Julie Sasse, BMC co-founder and co-owner, recently spoke with Dr. Jeff Flannery of Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry (OMPD) on a Facebook Live to discuss what to expect when your kids start losing baby teeth. (If you missed it, watch it here).
But first, if you haven’t already downloaded your free Easter egg printable (sponsored by Dr. Jeff’s office), it’s not too late. After your child decorates it, be sure to hang it in your window and tell your neighbors about it, too! It makes for a fun Easter egg hunt all around your neighborhood. Thank you, Dr. Jeff, for sponsoring this fun idea!
Dr. Jeff’s Office is Growing!
Exciting things are happening at OMPD! Dr. Jeff is adding two additional pediatric dentists to his office to accommodate the growing number of patients: Dr. Louisa Stone (coming back from maternity leave in June) and Dr. Clara Walker (joining OMPD in July). Be sure to welcome them and say hello at your child’s next checkup!
The Big Milestone: Losing Those First Teeth
Dr. Jeff says kids, on average, begin losing their baby teeth around age six or six and a half. It’s normal to lose those first bottom two teeth as early as four and a half and as late as eight. Every child is different, but six is the average. Kids will continue to lose the rest of their teeth until around twelve to fourteen.
Advice for Anxious Children
Kids battling anxiety over losing their first teeth is very common, so Dr. Jeff suggests approaching the situation with excitement. Let your child see this is a good thing–it’s exciting–they’re growing up!
Parents’ reactions play a big role in how kids feel about it. Be sure to remind your kids to wash their hands before wiggling, but encourage them to take ownership and not be afraid to fiddle with their loose tooth.
Is the Tooth Ready?
Dr. Jeff says if the gums are also moving with the wiggly tooth, it’s not quite ready to come out. Keep wiggling. Once the tooth is flopping independently of the gum, have your child start twisting that tooth and moving it from side to side. The tooth will pop out in no time!
Another way to get teeth ready for the big release is simply to eat crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots.
Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy
Even though baby teeth are eventually going to come out, it’s still important we help our kids keep these teeth healthy. When Dr. Jeff sees kids with cavities around this age, he knows those cavities have likely been building microscopically for years before this point. This is just another reason it’s important to take your infants and toddlers for pediatric dentist check ups. Most babies have their sugar diet established by twelve months, and the earlier you protect those teeth, the better. Dr. Jeff can give diet tips, cleaning tips, as well as age appropriate fluoride dosage information to help combat cavities in the years that follow infancy.
Dr. Jeff emphasizes keeping sweets as treats. He’s a father of six and knows it’s impossible to keep kids away from treats all the time. He encourages parents to give kids treats for special occasions, not every day. His kids know they can always go to the refrigerator rather than the pantry for snacks. The refrigerator holds healthier options such as apples, carrots, and cheese, while the pantry holds processed foods that get stuck in teeth grooves easier (like goldfish crackers, cookies, and gummies).
As a side note, Dr. Jeff recommends if you’re going to give your kid a treat, chocolate chips and Hershey’s kisses do a lot less damage to teeth than anything with color (like Starbursts, M&M shells, and Dum Dum lollipops).
Make an Appointment Today
If you have any further questions or want to schedule a check up for your child, contact OMPD today by calling or texting (205) 980-1338 or emailing [email protected]
Birmingham Mom Collective thanks Dr. Jeff for all his advice and for helping us keep our kids’ teeth healthy!