Did you know that 43% of children ages 2-19 will get a cavity? If your child is complaining of tooth pain, it's important to understand what steps to take next to alleviate discomfort. Keep reading to find out what to do if your child has a toothache.
How Do You Know Your Child Has a Toothache?
A toothache occurs when decay penetrates into the tooth's pulp chamber, which consists of extremely sensitive nerves and blood vessels. While older children should be able to verbalize that they have a toothache, this can be harder for young children. In addition to tooth pain, some other symptoms of a toothache that younger children may not be able to communicate include:
• Drainage from the tooth that has an unpleasant taste
• Swelling of the gums
These symptoms can indicate an infected tooth and therefore should be examined by a dentist. Be sure to ask your child which tooth hurts and whether the pain is constant or intermittent. If the pain is so unbearable that it keeps your child up at night, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. You should also ask your child if they've gotten hit in the mouth or taken a fall recently, as a cracked tooth can damage the interior pulp.
What's Causing Your Child's Toothache?
One of the most common causes of a toothache is a cavity, which could be a possibility if your child hasn't been for a dental cleaning lately. Some other causes of toothaches include:
• Gum infection
• Teeth grinding
• Gum chewing
• Infected tooth
• Fractured tooth
• Damaged filling
If your child has food stuck between their teeth, this can cause the wedging force that pushes teeth away from each other to aggravate the roots and gumline. This can also result in a toothache.
What Should You Do if Your Child Has a Toothache?
Although it's possible that your child's toothache is nothing to worry about, it's best to err on the side of caution and contact your dentist as soon as possible. This is especially important if the toothache lasts longer than one or two days.
In addition, if your child is also complaining of an earache, fever or pain when opening his or her mouth, this could indicate that the infection is spreading to other parts of the face or bloodstream. Therefore, it's important to contact your dentist immediately to prevent any further harm.
How Can You Prevent a Toothache?
While a trip to the dentist will most likely address your child's toothache, early prevention is the easiest and most efficient way to avoid it. Here's how you can encourage children to keep their teeth in optimal shape:
• Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
• Floss every day
• Rinse once a day with mouthwash
• Go to the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and examination
• Rinse mouth with water after eating sugar to remove it from the teeth
• Replace toothbrush every three to four months
There are also some home remedies you can try in the meantime before visiting a dentist. For example, mixing warm water with a teaspoon of salt and rinsing out the mouth whenever your child feels pain can help reduce tenderness. While these solutions may work temporarily, however, a trip to the dentist will most likely be necessary to pinpoint the root cause of the toothache and prevent it from recurring.
Practicing proper dental hygiene is essential if you want to prevent toothaches. If your child is complaining of tooth pain, schedule an appointment with a dentist at Pediatric Dental Group for a thorough cleaning and examination.