As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your child in pain. For younger children or those with special needs, in particular, it can be difficult for your child to tell you where they are hurting. For these reasons, it is crucial to understand what causes tooth pain in kids, be able to spot the signs of a toothache, have some natural remedies for tooth pain on hand, and know when to see a dentist.

What you should know about toothaches in kids.

No one likes a toothache. And when your child is in pain, you want to do whatever possible to make that pain disappear. So before we share some must-have homemade remedies for toothaches in kids, let’s start by ensuring you know how to identify a toothache in your child.

Signs and Symptoms of Toothaches in Kids.

A toothache, referred to as pulpitis in the dental field, occurs when the soft part inside the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This part of the tooth is called the pulp and is the part of the tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves. Understanding the signs and symptoms of toothaches in kids is the first step in helping to make that pain go away.

Though every child is different and may experience toothache pain uniquely, the following are the general signs and symptoms of toothaches in kids:

  • General crankiness or tiredness.
  • Throbbing pain in the tooth (you may see your child reaching their fingers inside their mouth or chewing on a soft toy or blanket).
  • Pain that gets worse with hot or cold.
  • Fever.
  • Visible pain or discomfort for your child when you reach inside their mouth.
  • A sore or tender jaw around the tooth that hurts.

The Causes of a Toothache in Kids

The most common reason for that inflammation or infection of the pulp that leads to a toothache stems from tooth decay, cavities, or gum disease. An abscess of the gums can cause pain, or your child may have experienced a broken or cracked tooth as the result of trauma, such as falling or rough play. Your child may also have a damaged tooth resulting from bruxism (tooth grinding). And, if your child is teething, but the tooth can’t break through the gums, that can cause pain too.

Types of Tooth Pain in Kids

As we mentioned, toothaches in kids can come from tooth decay, gum disease, bruxism, an erupting tooth, or a cracked or broken tooth. So let’s explore each of those causes a bit further.

1. Tooth Decay

A cavity that has spread to the root of your child’s tooth can cause tooth pain and sensitivity. When left untreated, that tooth decay can lead to an abscess. Unfortunately, these pus-filled sacs resulting from the abscess not only cause discomfort but are full of potentially harmful bacteria. If that abscess ruptures, the bacteria could spread to other parts of the body.

2. Gum Disease

Unfortunately, your child is not too young to suffer from gum disease. This infection of the gums that surrounds your child’s teeth can lead to severe pain and discomfort. Though gum disease can be reversed early on, it gets more challenging as the illness progresses. Over time, untreated gum disease can lead to bad breath (halitosis), loose teeth, gum recession, and permanent tooth loss.

3. Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

There are a variety of reasons why we grind our teeth. But, most often, bruxism is caused by one of the following reasons:

  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Earaches.
  • ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
  • Sudden change in family circumstances, such as the birth or arrival of a new sibling, moving to a new home, arguments between parents, etc.
  • Certain medications.
  • A bad bite (malocclusion).

When bruxism is left untreated, it can have poor consequences on your child’s oral health. For example, tooth grinding can lead to cracked teeth, loose teeth, TMJ (jaw pain), and headaches.

4. Tooth Eruption

As your child’s new tooth breaks through the gums, it can be quite uncomfortable. And as parents, we don’t usually remember the pain of teething because our memories just don’t go back that far. The consumption of hot and cold beverages and even chewing food can be challenging for a child that is cutting a tooth. Thankfully, this type of pain often goes away once the new tooth has broken through the gums.

5. A Cracked or Broken Tooth

As much as we want to wrap our children up in cotton wool, we just can’t. And accidents can happen. If your child has fallen and taken the brunt on their jaw, collided with a solid object face first, or even bitten down hard on a plastic toy, they may have chipped or cracked a tooth. These injuries are not always visible, so it’s important you watch for signs of pain or discomfort like those mentioned earlier.

Homemade Remedies for a Toothache in Kids.

If your child can’t get sleep due to tooth pain at night or the toothache just isn’t going away by itself, it might be time to give the team at We Make Kids Smile a call. We’re happy to help you schedule an appointment to find out the cause of your child’s toothache. But in the meantime, you’ll be pleased to know that there are homemade remedies for your child’s toothache. Your child will appreciate the temporary relief that you can provide with one of these natural remedies for tooth pain.

  • Wrap some ice in a towel and apply it to your child’s face near the painful tooth. Make sure you only leave it on for a few minutes at a time.
  • Apply a few drops of clove oil to a cotton swab and gently rub it on the affected tooth.
  • Help your child rinse their mouth with a saltwater solution consisting of half a cup of warm water mixed with one-third of a teaspoon of sea salt. If your child is old enough to do so without swallowing, show them how to swish this mixture around in their mouth for as long as possible (30 seconds is ideal).
  • Give your child Tylenol or another pediatrician-approved anti-inflammatory pain reliever.

When to Seek Pediatric Dental Care for a Toothache in Kids

As we said before, kids’ toothaches are no fun. And, sometimes, despite our best efforts, homemade remedies for toothaches in kids just aren’t enough. In these cases, you may need to seek pediatric dental care from a kids’ dentist. If your child’s tooth pain is caused by any of the 5 causes of tooth pain mentioned earlier, as well as symptoms such as fever or bleeding gums, be sure to schedule an appointment.

We make it easy to request an appointment online or you can give us a call to schedule a dental evaluation for your child’s toothache. No one likes a toothache, so let’s work together to help your child’s pain go away. During your child’s visit, we’ll work to treat the toothache as well as talk through strategies to prevent issues with your child’s teeth.

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