What could be making my kid's teeth sensitive?
Information shared herein applies to adult teeth as well :D
Many children have difficulty differentiating pain from sensitivity. One way to tell is to see how long the discomfort lasts.
Sensitivity —> short, sharp (think - shock-like feeling)
Pain —> could be sharp or dull, lingers.
What are some common causes of tooth sensitivity?
A) Poor oral hygiene – If plaque build-up is not effectively removed from the teeth, it leads to inflammation (swelling) of the gums. This can make the teeth feel sensitive. Food debris lodged in teeth can also make them hurt.
B) Cavities or loose fillings – Cavities don’t often hurt. The closer they are to the pulp (nerve) of the tooth, the more sensitive the tooth will be. If your child is favoring one side of the mouth to chew with, it could be because they have a cavity or a loose filling that bothers them when they eat.
C) Enamel erosion – As we discussed in last week’s newsletter, erosion of the teeth can lead to heightened sensitivity. The enamel on baby teeth is thinner when compared to adult teeth so children will start complaining of sensitivity a lot sooner than adults. Even in newly erupted adult teeth, the pulp or the nerve in the tooth is a whole lot bigger, hence more chance of sensitivity.
D) Newly erupted teeth – When teeth erupt in the oral cavity, they still have some maturing to do. The enamel has to mineralize a little more and before that happens, it could be more sensitive.
E) Traumatized teeth – If your child accidentally bites into hard foods (like a bone in chicken or their fork), the teeth that were traumatized would need some time to heal. Think of it as a concussion of the tooth :P
When to be concerned about sensitive teeth?
- Child refusing food or drinks because their teeth hurt.
- Persistent sensitivity.
- Child refusing to brush because it hurts.
- Child favoring one side of the mouth for chewing.
Ask the dentist to help you find out the cause of your kids’ sensitive teeth. If cavity/trauma can be ruled out, a simple Fluoride application can, quite often, offer relief to the young ones.