For many adults, it is easy to recognize a toothache and determine what is causing it. You can even remedy it or relieve pain. But for children, a toothache is an eternal source of pain that they cannot diagnose or treat.
Then, it is up to the parent to determine the source and find ways to relieve pain. But not to worry, toothaches are pretty common among children. Between losing the milk teeth, and growing permanent ones, your child will experience a toothache at least once.
Below, you will find helpful information on the steps you can take when your child complains of a toothache. You will also learn when to rush to a pediatric dentist. But first, explore some of the reasons why your child has a toothache.
Why Does My Child Have A Toothache?
The possible reasons for toothaches in children include:
- Tooth decay. Children can experience tooth decay due to bacteria buildup and other factors like adults. Tooth decay causes pain experienced on the nerve endings of the tooth.
- Emerging teeth. When milk teeth fall out, your child will experience pain as the permanent teeth come in.
- Loose teeth. Losing teeth, whether naturally or due to injury, causes a lot of pain. Check if your child has a loose tooth or got one knocked out.
- Injury. Injury to the mouth or gums will cause a lot of pain. Damage can happen when your child is playing outside.
- Cracking and chipping. Cracked or chipped teeth expose the nerve endings to external factors, causing pain. Your child could crack or chip a tooth while playing outside or bite on a too-hard surface.
- Food lodged between teeth. When food gets stuck between your child’s teeth for too long, it causes pain by pressing on the surface and irritating the gum.
- Gum infection. Pain on the gum and tooth is one of the symptoms of gum infection, followed by discoloration and bleeding.
- Loose or missing fillings. When your child’s fillings are loose or missing, it exposes the sensitive teeth to external factors. This will cause pain, especially when your child breathes, eats, and drinks.
- Repetitive motions. Repetitive motions such as brushing and flossing can cause a lot of pain on the teeth and gums if done excessively.
Does My Child Have A Toothache?
If your child is older, they can easily communicate about toothaches. But it’s harder to tell with younger kids. If your young child complains of a toothache, ask for specifics such as location, what type of pain it is, and how constant it is. You can also look for the following signs:
- Redness on the gum
- Discoloration on the gum
- Bad breath even after brushing
- Discharge from the tooth
Your child may also refuse to eat and drink.
What To Do When My Child Complains Of A Toothache
The first thing you have to do is identify the location of the pain. Identifying the location will help you treat the pain or remedy the condition altogether. So once you find the location, examine it and determine possible causes. Then, you can do the following:
Help your child brush and floss.
If you notice food stuck between your child’s teeth where they experience pain, you can help them floss to remove the food particles. Remember that your child is in pain, so you should be gentle.
After removing the food particles, give your child warm salty water to rinse. To avoid this problem, teach your child to floss or do it for them until they are old enough to do it well.
Administer a saline rinse.
A saltwater rinse is your first line of defense against bacteria and pain if your child’s tooth is infected. The saline solution will kill bacteria, preventing the infection from spreading. It also relieves the pain temporarily.
Mix a teaspoon of salt into warm water, then give it to your child to swish around for at least thirty seconds before spitting. Repeat multiple times in the day until you can seek medical assistance.
Apply a cold compress.
Another temporary pain relief is applying ice or a cold compress. A cold compress will relieve pain and reduce swelling if any. You can use a cold pack on the outer cheek, where there is swelling. Keep the area on ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. If you do not have an ice pack, you can wrap ice in a clean towel and use it. Again, remember this is temporary, and you should see a dentist.
Administer clove oil.
Clove oil is a known pain relief treatment for toothaches. It contains eugenol, which acts as a natural anesthetic. It will reduce pain and numb the area temporarily. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing swelling around the area.
Soak a cotton ball in clove oil, then administer it to the affected area. Let your child keep it in until swelling and pain go down.
Use peppermint teabags.
If you have peppermint teabags, they will help reduce pain and make the swelling go down. Like clove oil, peppermint has numbing properties to relieve pain from toothaches.
Additionally, peppermint has menthol, an antibacterial component that will stop the infection from spreading. You can use freshly used peppermint teabags by applying them to the area with pain. You can also freeze or chill them to help reduce inflammation.
Use pain medication.
If the pain is unrelenting, and making your child restless, then you can administer over-the-counter pain medication. However, it is always advisable to consult a dentist before administering a medication your child has never used before.
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are good pain relief medications. They also reduce inflammation. Just be careful when administering–only give the recommended dose for your child’s age, as often as recommended.
Remember: that the above are temporary solutions to pain and discomfort. Your child’s toothache likely has an underlying cause that you cannot treat. Therefore, visit your pediatric dentist as soon as you can for diagnosis and treatment that will permanently get rid of the pain.