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Does My Child Have Sensitive Teeth?

Red-headed female child touches her cheeks in pain due to sensitive teeth in front of a hedge with red flowers

If your child complains of stinging, tingling, or painful pangs when they brush, chew, bite into hot or cold food (like a chilled piece of fruit or ice cream), or drink ice water or hot chocolate, it’s likely that your child is suffering from sensitive teeth. Read on to learn about some common causes of sensitive teeth and how to help ease your child’s discomfort.

Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth in children are often caused by the following reasons:

  • New Teeth – As your child’s baby teeth fall out to make room for their adult teeth, these new teeth may feel sensitive as they adjust to exposure to air and food.
  • Dental Decay – Cavities are very common in children and tooth sensitivity is often a symptom of advanced decay that has reached the inner nerves of their teeth.
  • Brushing Too Vigorously – When people, both child and adult alike, brush their teeth too hard, they are brushing away the teeth’s enamel, which exposes the sensitive underlying layers.
  • Cracked or Broken Teeth – Teeth that are cracked or broken, whether from a hit to the mouth or due to nightly teeth grinding (bruxism), are more sensitive, especially if bacteria has irritated the inner tooth layers.

Ways to Treat Teeth Sensitivity

  • Encourage your children to practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice daily and flossing at least one a day. If decay is contributing to the sensitivity, brushing and flossing is a big step in reversing early-stage decay and preventing further damage.
  • Choose an age-appropriate specially-formulated anti-sensitivity toothpaste. But with children it’s important to heed the labels! For instance, many toothpastes designed to address sensitivity are not recommended for children under the age of 12.
  • If your child is older than 6, they can use a fluoride mouthwash to aid in remineralizing their tooth enamel and to help wash out the bacteria that crowd in the spaces between the teeth and around the gums. But make sure you supervise your child when they use a mouthrinse to ensure they do not swallow it!
  • Have you child only use a soft-bristled toothbrush. If your child brushes their teeth too hard, especially using a brush with medium or firm bristles, the protective layer of their enamel can be scrubbed away. Consider investing in an electric toothbrush for kids that features a two-minute timer and a pressure sensor.
  • Encourage your child to use a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard when they play contact sports and a nightguard if they grind their teeth.

Reach Out to Our Team!

Bring your child in to see us at Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics if they are complaining of sensitivity. Our team will determine the cause of their sensitivity and advise you in the correct course of action for treatment. Contact our Kerrville dental office today.

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