Not every toothache needs emergency care.
Can you remember the last time you had a toothache? If so, the chances are the memory is not laden with happy thoughts. Let’s face it. Toothaches hurt. And while tooth pain is no joke for adults, tooth pain in children can be a cause for alarm. So when tooth pain comes knocking at your child’s door, the first thing to know is how to stop a toothache at home. Just as important is knowing the signs that your child’s toothache requires a trip to the dentist.
Top Causes of Toothaches in Children
Most toothaches in kids come from cavities. Other common causes include a dental abscess, cracked enamel, gum disease, or food that has become stuck between the teeth. Read on for what you should know about each of these causes.
1. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is usually the culprit if your child has been experiencing pain for more than one day. In most cases, the pain will be dull, and you’ll see the discoloration on one of your child’s molars. Be on the lookout for a yellow-brown color on the dental enamel of the tooth in question. If your child is experiencing a toothache caused by tooth decay, it likely means that they have too much sugar and starch in their diet, and may not have been effectively cleaning their teeth. You should never ignore these signs, even if your child isn’t complaining of pain. A visit to your dentist as soon as possible is the best course of action.
2. Dental Abscess
Dental abscesses are caused by bacterial infections and result in a pus pocket that has developed within the tooth’s root. Watch for a boil that might look like a pimple, just below the gum line. It is important to get abscesses treated right away to prevent bone erosion. An abscess is generally considered a dental emergency and warrants a phone call to your family dentist right away.
3. Cracked Enamel
The most common reason that your child might experience cracked enamel is if they bit down on something hard, such as a hard candy (jawbreakers, gum balls, etc.). If your child is complaining of sensitivity when eating or drinking something hot or cold, cracked enamel may be the culprit. While not considered a dental emergency, making an appointment for your child to see their dentist, should be done promptly.
4. Gum Disease
Poor brushing and flossing habits are the most common cause of gum disease in both adults and children. When plaque isn’t removed properly each day, it can build up on the teeth and harden. The best thing to do when a toothache is caused by gum disease is to make sure your child knows how to brush, floss, and rinse each day. Regular checkups with their dentist will also help your child stay on top of their oral health, and avoid a worsening of the condition down the track.
5. Stuck Food
This is where the importance of flossing really comes into play. Foods such as corn, popcorn, shredded meats, and more, frequently get stuck between the teeth and gums. When your child doesn’t floss between all their teeth at night, that stuck food can cause irritation. In most cases, good flossing will dislodge the item and your child’s toothache will quickly dissipate.
How to stop a toothache at home.
When your child is complaining of a toothache, there are some things you can do as a parent to help relieve their pain and offer comfort. The first thing to do, however, is to get your child up to their bathroom for a good tooth brushing, flossing, and rinsing exercise. Have your child brush their teeth for two minutes with an appropriate toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Next, help them to floss between all of their teeth, and even behind those teeth at the very back.
Finally, have them swish and rinse with an age-appropriate fluoride mouthwash. These steps can help ensure that any stuck food particles are properly dislodged and washed away. It also ensures you are starting your home toothache remedy with a clean mouth.
If your child is still complaining of tooth pain, try one of the following:
1. Salt Water Rinse
Have your child gargle and rinse with a saltwater rinse. Use half a teaspoon of table salt to 8 ounces of warm water.
2. Ice Pack
Apply an ice pack, or ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a paper towel, to the outside of the affected area. Apply for 15 minutes at a time before giving the area a rest.
3. Pain Reliever
Give your child the manufacturer’s recommended dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). Alternating the two medications can better pain relief.
How to know when your child’s toothache is a dental emergency.
It’s important that parents understand that calling the family dentist about your child’s toothache is always a good idea. Their dentist will want to know the symptoms that your child is experiencing and will be able to provide guidance on whether or not to bring them in. That said, here are:
5 signs your child’s toothache is a dental emergency.
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- A knocked-out tooth
- A loose permanent tooth
- Severe tooth or mouth pain
- An abscess or oral infection
If your child has a knocked-out tooth in particular, try to save the tooth that has come out. Rinse the tooth with water, place it in a small container of milk, and call your family dentist in Hampton, Georgia, right away. During non-office hours, you will be directed to our contact for emergency dental care.
Prevent your child’s toothache with proper dental cleanings at Allred Family Dentistry.
The truth is that toothache prevention starts at home with proper oral care. But taking care of your teeth and preventing tooth decay can’t be done alone. Be sure your child has a trip to the dentist every six months, starting around their first birthday. Your dentist can provide a professional cleaning that removes more plaque than you can at home.
An oral examination can help ensure that any problems areas are addressed before the situation becomes more severe. Further, back-to-school season is a great time for your child to get in for a dental check-up. If your child has a toothache, needs a back-to-school cleaning, or is overdue for their dental examination, request an appointment today.