Why You Shouldn't Pull Out Your Child's Loose Tooth

For decades it has been quite common for parents to tie a string onto the child’s loose tooth and the other end attached to a door, ball or rock, to help speed up the process of pulling out a tooth. The door would be slammed shut, the ball or the rock would be thrown, and the tooth would come with it.child with missing tooth SM-  paid - dreamstimefree 2952188

In many cases, this was not wise. Often, the tooth was still too attached to the gum for it to be taken out. Only when a tooth is really loose (which happens around the age of 5-6) should you pull it out.

There are two primary reasons why you shouldn’t pull out your child’s loose tooth.

First, the sensitive gum tissue can sustain unwanted damage. Not only does it hurt to extract the tooth, but your child also has an open wound in his or her mouth, prone to bleeding and infections.

Second, when you pull out teeth before a replacement tooth is ready, you form large gaps between teeth. This doesn’t look good. More important it affects the position and function of the teeth. The teeth on each side of the hole you created by pulling the tooth prematurely could converge. This results in pain or abnormal growth when the replacement tooth does come through. Its correct position is now blocked by overlapping ‘neighbor’ teeth. This causes harm to the tooth and its enamel and misaligns the teeth, often resulting in a need for braces or other corrective steps.

So then what should you do in the case of a loose tooth?

The answer is quite simple: just wait it out. It is in our nature to be curious and investigate when something is loose and wiggling within your child’s mouth. Patience from the parents is key in this situation. Usually, children will play with the tooth and wiggle it a little bit, which is fine so long as they don’t pull it out too early either.

Some children might want to speed up the tooth extraction process for one main reason: the tooth fairy. The quicker a tooth comes out, the quicker they get that shiny new coin or bill! But even in this case, it’s better to teach your child some patience: wait it out, instead of trying to take it out with force.

These are the primary two reasons why you shouldn’t pull out your child’s loose tooth prematurely. Just keep in mind that the readier a tooth is to fall out by itself, the smaller the risk of infection and misalignment. And the smaller this risk, the less chance of trauma for your children. Instead, just be patient and teach patience.