, especially at night and after eating sweets. Use fluoride toothpaste, taking care that it is not ingested.

• Hilo dental: Help your child clean the spaces between the teeth by flossing.

• Do not forget the permanent molars: Remember that from the age of 6, most posterior teeth are permanent, so it is essential to brush and floss to this most posterior area of the mouth.

• Checkups with the dentist every 6 months: Periodically visit the dentist to carry out preventive cleanings, and a fluoride application, and make a timely diagnosis of any anomaly observed.

Oral hygiene is very important to teach our babies or children to avoid serious complications in the future. Read this comprehensive guide about when to start brushing a baby’s teeth.



When a child loses his first tooth, remember that it’s just a natural and exciting process in the life of a child. It is important to take care of both milk and permanent teeth to ensure proper development of the oral cavity and avoid dental health problems in the future.



1. Baby teeth: When do children start losing them? (Nov 23, 2023). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/expert-answers/baby-teeth/faq-20058532

2. Dds, G. A. (Oct 20, 2020). What to do when your child loses A tooth? (3 effective tips). Channel Islands Family Dental Office. https://cidentist.com/what-to-do-when-your-child-loses-a-tooth/

3. HealthPartners. (Feb 16, 2018). When do baby teeth fall out? Here’s what you need to know. HealthPartners Blog; HealthPartners. https://www.healthpartners.com/blog/when-do-kids-lose-their-first-tooth/

4. Lewsley, J. (Feb 28, 2022). When kids lose their first tooth: What to do, how early, and more. Medicalnewstoday.com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/when-do-kids-lose-their-first-tooth

5. Losing baby teeth. (Apr 2, 2015). LeBlanc & Associates Dentistry for Children. https://kidsmilekc.com/my-child-lost-a-tooth-now-what/

6. What should I do if my child loses a permanent tooth? (Mar 22, 2018). Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-should-i-do-if-my-child-loses-a-permanent-tooth/

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