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If you have a child with sensitive teeth, you may often hear him complain, “My tooth hurts!” However, what they consider pain is actually sensitivity. A tooth is sensitive when the discomfort is immediate, but quickly goes away after removal of the cause.

Causes of sensitive teeth in children

New teeth – If your child is losing baby teeth and growing permanent ones, this can feel sensitive and painful. Additional factors such as hot, cold, and air can make painful contact also.

Minor tooth damage – Chipping a tooth when playing sports or after crunching down on a hard candy can cause sensitivity. Bacteria can irritate a tooth that has exposed dentin from a chip or crack. Excessive tooth grinding can also cause hairline cracks in the teeth, causing sensitivity.

Cavities – improper brushing does not usually cause tooth sensitivity in children. Most likely, the child has a cavity and will require treatment. To prevent this cause of tooth sensitivity, make sure your children brush their teeth at least twice a day for approximately two minutes.

Sinus issues – If your child is prone to sinus problems, he may experience tooth sensitivity on upper teeth. Sinus pressure can cause pain that feels like a mouth issue.

Sometimes, fillings can also be a cause of tooth sensitivity. If your child has silver tooth fillings from past cavities, try to find out if you can pinpoint the sensitivity to a filled tooth.

Recommendations for your child’s sensitive teeth

Use toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth – It is important to ask a dentist before allowing a child under age 12 to use a desensitizing product. You can try unflavored toothpaste or use a clean washcloth or piece of gauze to gently wipe your child’s sensitive teeth. Teens can try toothpaste such as Colgate Sensitive. Sensodyne ProNamel for Children is indicated for ages six and up, but ask a dentist before switching.

Use a mouthwash with fluoride – If cavities are causing your child’s tooth sensitivity, try a fluoride mouthwash as long as it is appropriate for your child’s age. You may also be able to purchase fluoride gel to use at home, but it will need to come from a dentist.

Make sure the toothbrush is soft – Children should not use medium or hard toothbrushes. Soft is effective for cleaning. Also, extra soft is preferred for younger children. Gentle care is best if your child has sensitive teeth.

Proper tooth and gum care – Encouraging better oral care routines can help reduce the occurrence of sensitive teeth for your child. It will also improve the feeling of brushing and help to develop good health habits.

If your child continues to experience sensitivity in his teeth, especially with throbbing or fever, seek attention from a dentist. For quality pediatric dental care in Raleigh, contact us at Brier Creek Pediatric Dentistry. We provide expert care for all of your child’s dental needs.