Getting your child to brush is a difficult task under the best of circumstances. For kids, two minutes of a somewhat menial activity can feel like an eternity, so getting them to get engaged with dental hygiene can present serious challenges.
However, it may not be just normal fussiness that makes your child unwilling to brush—they might be experiencing tooth sensitivity that makes dental hygiene much more painful than it ought to be. Here’s how you can tell if your child has this issue, and what their dentist can do about it.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
You may have heard that sensitive teeth can result from eroded enamel, and can cause small twinge of pain when you eat something hot or cold. This style of sensitivity is actually fairly rare in children—most people won’t start experiencing it until around their mid-to-late twenties.
However, there are reasons that children can start to experience tooth sensitivity. Tooth decay is the biggest one, but chipped or cracked teeth can also result in a little bit of discomfort.
Does Your Child Have Sensitive Teeth?
Often, a simple unwillingness to brush their teeth isn’t a sign that a child is dealing with tooth sensitivity. Kids are impatient, and some of them just don’t love the taste of toothpaste or the feeling of a toothbrush. This is especially true if your child has autism or if they’re prone to being overstimulated.
If your child’s teeth are sensitive, they’ll probably experience discomfort in a wide variety of contexts, any time they try something too cold or too hot. That, on top of being unwilling to brush teeth, plus any visual signs of cracks or tooth decay, are all signs that your child is dealing with tooth sensitivity.
What To Do If Your Child Has Sensitive Teeth
If your child is often uncomfortable while brushing, you should try and get a hold of their pediatric dentist. If tooth decay is the primary reason for the sensitivity, their dentist will probably put them on a fluoride treatment, including prescription fluoride gel and foam.
It’s worth noting that there is toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, but that this is only recommended for children over the age of 12. You should talk with your dentist about whether this is acceptable for your child.
About the Author
Dr. Veronica Martinez is a pediatric dentist who feels privileged to be able to combine her love of children with her passion for dentistry. Those two factors motivate her to offer the highest level of care every single day. Dr. Martinez received her dental degree from the Marquette University School of Dentistry, and she is currently a member of both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association.
If you have any questions about how children can deal with tooth sensitivity, she can be reached at her website or by phone at (480) 282-6746.