Does your child complain their mouth hurts when they brush their teeth? Do they refuse to eat ice cream, hot soup, or any other food that’s hot or cold? They might be experiencing tooth sensitivity. The following guide will help you determine what you need to do to protect their oral health and make them more comfortable until they can be evaluated by a dentist.
What Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity in Children?
A variety of conditions can lead to sensitivity in children, including but not limited to:
- Enamel Erosion: The bacteria in plaque will cause decay over time, leading to tooth sensitivity and cavities. Brushing too vigorously can also erode enamel and cause discomfort.
- A Loose Tooth: Most children start to lose their baby teeth around age six or seven. When a tooth wiggles, it can be painful and irritate their gums, producing the same symptoms as sensitive teeth.
- Bruxism: Between 20%-30% of kids grind or clench their teeth. If your child complains of headaches, trouble sleeping, or sore jaws and teeth, ask a dentist to look for signs of unusual wear and tear.
- Sinus Pressure: If your child has nasal congestion from a cold or allergies, the buildup can create pressure in the sinus cavities located near the tooth roots.
- Hyper-Sensitivity: Every kid has different sensitivity thresholds. You might need to switch to a soft-bristle toothbrush or use a new toothpaste to make your child more comfortable. Strong minty flavors can also be offensive to some kids, and ingredients like baking soda are too abrasive.
What Can You Do to Help a Child With Sensitive Teeth?
If your child has sensitive teeth, make an appointment with a dentist right away. A dentist can evaluate their oral health and ensure there aren’t any gum abscesses or cavities, which could be dangerous if left untreated. They can also recommend treatments to alleviate symptoms, such as a fluoride rinse or special-formula toothpaste.
If a dentist sees signs of teeth grinding, such as chipped enamel, they might recommend a mouthguard. Bruxism can be caused by jaw misalignment, so orthodontic services might also correct the problem.
While you wait for an appointment with the dentist, use a soft-bristle toothbrush or piece of gauze to gently wipe your child’s teeth and gums every morning and night. You can also try an unflavored toothpaste and switch to room-temperature food and drinks.
To keep your child’s teeth healthy, you need to protect their enamel by brushing daily and visiting the dentist every six months for teeth cleaning and an oral exam. A family dentist will monitor your child to ensure their teeth and mouth develop properly, giving them a foundation for strong oral health.
If you suspect that your child is struggling with tooth sensitivity, Dr. Driskell at Anchorage Dental Center in Anchorage, AK, is currently accepting new patients. He can treat your child’s condition effectively and with compassion and also practices dentistry for adults. To schedule an appointment with the family dentist, call (907) 278-2521 today. You can also visit the clinic online to learn more about their compassionate team.