What Causes Toothache in Toddlers?

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Guest Post: Most Common Reasons of Pain in Teeth of Infants and Toddlers

Being a responsible parent, one must always look into every aspect of child’s development. One of such important aspect is the child’s dentition.

The tooth eruption process in a child generally starts from six month onwards. Sometimes the eruption will occur on time and sometimes there might be a delayed eruption process. Tooth eruption in a child helps him/ her in proper speech, facial development and aids in proper chewing of the food.
Hence it very important for a parent to peep inside the child’s mouth and also visit a dentist regularly.
In India, it is very unfortunate that dental treatment is more of a luxury than a necessity. So let us discuss a few important points for the wellbeing of your child’s oral health.

Toddler teeth may sometimes be painful, causing discomfort to your baby. The main causes of pain are carelessness, poor socioeconomic status, less knowledge, improper cleaning, intake of sugary foods, and the low levels of fluoride in the diet which leads to tooth problems.

Here are those situations, discussed at a glance –

Common Reasons of Toothache in Children

Tooth decay

This is known as dental caries. There are various reasons for dental caries to happen. First and foremost let me make it clear that there is no vaccine to stop dental caries to happen. If the decay has happened, you must visit the dentist to get it excavated and replace it with fillings. .
In kids, the most important factor is nursing bottle decay. Many toddlers have the habit of drinking milk from bottle with nipple. Most of the mothers generally add some sugar in the milk. A toddler goes off to sleep with a pool of milk still in the mouth. This leads to dental caries as the sugar in the milk happens to be the real culprit.
Hence if your child has this habit of using bottles, stop it right away.
Secondly make a habit of wiping your kid’s teeth with a moist cloth after drinking milk before he goes off to sleep.

Another factor in tooth decay is sweets/candies/chocolate. If your child has a habit of eating too many toffees/chocolates, then please brush the teeth immediately after consumption or at least wipe the teeth with moist cloth. Moreover compared to other sweets and candies, soft chocolate causes more damage to teeth and hence more chances of decay.

Inflammation/Swelling of Tooth

All said and done, if the child has dental caries and if they are not treated early, the infection reaches in innermost part of the tooth leading to abscess or pus formation.
In such cases, the tooth becomes tender and it pains. If this happens, don’t waste time to visit a dentist. This can aggravate and gives serious problems later.

Soreness of Gums

This generally happens when tooth is erupting form the gums. It is a normal phenomenon. So don’t worry. If at all the child has problem, give him some analgesic by consulting a dentist.

Clogged Food or Food Lodgment

After the child has his food, please rinse the mouth properly so that there is no food lodgment in between the teeth which can lead to interdental decay.

Prevention Tips for Toddler’s Tooth Pain

To prevent the painful conditions for your kids, take care and use the following tips –

• Give your child a glass of warm water with a pinch of salt to cure the soreness or itchiness of the gums.
• Try cold icepack outside your cheek. It will give relief from soreness.
• You can give cold water to get relief from pain.
• Do not give painkillers without consulting your dentist. Pain killers and analgesics over a prolonged period of time can cause severe damage to liver.
• In case of severity contact your Pediatric dentist.

Measures to Avoid Tooth Pain

Here are some effective measures which you can consider to avoid tooth pain in toddlers –

• A good diet plays most important role in preventing tooth decay. Avoid sugary food and drinks in between meals as these foods are converted in to acids by microorganism causing destruction of enamel.
• Avoid undiluted fruit juices that cause erosion of the tooth.
• During first 18 months prefer fluoride-less paste as babies cannot spit out the paste after brushing. Once your baby is 18 months old and learns to rinse mouth after brushing, you should use the kid’s special toothpaste which contains safe amount of fluoride. It helps in strengthening of teeth. Baby’s teeth in primary dentition are porous while in permanent they are non-porous. So our daily toothpastes like the ones which are used by adults are not advisable for toddlers
Excess fluoride can cause severe health issues.
• Remove dental plaque by regularly brushing your baby’s tooth as this plaque is a collection of germs and micro organism.
• Avoid prolonged bottle feeding as feeding sweet and milk products with it can contribute to dental decay. It is very common that baby falls asleep with a pool of sugar added milk in the mouth. This gives rise to streptococcus mutants which are responsible for the tooth decay. They attack the tooth which leads to dental caries.
• Choose healthy lifestyle for your baby. Educate your baby about benefits of regular brushing. Avoid grazing of unwanted foods.

Why is it Difficult to Treat a Toddler’s Tooth?

Do you wonder why it is tough to understand or catch the condition early in kids?

Your child has a poor understanding of tooth decay. He may be confused about whether it’s painful or not. You have to understand his situation. Try getting your toddler’s teeth checked every week by yourselves. Go for regular checkups to the dentist to avoid the worsening of the situation.

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About Author

Nikhil Deshpande

Dr Nikhil Deshpande, a dentist by profession having his practice in Pune, India. If you wish to contact me, send me msg on facebook, link is given here.

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