Five Signs Your Child Has a Toothache - Even if They Can't Tell You it Hurts

Date: 01/27/20

From a cracked tooth, to a cavity, to teething, to a stuck piece of food, there are many things that can cause mouth pain for your kids. Toothaches can affect your little ones’ eating and sleeping habits, both of which are vitally important to their learning and growth. However, if they can’t speak to tell you they are in pain, it can be hard to understand what is causing issues. The health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, have put together five signs to look for that might be a toothache when your child can’t tell you it hurts.

1. Eating Less. Often times when there has been harm to a tooth, it will be sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids. If you notice your child cringe, cry, or shy away from some favorite foods or drinks, this may be a sign of damage. Take a look inside your child’s mouth for discoloration on the gums or teeth that may be causing the pain. If the aversion to food continues even after brushing, contact your child’s dentist.

2. Waking Frequently. If your child is tired throughout the day and is having trouble sleeping, a toothache may be the cause. Tooth pain can cause more than normal fussiness before bed, frequent waking in the night, and difficulty getting comfortable – especially for side sleepers. If your child seems sensitive to pressure when chewing or biting, has tender lymph nodes, or develops a fever, it may be because of a tooth infection. If not taken care of in a timely manner, that infection can spread inside of the mouth and jaw. Contact your child’s dentist or pediatrician if you think there is an issue.

3. Chewing Constantly. Cutting teeth can be a painful and a long process for some children. If your child can’t seem to stop drooling, is chewing on anything in sight, and unusually cranky, new teeth may be coming in. Take note of how long the incessant chewing takes place and where in the mouth they are placing their chewing toys. For some children, the two-year molars are especially painful. While teething, the gums can get bright red as the teeth work their way through. Providing appropriate teething toys, rubbing their gums, and keeping them distracted will help. Teething should not make your child ill and does not cause high-grade fevers. If your child experiences these symptoms, contact your pediatrician.

4. Showing Sinus Symptoms. Many children with sinus issues can experience tooth sensitivity as well. This pain is usually felt in the upper rear teeth and is commonly accompanied by sinus infection symptoms such as runny nose and pain around the eyes. If your child is known to have sinus issues, try giving already prescribed sinus medication to alleviate the tooth pain. If your child is still experiencing sensitivity when chewing or drinking, or swelling around their jawline, it may be a cavity or tooth infection.

5. Rubbing Relentlessly. Children may experience pain somewhere else on their face even though the source is tooth related. If children are rubbing their jawlines or in and around the ears, it could be an indicator that something is bothering their teeth. Check for stuck food or brown or black discoloration on the teeth. Children are susceptible to cavities because they are less likely to get a thorough brushing between their teeth, which leaves food and sugar sitting for longer. Try assisting your child in brushing and flossing to make sure you have dislodged any food. If the pain and swelling persists or you see discoloration, call your child’s dentist.

About Envolve, Inc.®

Envolve, Inc.® is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. Envolve unifies specialty pharmacyPBMvisiondental24/7 nurse advice services, diabetes management, MSO solutions, and more. For more information, please visit our website or contact us at