What Causes Tooth Sensitivity in Children

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Tooth sensitivity is a common problem in adults. The pain and discomfort, and the limitation on what you can eat, can significantly alter your diet. This is the kind of pain you would want to protect your kids from. Unfortunately, tooth sensitivity can also happen to kids. It can affect one, several, or all of their teeth.

There are different causes of tooth sensitivity. If your kid complains about pain and a tingling sensation when they eat cold or hot food, don’t ignore it and immediately set an appointment with a kids’ dentist.

The following are common reasons for tooth sensitivity in children.


Some parents assume that milk teeth are adequately protected from cavities and they won’t need to visit a dentist until their kid starts growing permanent teeth. Routine dental visits should begin with your child’s first tooth. Their teeth are prone to decay from the sugary food they consumed and they are also challenging to clean efficiently at this age. Food and sugar residue cause plaque that cling to the teeth and create holes that form the cavities.

Tooth Grinding

Bruxism or tooth grinding is common in kids, mostly when they sleep. This habit causes wear and tear on the teeth’s surfaces, which damage the enamel over time. This damage exposes the inner layers of your child’s teeth that contain the nerve tissues. Anything that touches the nerves stimulates them and causes the pain and discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity.

Tooth grinding also causes a hairline fracture, which exposes the teeth’s inner layers.  If your child has this problem, a dentist might recommend using a customized mouth guard to protect the teeth and to help your kid quit the habit.

man with clecnhing jaw because of aching teeth

Metal Amalgam Fillings

Metal amalgam fillings, in some cases, will act as heat conductors and allow heat to dissipate through your child’s dental nerve roots faster than regular enamel would. Moreover, the filling can expand and contract under a certain temperature, putting some pressure on the nerve roots. The contraction and expansion might also cause hairline fractures in the teeth. This is why many dentists will use metal-free fillings for children.

Permanent Teeth Eruption

When permanent teeth start replacing your child’s milk teeth, you can expect some level of sensitivity. This is because of the gum sensitivity that occurs as the tooth cuts through it. Fortunately, this is temporary, but your dentist might recommend some treatments to alleviate the discomfort associated with tooth eruption.

For parents, it’s hard to understand the degree of pain associated with tooth sensitivity in a child. Some will just resort to pain relievers and warm towels thinking it will alleviate the discomfort. Without the right diagnosis and treatment of the issue causing to the tooth sensitivity, however, these efforts will do little to alleviate the discomfort.

So listen to your kids when they complain of pain when eating cold or hot food. And take them to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears.

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