There’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your child wincing in pain with a toothache. Not only can it be comfortable and distressing for the child, finding the cause can be a difficult task for the parents. The most common causes for persistent tooth pain are decay and gum disease. However, short-term pain can occur thanks to a loose tooth, a chip, a small cut in the mouth, food lodged in teeth or even grinding.
Regardless of the cause, a toothache can result in irritability and inhibit your child from eating and sleeping well. While you may feel helpless, there are some things you can do at home to alleviate the pain until you can take your child to a dentist.
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Gently Brush to Remove any Food
Food caught in between the teeth can be a source of tooth pain. A corn kernel from popcorn, meat or nuts and seeds are common particles found in between teeth. Gently brushing your child’s teeth can remove any food that’s causing discomfort. Flossing can also be helpful to get to those hard-to-reach spots. While the obstruction may be removed, the pain can still persist, so it’s important to take your child to a children’s dentist to make sure it’s removed completely and no damage has occurred in the process.
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Rinse with Saltwater
If your child is old enough, rinsing with a small amount of salt water can produce symptomatic relief by reducing inflammation. Simply mix 1 tsp of table salt with warm water and stir until dissolved. Have your child sip the solution and swish it around their mouth for 30 seconds. Ensure they spit the water out in the sink rather than swallow and repeat every few hours if necessary.
Apply a Cold Compress
A cold compress held to the outside of the area of soreness can bring great relief to a child in pain. Wrap a small bag of frozen peas or an ice pack in a tea towel and apply to the target area for 20 minutes. Make sure the skin returns to normal temperature before reapplying in a couple of hours. If there is persistent swelling, it could indicate your child has an infection or abscess. Keep an eye out for fever or redness in the gums and visit the dentist as soon as possible.
Administer Pain Relief
Pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce the severity of pain, especially late in the night. It’s important to note, the medicine won’t make the cause of the pain go away. Both paracetamol and ibuprofen come in different strengths depending on the age or weight of your child. Be sure to read the label and instructions before administering any medication. It’s very easy to accidentally give too much pain relief. To keep on track of how much you’ve given your child and when, record the dosages and time in a diary.
While these methods can help alleviate your child’s pain, a trip to the dentist will be necessary, particularly if the pain persists. The earlier you seek the advice from your dentist, the easier it tends to be to treat the problem and the quicker your child will back to their usual self.