7 Common Reasons for Your Kid’s Sensitive Teeth

Take care of your child's sensitive teeth

Sensitive Teeth in Kids and What You Can Do About It

As a parent, you naturally want your children to feel as happy and healthy as possible. That’s why it can be disheartening to hear them complain about a toothache or sensitive teeth.

In many cases, the pain could be caused by sensitivity. There are many different reasons why this could be affecting them, and your dentist can help you pinpoint exactly what’s going on.

Today we’re sharing 7 common issues that cause sensitive teeth in kids and what steps you can take to help them find relief.

1. Losing Baby Teeth

Watching your child’s baby teeth give way to permanent teeth can be super exciting! However, this stage can also come with a little sensitivity.

As their permanent teeth start to grow, those teeth begin to push baby teeth out of the gums. This can cause some soreness in that area, and you may notice that your child favors the opposite side of their mouth until the new tooth fully emerges. The sensitivity may linger for a little while afterward, especially as air and food come in contact with that new tooth.

2. Sinus Infections and Allergies

Aside from a runny nose and sore throat, did you know that sinus infections and allergies can also cause sensitive teeth? Sinus pressure in your child’s face can press down on their upper teeth and affect the nerves in that region.

If their mouth feels tender, check to see if they’re experiencing other sinus-related problems. If so, treating those symptoms should help alleviate that pain.

3. Cavities

Sensitive teeth in kids can also be a sign of cavities. A cavity is a small area of decay in your child’s tooth that begins at the hard enamel and eventually works its way into the more sensitive second layer (dentin). If left untreated, decay can continue into the soft inner pulp.

Dental pulp contains sensory nerve fibers along with blood vessels that keep our teeth healthy. If a cavity is left untreated, it can reach this tissue and cause significant pain. However, even a shallow cavity can cause sensitivity.

That’s because once your child’s tooth enamel is weakened, hot or cold food and drink can reach the more sensitive dentin layer and cause pain. A great at-home dental care routine, combined with routine checkups, can help keep cavities at bay!

If you believe your child has a cavity, go ahead and schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further decay.

4. Teeth Grinding

Child-dentistry experts estimate that two or three out of every 10 kids will grind, gnash, or clench their teeth habitually. This behavior is also called bruxism.

Especially if your child mentions having sensitivity after a long night’s sleep, bruxism could be to blame. The repetitive motion can weaken their tooth enamel, exposing the tender dentin underneath. Dentin is the middle layer of the tooth that protects the innermost pulp.

While most kids outgrow this habit, it’s still best to monitor it alongside your dentist. If it’s damaging their teeth or causing undue soreness in their face or jaw, they may need to wear a special nightguard to protect their mouth.

5. Brushing Too Hard

We love when our little ones are eager to brush and floss! However, there is such a thing as brushing too hard. Overenthusiastic scrubbing can wear away enamel and lead to tooth and gum sensitivity.

Monitor your child to make sure they’re performing the right motions as they brush. It’s also important to ensure they’re thoroughly cleaning their mouth. Sticky and crunchy foods can become lodged within or between their teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum infection.

Help them develop proper brushing habits at an early age and give them a great example to look up to. Keep in mind that the approach you use will change a little as they grow. Check out our Baby Wellness page to learn how to keep their teeth and gums healthy, especially in those first 18 months!

6. Minor Tooth Damage

Cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth are often sensitive. While you might think of these primarily as adult issues, they can happen in children too.

Even a hairline crack can cause a zip of pain as your child eats and chews. While grinding can cause these issues, they may also be attributed to misaligned teeth or enamel erosion. Moreover, certain foods and drinks can eat away at their tooth enamel, and acidic sodas are a primary culprit.

A pediatric dental specialist can help you understand any existing damage and provide suggestions on how to prevent further deterioration. There are many cosmetic dentistry treatments that can help repair crooked, chipped, or broken teeth and create a pain-free smile!

7. Issues With Dental Fillings

Left unfilled, cavities grow bigger and deeper over time. Your pediatric dentist can remove the areas of decay from your child’s tooth and replace that space with a filling.

Dental fillings are a preventive dental procedure. At our office, we offer both amalgam (silver) fillings and composite (tooth-colored) fillings. These can remove the pain of decay and restore the form and function of your child’s tooth.

While they’re designed to be as durable as possible, there are certain actions, such as teeth grinding and excessive biting force, that can weaken or damage a filling. If a filling becomes loose or cracked, it can create sensitivity in that area. If your child has a filling in place, your dentist can check to see if that may have happened and perform the necessary repairs.

Help With Treating Sensitive Teeth in Kids

If your child is suffering from sensitive teeth, we’re here to help.

Eating, drinking, and speaking can all become difficult if one spot in their mouth is giving them trouble. At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we understand what causes sensitive teeth in kids, and we’re here to make life easier.

As soon as an issue arises, don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment!