As a parent, nothing is worse than seeing your child in pain. Fortunately, you probably know basic first-aid for common situations like a scraped knee or upset tummy, but toothaches are something else altogether! While they can range from mild to severe, they’re always difficult to get through, especially for kids. If your child comes to you with a toothache, you may not be sure how to handle it. But the good news is that there are some simple steps you can take at home to manage their pain until they can be treated by a pediatric dentist in Hillsboro. Keep reading to learn more below!
What Should You Do If Your Child Has a Toothache?
There are several possible reasons for a toothache, ranging from food stuck between the teeth to something more serious like an infection or abscess.
Since you can’t pinpoint the cause on your own, it’s crucial that you start by calling an emergency pediatric dentist in Hillsboro because infections can be very dangerous if they’re left untreated.
That way, you can schedule the first available appointment and also get specific advice for the situation at hand. With that said, here are some general steps you can take at home until your appointment:
- Ask your child to describe what the pain feels like and where it is. If possible, try to look at the area to see if there’s anything stuck there, or if there’s any bleeding or swelling.
- Prepare some salt water by adding ¼ teaspoon of salt to a cup of lukewarm water and have your child gently swish and spit.
- Gently apply a cold compress to the outside of their face.
- You can also give your child acetaminophen for pain, as directed.
How Can You Prevent Toothaches?
As with anything health-related, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Here are some things you can do to prevent toothaches and other dental emergencies:
- Schedule regular checkups so that cavities and other issues can be found and treated as early as possible. Your children can also get preventive fluoride treatments at these visits that strengthen their teeth and prevent decay.
- Make sure your child uses a mouthguard during sports and any recreational activities like skateboarding.
- Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once is crucial to your child’s oral health, but it can be a struggle in many households. One helpful tip is to aim for better, not perfect. For example, make a goal to floss your child’s teeth after they brush each night (or have them do it if they’re old enough), but remember that if you fall short and only wind up flossing 4-5 times a week, it will still be very beneficial!
- Minimize sweet foods and beverages as much as possible. Juice or soda is okay as an occasional treat, but encourage your child to primarily drink water or milk.
It’s safe to say that toothaches are no fun for both kids and adults alike. But with these tips, you’ll be better equipped to either prevent them or handle them as effectively as possible!
About the Author
Dr. Malinda Kearbey is a general and pediatric dentist in Hillsboro, and also a mother of two. She knows how alarming it is to have a child in pain, so she and her staff always make emergency care a priority and can put even the most frazzled patients at ease. If your child has a toothache and you have any questions, she can be reached via her website or at (503) 640-6565.