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We’ve all seen the videos online. A baby tooth wrapped in string is tied to an excitable dog, a fast car, or a Tokyo bullet train; objects which are set into motion to yank the loose baby tooth out of the mouth. As entertaining as these tooth-pulling methods may be, you might wonder if they are really the best way to pull out a tooth. You may also wonder if baby teeth should even be pulled out in the first place, or if they should be left alone until they fall out.

Baby Teeth, See How They Grow

Baby teeth (also called primary teeth) first start to appear when they your child is between 6 and 12 months, and are then lost between 6 and 12 years of age. They become loose when the permanent teeth develop because they push out the baby teeth and cause their roots to reabsorb.

How Soon Is Too Soon

A child will eventually lose all of their baby teeth, but these teeth should not be forced out of the mouth if they aren’t loose. Baby teeth are imperative for the proper eruption of permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too soon due to decay or injury, then permanent teeth may come in crowded or crooked. Primary teeth should not be pulled out of the mouth unless they are very loose.

To Pull, Or Not To Pull?

It is recommended that children fiddle with and pull out their own loose teeth. This is because they can tell how loose the tooth is and whether it will cause any pain if it is pulled. If your child asks you to pull the primary tooth, first move it back and forth to make sure there is little resistance. Grip the tooth with a tissue and then pull it out with a twist. Tying a tooth to a runaway horse may be more entertaining, but it probably isn’t the best way to pull a loose baby tooth.