who have gum problems. The child first realizes something
is wrong when he or she sees blood on his or her toothbrush,
which is usually due to sore tissue. Still, here are the conditions
that can cause pain.
This is a localized infection of the gums or a decayed tooth.
The pressure of the pus and diseased gum may cause discomfort
and some pain in children as much as in adults.
Remedies: Seek professional advice. Use of a tea bag
can be helpful—after steeping a tea bag in hot water, let it
cool and place it on the abscess. The tannic acid will draw
the infection out. A rinse with warm sea salt water can also
be helpful. Have your child swish the rinse around his or her
mouth. If the problem persists after a dental cleaning, then seek the advice of a physician. Make sure your child develops
good oral hygiene habits.
From treating many children in dental hygiene, I’ve
noticed that children seem to experience less pain with
tooth decay than adults do. I have worked on many children
with rampant decay, and their parents, as well as the children
themselves, were unaware of any problems. Most
decay is noticed only when the teeth are darkened with
severe amounts of decay.
Remedies: For temporary relief, apply clove oil. Then
make an appointment to have the decay removed and a filling
or proper tooth restoration applied.
The earliest and most common pain in a child is related to
teething, when the baby tooth pushes up and breaks through
the gum. The symptoms of teething are excessive saliva in
the mouth, sometimes a fever, crankiness, and sleeplessness.
In response to teething pain, a child will grab almost
anything and start chewing on it. As the pressure of the new
teeth erupting causes discomfort, the counterpressure created
by using objects or fingers will alleviate some of the
Teething occurs in all children, and the immune system
sometimes becomes involved during the creation of excess
mucus in children. The child may run a temperature. Do not
become alarmed! Fever is a common side effect of teething
in a child.
Remedies: Pressure from the eruption of a tooth will
cause the fibers in the gums to give a painful sensation to
your child. Natural remedies can help reduce the pain. Clove
oil is the most effective natural numbing solution. Spread it
over the area that is causing discomfort with a cotton swab.
Use teething rings that have been kept cold in the refrigerator.
The cold on the gums and the clove oil will aid in numbing
the painful gums. If a fever persists, seek a physician’s
What keeps people away from dental treatment? It is usually
fear and anxiety. An unpleasant past experience, or hearing
about negative experiences from other people, is probably a
major cause of dental disease and gum disease.
Children who have had a negative experience in a dental
office may harbor negative thoughts for a lifetime. As children
often do not understand what is happening to them in
the dental chair, they feel out of control. This lack of control
can play havoc with the mind. Negative experiences during
childhood then become magnified over time and are hard to
forget, creating an atmosphere of fear every time an adult
thinks about going to the dentist or hygienist.
If you are an adult who carries fears from childhood,
sometimes eliminating your fear can be as easy as remembering
(and perhaps discussing!) the original painful incident
from your childhood. Also, express your concerns to
your dental professional. The right dental professional will
be empathetic and understanding. And most dental offices
are equipped to reduce the pain experience. Discuss with your dentist or hygienist the various methods that might
work for you during treatment to alleviate pain, and remember
that the less pain you experience, the better it is for you
and your professional. If you tense up with fear, it becomes
more difficult for your professional to do the best job possible.
So it is in everyone’s best interests that you are less fearful
and do not have to contend with pain.
It is important to educate children in dental care. There is
a child in all of us, and if a strong foundation has been built
first, we can become healthy and fearless adults. If as a child
we were unexpectedly hurt in the dental chair—we didn’t
expect to have a needle or a drill—then as adults we remain
fearful of the dentist.
So educate your children in dental care, and explain to
them why they must fix their teeth. It is important to have
your child understand the need to see a dentist and dental
hygienist. It would be advantageous to have your child visit
the dentist with you and let him or her look at the equipment.
Ask the dentist if you can have a half-hour consultation to
make your child more comfortable in the dental chair. This
visit would be to familiarize your child with dental equipment,
and when it becomes his or her time to be a patient, he
or she will have gained knowledge. Any fear will be eliminated
I remember, as a child, pinching my hand to remove the
sensation of pain from the actual area being worked on. It
works! It makes your mind concentrate on a sharper pain
that you are in control of. Try it.
Also, try to eliminate fear with logic. Think of the most
traumatic pain you have ever undergone. The pain sensation
that you experienced may well have disappeared in a few minutes and was not long-lasting. Chronic pain that gnaws
at you daily can be considered stressful pain.