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The 6 Most Common Reasons Kids Get Toothaches at Night-How To Treat Them

by Youth Dental

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Toothaches can be a common and painful occurrence for kids, especially at night when there is nothing to distract them from the pain. While toothaches may not always be preventable, understanding the most common causes of nighttime toothache in kids can help parents take steps to reduce their frequency and severity.

From cavities to teeth grinding, here are six of the most common reasons why kids get toothaches at night—and how to treat them.

  1. Cavities: If your child is experiencing a toothache at night, it could be due to an untreated cavity. Cavities occur when bacteria and acids in the mouth break down the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay. When the infection reaches the blood vessels and nerves in the center of the tooth, it can cause throbbing pain. Common treatments for cavities include fillings, dental crowns, and root canals
  2. Gingivitis: Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, is another common cause of nighttime toothaches in children. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and causes the gums to swell and bleed easily. The best treatment for gingivitis is regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
  3. Tooth grinding: If your child grinds their teeth at night, it can lead to pain or sensitivity in the jaw and teeth. If your child has a cavity, the grinding can make the pain worse. The best way to treat teeth grinding is to wear a nightguard which helps cushion the teeth and protect them from further damage caused by grinding.
  4. Abscessed tooth: This occurs when the tissue inside a tooth becomes infected. An abscessed tooth can be incredibly painful, so it’s important to see a dentist immediately for treatment.
  5. Impacted wisdom teeth: When wisdom teeth are impacted and erupting, they can cause pain and sensitivity in other teeth around them. The best way to treat an impacted wisdom tooth is to have it surgically removed.
  6. Stuck food particles: If your child has a toothache and there is no visible sign of decay or infection, it could be due to food particles that are stuck between the teeth. Try to encourage your child to floss regularly and use dental flossers or picks when needed.


The Best Home Remedies to Treat a Toothache 

If your child’s toothache is mild, there are a few home remedies that you can try to provide some relief. 

  • Saltwater rinse: This can help reduce inflammation and soothe the gums. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and use it as a mouthwash for 30 seconds to one minute. 
  • Cold compress: Applying a cold, wet compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and offer relief from toothache pain.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications: You may also consider giving your child an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate their discomfort.
  • Clove oil: Applying clove oil to the painful tooth can provide temporary relief from pain and sensitivity. Simply dip a cotton ball in clove oil and apply it to the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time.

These home remedies may not be enough to treat the underlying cause of your child’s toothache, so it’s important to speak to a dentist if the pain persists. They will be able to give you a more accurate diagnosis and help you find the best treatment plan for your child.

Schedule an Appointment With a Kids Dentist Denver

No matter what the cause, it is important to visit a dentist if your child’s toothache persists for more than a day or two. The dentist will be able to properly diagnose and treat the condition, ensuring that your child can get some much-needed relief from their nighttime toothache.

Being aware of the most common causes of nighttime toothaches in kids can help parents take steps to reduce their occurrence and severity. If your child is experiencing a persistent or severe toothache, it’s important to visit a dentist for treatment as soon as possible. By visiting a dentist regularly and ensuring good oral health, you can help ensure that your child receives the best care and preventative treatments available. 

To schedule an appointment with one of our skilled and compassionate dentists, call (720) 575-1250 or complete the online booking form. At Youth Dental & Vision, kids under two years old are eligible for a free dental check-up! Visit us in Aurora, Denver, Thornton, and Hampden


How Long Can a Toothache Last?

The duration of a toothache can vary, depending on the cause and severity. Generally, a mild toothache may last for just a few days, while more serious cases may persist for weeks or longer if left untreated. If your child is experiencing persistent or severe tooth pain, it’s important to visit a dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.

How Do I Know if My Child’s Tooth Is Infected?

If your child has a severe toothache accompanied by swelling, fever, or general illness, they may have an infection. An abscessed tooth may also cause drainage of a foul-tasting, yellowish-green fluid from the affected area. In these cases, it’s important to visit a dentist immediately for treatment. Call our 24-hour emergency dental line at (303) 886-0699 if you think your cold has an abscessed tooth. 

What Helps a Child’s Toothache?

If your child is experiencing mild tooth discomfort, you can try the following at-home remedies:

• Rinse their mouth with warm water

• Gently floss around the affected area

• Apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek near the affected tooth

• Give them an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen 

When Should I Take My Child to the ER for a Toothache?

If your child is experiencing a severe toothache accompanied by fever, swelling, or general illness, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. You should also visit the emergency room if your child is having difficulty breathing or swallowing due to toothache. In these cases, the ER may provide antibiotics and/or a referral to a dentist or oral surgeon. Otherwise, it’s best to visit a dentist for evaluation and treatment. For emergency dental treatment, call our emergency dental line at (303) 886-0699.  

How Can I Prevent Nighttime Toothaches in My Child?

The best way to prevent nighttime toothaches in kids is by encouraging good oral hygiene habits and visiting the dentist regularly. It’s important that your child brushes their teeth twice a day, flosses frequently, and visits the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.

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