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Causes And Remedies For Your Child's Toothache

by Terry Wilson

Baby teeth are just as important as permanent teeth because they are the foundation for permanent teeth to grow in to. Baby teeth are susceptible to the same oral problems as permanent teeth – toothaches and sensitivity being among the problems your child might encounter. Take a look at these common causes for pediatric toothaches and what you can do to relieve your child's pain.

Likely Causes for Toothaches in Children

Some causes of toothaches in children are small things, such as new teeth coming in or food stuck between two teeth (which, in this case, you would simply have to floss to ease their pain). Other are more serious, like decaying teeth. These are among the most prevalent reasons your child might experience a toothache:

  • Decaying Teeth: Drinking juice and eating candy promote tooth decay. This is manifest by cavities or cracked tooth enamel. As your child's tooth dies, its pulp is exposed. The pulpy part of teeth surrounds the nerves, meaning that the tooth becomes more sensitive the more it decays.
  • Premature Tooth Loss: A baby tooth becomes loose prematurely for a variety of reasons. These include tooth decay, trauma from a fall, or even an oral infection. Premature tooth loss affects the way permanent teeth grow in and the shape of your child's jaw. If not dealt with quickly, it could lead to speech problems and the need for braces later in life.
  • Juvenile Periodontitis: Juvenile periodontitis is uncommon, but it causes oral discomfort. It leads to gum deterioration and tooth loss. Early treatment is necessary to prevent oral diseases throughout your child's life.
  • Tooth Grinding: Your child may grind their teeth at night. This causes jaw tension and promotes tooth pain. Talk to your dentist about ways to help stop this habit, as night guards aren't always appropriate for young children.

Temporary Relief Options

Getting your child to swish with salt water – or hydrogen peroxide – isn't easy. But these relief options are child-friendly ways to reduce tooth pain and sensitivity. They are not intended to cure your child's toothache, but help your child cope with the pain until a more permanent solution is found. Have your child try one of these homemade remedies:

  • Cool Relief: Use an ice pack or cool, wet washcloth to numb the mouth. Do this before eating so your child won't have discomfort or loss of appetite. You can also give ibuprofen before applying cool relief for longer numbing benefits.
  • Vegetable Relief: Cut a cool slice of potato or cucumber and have your child hold it to the hurting tooth. This will relieve pain and could even help with swelling.
  • Paste: Look for a child-approved toothpaste designed for sensitivity. You can make your own paste of baking soda and water and coat the tooth for 1-2 minutes with that, as well.

Long-Term Relief Options

Seeing a dentist at a site like http://www.drheimann.com is the only way to pinpoint what is causing your child's discomfort. If you cannot schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist early, consider contacting an emergency dentist if you feel that the problem needs to be addressed right away. Typical procedures include:

  • Filling: If a cavity or cracked enamel is the source of pain, the tooth will be filled.
  • Cap: If the tooth has extensive decay, a crown will be placed instead of a filling. Caps are also used when baby teeth need to be extracted to maintain your child's jaw shape.
  • Disease Treatment: Treatment for oral diseases – periodontitis – will vary depending on its type and severity. In most cases, your pediatric dentist will open the gums and remove bacteria. This is a minor surgery. If the disease is cancerous or spreading quickly, more extensive treatment such as radiation therapy may be required.

Toothaches are not uncommon in children. If your child has a toothache, the first step is to locate the source of the problem. Consulting a dentist is the best way to do this. While you wait for dental treatment, try some simple home remedies to ease your child's discomfort.