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What can you give a 5-year old for toothache?

As adults, we’re able to identify the location of a toothache quite quickly, seek pain relief and go about our usual activities until the next dentist appointment.

For a 5-year-old, however, a toothache can be an ordeal that causes them to be moody and irritable.

It can cause them to cry incessantly and even miss school, so the faster you ease their discomfort, the better.

These simple remedies can make a toothache go away or become more manageable until you can see an oral health professional:

Keep the area clean

What area, precisely?

A toothache can be very confusing for a child because they often can’t explain where the pain is coming from and where it’s radiating, so ask them to point to where it hurts.

Have a look around that area for signs of cavities and gum inflammation, but don’t neglect the tongue and inside of the cheek either to rule out an accidental bite.

Food scraps can make the pain worse, so try to keep the area clean by gently brushing their teeth with a soft brush.

Even if your child is independent and has learned to brush their teeth, it’s safer you do it yourself because they might accidentally hurt themselves or avoid the painful area.

Rinsing with salt water can also help with pain relief.

Give them cuddles and reassure them

A toothache can be a scary experience for your child because unlike bumps, bruises, and other pains, this one is intense and goes on and on.

They will be looking at you for help and reassurance, so be there for them.

Don’t be impatient and don’t dismiss them if they complain or start crying.

Hug them, tell them they’re brave, reassure them and distract them by reading them a story, watching cartoons together, playing with their favourite toys or doing other activities that they enjoy.

The way your child reacts to the pain depends on your approach, so if you panic, they’ll panic too.

Over the counter pain relief

If the toothache doesn’t get better after cleaning the area and rinsing with salt water, you can give your child an appropriate dose of over-the-counter pain relief medication such as Nurofen and Calpol.

Please check with your medical GP or a pharmacist in advance to make sure the dosage is safe or if you’re not sure which medicine is right for your child.

Give them softer foods

Hard foods such as popcorn, nuts, crunchy cereal and apples can put more pressure on the affected area and make the pain worse so put those away and encourage your child to eat softer foods instead.

Avocado, yoghurt, mashed potatoes, rice, bananas, and soups are great alternatives that can soothe pain or at least not make it any worse.

Avoid things that trigger the pain

Hot and cold can trigger pain.

Hard foods aren’t the only ones that make a toothache worse.

Whichever makes the pain worse should be avoided too because they can increase sensitivity and cause sharp pain.

If you’re giving your child soup, make sure it’s warm, not hot.

Obviously, sugar is a big no-no, so don’t be tempted to give your child a sweet treat when they ask for it.

See a dentist

Even if your child’s toothache goes away on its own, you should still make an appointment with your family dentist to check if they have a cavity or another oral health issue.

If the pain doesn’t go away or it gets worse, take your child to the dentist as soon as possible, because you may be dealing with a broken tooth or an infected cavity.

In case intense pain is accompanied by a fever, difficulty swallowing or difficulty breathing, call your doctor or emergency services right away because that could indicate a more serious problem.


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