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Avoid Back-to-School Tooth Pain in Children

Group of KidsIt’s back to school for most children in America, but tooth pain can be a real distraction from important studies. Certain dental aches and pains are inevitable, harmless, and pass quickly for kids. Babies and toddlers naturally experience some discomfort as their teeth form in their gums and break through the surface. As children get older and lose primary pearly whites, their permanent teeth emerge and may cause a slight ache here and there. All of this is a normal part of growth and development. However, if your child complains of sharp pain or prolonged aches in their mouth, you’ll definitely want to give West Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, a call.

Toothache Causes for Children

Wearing Braces: If your child wears braces or any orthodontic appliances, they may experience discomfort, especially following a visit to the have their braces altered during treatment. Tightening of the wires or a placement of new rubber bands are usually the main causes of aches. If the pain subsides in a few days, then you know it’s normal. However, if the pain continues or becomes worse, contact your dentist or orthodontist to check for other underlying concerns.

Bad Habits: Your child may have a physical habit causing their tooth pain. Does your daughter crunch ice or chew on a hard toy regularly? Help her to break the habit with reminders and a reward system. Does your son grind his teeth at night or clench her jaw? Experts report that two out of every three kids grind or clench their teeth at night. Dental professionals call this condition bruxism. Observe your children while they are sleeping. If you hear grinding and your child is complaining of tooth pain while chewing, make an appointment with Dr. Johnson so she can check for wear on your child’s teeth. Treatment can be as simple as a nightguard to halt the grinding.

Poor Diet: Most children love sweet food and drinks. Eating a lot of starchy foods and sugary snacks can lead to tooth decay. Many juices and soft drinks combine sugar and acid for a one-two assault on your child’s teeth. Sugars and starches feed the bacteria that produce acids in the mouth, leading to erosion of tooth enamel. Plaque builds up to a harmful level. Etchings, holes, and weak spots form in the tooth, eventually going far enough into the dentin and rootsl to cause a toothache. Both the amount of sugar and the amount of time your teeth are exposed to it affect the process of decay. Limit the number and frequency of the sugary treats your child eats or drinks. Educate your child about the effects of sugar on teeth. Remind them to rinse their mouth with water after eating sweets, and to brush well and floss daily to remove plaque. Help with brushing if needed.

Untreated Cavities: Most often, toothache pain indicates the presence of decay. Poor oral hygiene may be the culprit. Children don’t always have the motor skills to brush and floss well. They may not remember to do so. Parents can help to make sure the child succeeds. Certain illnesses and diseases are associated with tooth decay. Any condition that causes dry mouth, for example, may lead to higher cavity rates. The reasons mentioned previously also lead the way in creating tooth decay and cavities: consuming a lot of sugary substances frequently, bruxism, and the inability to take care of teeth well while braces are worn.

Visit your West Des Moines Dentist

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that all children visit a dentist by age one. Dr. Johnson advises staying on top of your child’s dental health to get care early for existing problems and to avoid future issues. Her family dentist office in the 50266 zip code serves clients in West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.


MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm