Did you know that National Tooth Fairy Day happens twice a year? The first of which is February 28th with another celebration coming in August. When you’re a child, there’s nothing quite like losing your first tooth and anticipating a visit from the infamous Tooth Fairy. As parents, you know that in many families, the Tooth Fairy has upped her ante as of late, so you may now have some fairly high expectations to meet.
Rest assured that we’re not here to recommend that you empty out your wallet, but rather to provide some fun and creative ideas that can make remembering this pivotal moment even more special for your little ones.
Phase 1: The Loose Tooth
Generally speaking, most children will experience their first loose tooth around age 6. BUT, why does a tooth become loose in the first place? We’re born with baby teeth that undergo developmental changes, much like the rest of our bodies, in order to supply us with a permanent set of teeth that is designed to be stronger and more suitable for human needs. When a tooth becomes loose naturally, this means that bone cells are working to break apart the root in order to make room for the permanent tooth.
Naturally, the feeling of a loose tooth is a new sensation for children and can be curious and odd for first-timers. Here are some tips on how to prepare your child on what to expect with a loose tooth:
- Take advantage of child-friendly literature: Yes, we’re talking about books like “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist” by Stan & Jan Berenstain or “Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter)” by Mercer Meyer. The more you familiarize your child with relevant information, the less nervous and anxious they’re likely to be about the experience.
- Do not force it out: Remind your child that the tooth will most likely fall out naturally, once it’s ready. Refrain from pulling or extracting because it might result in an unnecessary visit to the dentist.
- Blood is normal: Let your child know that there might be some blood once the tooth falls out and that it’s normal to experience minimal bleeding.
- Use a cold compress: Loose teeth can be uncomfortable, especially if you’ve never felt one before. If your child expresses that he or she is feeling any pain or soreness, provide a cold compress to numb the area for relief. Over the counter medication like Children’s Tylenol may also be a solution for discomfort.
- Keep the area clean: It can be challenging to brush or floss as you normally would with a loose tooth, so we recommend doing your best to help your child keep the area clean. Swish warm water around in the mouth to remove particles from the loose tooth and help reduce bacterial buildup.
Phase 2: Going from Loose to Lost
Now is the Tooth Fairy’s time to shine. You’ve been in your child’s shoes and now it’s time for you to experience a rite of passage of your own.
Here’s our advice to you:
- Clear your schedule: Make sure you’re free, or at least on call, so that you can partake in this exciting adventure along with your child (unbeknownst to them).
- What to leave: Tradition strongly suggests that you grant your child some cold, hard cash to honor this moment. The amount is up to you, of course, but $1 still stands strong in our circle. We’d also recommend gifting your child with a new toothbrush and a fresh, new tube of personal toothpaste. It’s a good time to “subtly” reinforce oral hygiene habits.
- How to maintain the goods: Kids are funny – they usually want to preserve and keep their teeth. Or maybe it’s you that wants to, no judgment here. We suggest preparing a special tooth bag or box for your child to hide his or her treasures.
Phase 3: Celebrate, But Set Boundaries
It’s a big deal, we agree; but it’s also a good opportunity to tie in some kind of educational aspect as well.
Here is a combination of fun and educational ways to help your child celebrate:
- An excuse for family night: “Tooth Fairy” and “Rise of the Guardians” are family-friendly flicks that fit the theme and can even earn you some quality time with your loved ones. Of course we’d recommend serving up some healthy treats like crunchy veggies instead of popcorn if you can get away with it.
- Write a thank you note: Suggest that your child gets into the practice of leaving the Tooth Fairy a note about their unique dental routine – any chance to sneak in a quick nod to dental hygiene is a bonus!
- Get artistic: If your child is into drawing, painting or any other expressive or artistic talent, capitalize on the opportunity to encourage your little one to create a picture, cartoon or piece of art that represents his or her first Tooth Fairy or tooth loss experience.
We’re curious – who assumes the responsibility of the Tooth Fairy in your home?