Children and Swollen Gums
If your child has a toothache or pain in their gums or jaw, there are quite a few reasons this could happen. Sometimes, this discomfort is accompanied by swollen gums, a symptom that also has a handful of different triggers. Tooth decay and gum disease are the most typical causes of pain in the oral cavity, but they aren’t the only causes. A cracked or broken tooth could ache and irritate the gums, and teeth that are erupting through the bone can also hurt and the area may appear swollen. The teeth or gums can become infected if tooth decay or gum disease are left untreated, and certain habits like grinding or clenching the teeth can damage the teeth and stress the jaw, causing jaw pain and possible dental infection. As you can see, there are a host of possibilities when it comes to children and swollen gums, toothaches, and jaw pain. If your child has swollen gums accompanied by pain or sensitivity, make an appointment with their dentist as soon as you can to get a diagnosis for the issue and keep it from getting worse. Until you and your child can get in to see the dentist, there are some home remedies that have proven effective for managing discomfort and preserving the health of the oral cavity.
One of the more tried-and-true methods for pain reduction and reducing inflammation is applying ice or cold packs. Make sure to put a cloth between the cold pack or ice and your child’s skin, and gently apply the cold pack for no more than 10 or 20 minutes at a time. Never use heat to relieve oral or dental pain. If your child received a prescription for antibiotics, make sure they take them as directed, completing the entire medication cycle even if symptoms have subsided. Your child might feel better, but any infection might still be present and will continue to proliferate if antibiotic treatment is cut short. Many children respond favorably to medications like Advil or Motrin, which are available in formulations for children and can help reduce swelling and discomfort, but be sure to read all labels carefully and ask your child’s dentist or doctor if you have any questions about your options. Ingesting food or drinks that are extremely hot or cold or excessively sugary and sweet can increase pain and sensitivity and should be avoided.
Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain, and for older children, this can be an effective way to help them learn how to apply this simple home remedy on their own. Rinsing every couple of hours with a solution of one teaspoon table salt dissolved in eight ounces of warm water is usually enough to do the trick, helping your child feel better while also soothing the inside of the oral cavity and helping to keep it clean. If your child continues to have sensitive teeth or gums, ask your dentist for recommendations for special toothpaste and make sure to clean the teeth gently, using a finger if needed and flossing for your child if they are too young to do it effectively on their own. Flossing and brushing too aggressively can even cause swollen gums, and learning how to care for one’s teeth early on can play an instrumental role in helping them maintain a long life of healthy smiles.