How to Help a Child with a Sore Mouth

boy sad with underbite

As your child grows, there are several reasons that they could suffer from a sore mouth and gums. Here are a few of the most common.

  • Orthodontic work: When your child first receives braces, their mouth takes some time to adjust to them. Additionally, soreness can be caused when they are tightened or adjusted during treatment.
  • Canker sores: These hurtful sores can form on the inside of the mouth. They can cause bleeding, pain, and general soreness.
  • An injury to the mouth: A blow to the teeth, gums, or jaw could cause an injury and leave them with a sore mouth.
  • Cavities: The pain of a cavity can often radiate to other parts of the mouth, creating soreness far beyond the impacted spot.

Whatever the reason for your child’s sore mouth and gums, you want to do all you can to bring your child some relief. Fortunately, there are several methods at your disposal that will typically bring your child some comfort in an uncomfortable situation.

Here at Children’s Dentistry in Las Vegas, we routinely treat children who deal with a sore, painful mouth. Here’s some advice that we often share with parents and their children to help provide a reprieve from the pain.

1. Apply Ice

If your child is complaining of sore mouth and gums, start by applying cold temperatures to the affected area. You can use a ready-made, or you could fill up a zip-top bag with ice. Make sure you wrap the bag with a thin towel before applying it to the jaw. Don’t let ice directly contact the skin or teeth.

Expert tip: try using a bag of frozen peas as an ice pack. A small bag is especially moldable for adjusting to your child’s face.

2. Rinse with Salt Water

There’s a chance that bacteria may be the reason behind your child’s sore mouth and gums. If so, a saltwater rinse can be effective at killing harmful bacteria as well as mitigating the effects that they cause in the mouth. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm (not hot) water, and have your child swish the water in their mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Be cautious with younger children so they don’t swallow the saltwater.

3. Utilize Dental Wax

For those struggling with pain from orthodontic treatment, dental-grade wax can bring relief. Simply apply the wax to a bracket or wire that is rubbing against the cheek. You’ll find that this solution will provide immediate, but temporary help. As soon as possible, call the pediatric orthodontist to see if they move a wire or bracket to give a more permanent fix.

little girl crying

4. Try Medicated Gel

Sometimes the pain from sore mouth and gums can be alleviated using a medicated gel like Orajel. These types of benzocaine-based medications are placed directly on the affected area, and they assuage the pain for a period of time. Be sure to follow all instructions, especially if you’re using it for a younger child.

5. Use Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever

When other methods of pain relief don’t work, it’s time to consider an over-the-counter medication like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. These medications won’t solve the underlying issue that’s causing sore mouth and gums, but it should at least provide them some comfort. When administering pain relievers to children, remember that dosages are typically administered by weight, not by age. If you have questions, call your pediatrician before giving any medication.

6. Schedule an Appointment with their Pediatric Dentist

If your child’s sore mouth or gums continues for more than a day, it’s time to give your child’s pediatric dentist a call. They’ll be able to give your child a complete checkup and find the underlying issue. For many children, a simple visual exam is all that’s necessary, but occasionally pediatric dental x-rays may be required.

girl with treated sore mouth and gums

Call Children’s Dentistry in Las Vegas

If you live in the Las Vegas metro area, make an appointment for your child to visit the team at Children’s Dentistry. We have 10 convenient locations that schedule appointments at family-friendly times like evenings and Saturdays. We even offer same-day appointments! Each of our locations are tailored to the needs of children, and they’ll love our cheerful office and friendly staff.

Have questions about your child’s sore mouth and gums? Call (702) 832-0508 for an appointment or contact us online.

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