Dealing With a Child’s Toothache

Having a toothache is hard enough when you are an adult: The constant pain and pressure on your nerve endings makes for a difficult day, no matter what is on the agenda. Having a toothache as a child is even worse because you are not always aware what is happening and why, and pain tolerance has not been built up to handle it well. If you are a parent or guardian of a child with a toothache, here are methods that can help.

Causes and symptoms of toothache

There are several causes of toothaches, the main perpetrators being cavities or the impact of a new tooth growing. This can happen to an older child if they have lost their baby teeth and have new ones growing in. Symptoms include pain on the site of the tooth and throughout the head, as well as severe headaches. Symptoms can also include fever and a stomachache. The body will often produce more saliva during a toothache, and this can throw off the acidity in the stomach and cause indigestion.

Over-the-counter remedies

There are many over-the-counter remedies for a child’s toothache. You may try children’s ibuprofen or another basic painkiller, especially if the child has a fever. You can also try a numbing gel. This is effective in that it numbs the site of the actual ache. However, it can be difficult to get children to leave the gel on the gum or teeth without swallowing it.

At-home remedies

If your child has a toothache, do not give them any crunchy foods or excessive sugar. Stick to soft foods that are easily digestible, such as soup, yogurt, rice and bananas. Having something to gnaw on helps as well, and something cold can numb the pain. You can use a freezer-teether, or simply take a clean washrag, dip it in some juice, twist it and throw it in a baggie in the freezer for 30 minutes until cold. Then the child can gnaw on it. Pineapple juice is recommended if they have a fever or the toothache is making them sick, as it has natural enzymes to help heal their bodies.


Psychological studies show that pain can be eased by comfort. Be sure to give them extra cuddles, put on their favorite movie, do a fun activity and make comforting food that you know is easy for them to eat. Having a child with a toothache is a rough time for both parent and child, so taking it easy is a good idea for both.

When to see a doctor

If your child has had a fever for three or more days, they should see a doctor. If the toothache persists without new growth or without a fever, it may be time to visit their dentist.

Getting through a toothache

Having a child with a toothache is difficult for all parties involved, but there are over-the-counter medicines and home remedies that can help. When dealing with a child with a toothache, it is important to provide comfort and care.

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