Tooth sensitivity isn’t just a problem that affects older adults. Younger children and teens sometimes have sensitive teeth that cause them to feel pain or discomfort when they are exposed to a trigger such as extreme temperatures or sweet foods. Since sensitivity can come from many different causes, you’ll want to take these steps to make sure your child receives proper care.
Help Them Avoid Food and Drinks That Trigger Sensitivity
Try to notice when your child complains about their tooth sensitivity. Did your child wince as they drank a cold beverage, or did they say their teeth hurt when they bit something hard? This type of information can help you figure out what your child needs to avoid until you figure out the cause. If extreme temperatures seem to cause the most pain, then try to serve food at room temperature. This should be just a temporary measure to keep your child comfortable until you can figure out the best course of treatment.
Check for Dental Problems
Taking your child to the dentist is the fastest way to make sure they get prompt and effective care. Tooth sensitivity can happen from a variety of common childhood dental issues. Sometimes, a baby tooth getting loose or an adult one growing in can cause pain around the gums that feels like teeth sensitivity. Cavities, cracked teeth, and loose fillings can do the same. An x-ray and visual exam from a dentist can help eliminate the source of the pain.
Watch for Signs of Grinding and Clenching
Tooth grinding and clenching place stress on the ligaments that hold your child’s teeth in place. This can generate soreness that affects the teeth. If this is the problem, then your child might also complain about having a sore jawline, or you might notice wear on the tops of their teeth. A mouthguard helps prevent major tooth grinding.
Make Sure They Are Brushing and Flossing Properly
Children sometimes think that brushing harder is better for cavity prevention. However, they could be causing enamel erosion or gum recession that exposes the more sensitive dentin that lies beneath their tooth enamel. You might need to show your child how to brush gently, and it might be time to switch to a softer toothbrush if they use a firm one now.
Identifying the cause of tooth sensitivity is essential for your child’s comfort. Once you know what is happening, you can help make sure they use their fluoride products or wear their night guard. Sensitivity may take a few weeks to clear up. If it doesn’t, then take your child for a follow-up exam to see if anything else could be causing the problem.
By Brooke Chaplan, A Freelance Writer