Does your child have sensitive teeth? Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages doesn't only affect adults. If your child winces when they eat or drink, take a look at what you need to know about tooth sensitivity and how a pediatric dentist can help.
What Is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a feeling of discomfort that happens at specific times—such as when your child eats or drinks. Unlike other oral aches or pains, sensitivity may or may not linger after your child finishes a meal or snack. Sensitivity-related discomfort may feel sudden and sharp.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
This type of dental issue happens when the enamel (the outer, hard layer of the tooth) wears or erodes away and exposes the dentin (the inner layer of the tooth). It can also happen if the gum recedes and exposes the roots of the tooth. Dental decay (cavities) can also cause this common issue.
Both erosion and decay can result from poor dental care or eating and drinking some types of foods and beverages. Highly acidic or sugary beverages, such as orange juice, can wear away the enamel and cause—especially if your child constantly sips on this type of drink during the day.
Along with dental decay and enamel-related issues, sinus pressure or an infection may cause tooth sensitivity. Sinus/tooth sensitivity includes other noticeable symptoms, such as a runny nose, congestion, headache, facial pain, or a fever.
How Do You Know If Your Child Has Tooth Sensitivity?
It's likely that your child will tell you about their sensitive teeth. But, depending on your child's age, they may not have the right words to express how they feel. This means you may need to watch for symptoms.
Symptoms of dental sensitivity typically intensify when the child eats or drinks some types of hot, cold, acidic, or sugar-packed foods/beverages. If they wince or hold their jaw when they eat a steaming bowl of soup, suck on a popsicle, or sip cold orange juice, it's possible that they have sensitive teeth. They may also show signs of sensitivity when they brush their teeth or floss.
What Can You Do About Your Child's Sensitive Teeth?
Never ignore the signs of sensitive teeth. Left untreated, enamel erosion can progress into more serious dental decay and cavities can damage your child's teeth. If your child can tell you that they have sudden, sharp, or shooting pains when they eat or drink or have noticeable symptoms, call their pediatric dentistry practice.
The dentist Will examine your child's teeth and may order dental X-rays. If they find decay, the dentist will need to drill and fill the cavity. They may also recommend preventative care steps. These could include a new type of toothpaste, increased at-home oral care, or a change in your child's diet.