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Health Issues

Toothaches in Children

Toothaches might be dental emergencies, but not all mouth pain is caused by a toothache. Other causes of mouth pain include eruption of teeth, sores in the mouth, earaches, and sinus infections. A child with mouth pain should see a dentist or medical provider to identify the source of the pain.

What Parents Should Look For

  • Mouth pain
  • Drooling
  • If the child is old enough, ask him to point to the tooth that hurts.

First Aid Care for a Toothache

  1. Wear medical gloves, if available.
  2. Have the child rinse his mouth with warm water.
  3. Use dental floss to remove any food that might be caught between the teeth and causing pain.
  4. Look for swelling or a "pimple" around the tooth, which might be a sign of a dental abscess.
  5. See whether the tooth is loose.
  6. The child needs to be evaluated by a medical provider or dentist.

Tip: A child with a toothache should see a medical provider to identify the cause of the pain. Sometimes a mouth sore or infection can feel like a toothache. If a mouth sore or infection is not causing the problem, the child needs to see a dentist. If there is any swelling in the mouth or on the face, the child needs medical care from a medical provider or dentist that day.

Last Updated
Pediatric First Aid For Caregivers And Teachers (PedFACTs), 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2013 Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC, an Ascend Learning Company, and the American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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