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How to Help a Child With a Loose Front Tooth

By Chris Sherwood ; Updated June 13, 2017

Part of the natural process of growing from childhood into adulthood is the replacement of baby teeth with a new, permanent set of adult teeth. This process typically starts at around age 6 and continues until all of the new adult teeth have grown in. While most baby teeth fall out on their own, there is a period where a tooth can feel loose for several days before it actually comes free. In this case, you can help the process along through a couple different steps.

  1. Encourage your youngster to wiggle the tooth with his tongue. Wiggling the tooth helps detach the roots without pulling it out directly. Using the tongue also keeps dirty fingers out of his mouth.

  2. Have your child wash her hands with soap and water before trying to wiggle the tooth with her fingers. It's inevitable that a child with a loose tooth is going to stick her fingers in her mouth to try to pull on the tooth. Have your little one wash her hands frequently with running warm water and soap until the tooth falls out, to help prevent the spread of germs from her hands into her mouth.

  3. Let your child get the tooth out on her own with your encouragement. Your child is the only one who can feel how much of the roots are still attached to the tooth. Let her pull her own tooth out so that she can control when it's ready to come out. This also controls how much pain she can endure when pulling, as pulling the tooth out before enough roots have disintegrated can be painful.

  4. Place a sterile piece of wet gauze on the gums once the tooth has fallen out. Tell your youngster to put slight pressure on the gauze to stop any bleeding. Reassure him that it's OK if his mouth is bleeding a little.

  5. Tip

    If your child swallows a tooth, do not worry too much about it. This is typically harmless, though if possible try to make sure it's not swallowed. If you or your child are worried about losing baby teeth, ask your child's dentist to explain the process during your next checkup. Take your child to the dentist if an adult tooth is growing behind the baby tooth, rather than underneath it, causing it to be loose. A small percentage of children may need the tooth removed by a dentist to help ensure that the new tooth grows in correctly.


    Do not try any intense methods like tying a string to the tooth and another object like a door. These methods may pull out the tooth before its ready, causing trauma to the gums, as well as emotional trauma to the child.

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