Dental problems in children are commonplace. Every child needs dental checkups as they grow and develop, and this is often the first point at which problems can be identified. If your child has toothache or is complaining of painful teeth, either their first or second sets, it is essential that you arrange an appointment with a dentist. Sugary snacks and sodas are a common culprit, but in some kids it may just be a simple case of how their teeth are developing.
As parents, we’re usually the first people to hear of our kids’ dental problems. Toothache can be extremely painful, and kids aren’t shy about letting their feelings be known. While a dental appointment will make sure everything is OK, it may be the case that you need a more immediate remedy to your child’s discomfort. So what can parents do when their children complain of painful gums and toothache?
There are a number of causes of toothache in children. As adult teeth grow through, tooth fractures, gum pain and infections are more common. This often results in children requiring more regular dental visits than adults, particularly during their formative years. Dentists can advise on how dental complaints should be handled, but as a parent there are steps you can take to fight pain in the short-term.
The first step should always be to invite your child to rinse their mouth. Warm, salty water rinsed around the mouth for one minute can clear any food or debris that might be causing discomfort. This tastes unpleasant, but – for kids that are old enough to carry this out on their own – it can be highly effective at ensuring their mouths are cleansed of any particles that might be causing the problem.
If that doesn’t reduce the pain for your child, an ice-pack is usually a good next step. If your child has a toothache, an ice-pack held on the outside of the face can reduce the immediate pain and discomfort. By holding the ice to your child’s face in batches of 20 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of rest, you should be able to contain the preliminary pain until you are able to see a dentist.
Child-friendly paracetamol might be the next step if your child is still complaining of unbearable discomfort. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the non-medicated approach is always preferable wherever possible. If your child has taken similar medications before without difficulty, it might be worth trying the same dosage to counteract the present pain and discomfort. These can come in liquid and capsule form, so children of all ages can be given the medication where required. If you are unsure about the suitability of this approach, you should consult your family physician before use.
When your children’s teeth are hurting it can be a difficult time for the entire family. While the help of a dentist will be essential to get to the root of the problem, salt water and ice solutions can be used in the first instance to dull the pain and make your child feel less uncomfortable with their condition.