Toothache do's and don'ts in kids

Toothache is a fairly common health issue amongst children, but no less distressing for its familiarity. When your child complains of a toothache, you’ll naturally want to do all you can to ease the problem as quickly as possible.

In such a scenario, the best course of action is always to find a family dentist near you and schedule an appointment to try to ascertain the cause of the issue. Dental care is incredibly specialized, and no home remedy can replicate the expertise of a qualified professional. However, if circumstances dictate you can’t take your child to see a dentist immediately, it can be tempting to consult Doctor Google for advice on alleviating the pain in the meantime - and this can lead to a number of unforeseen problems. In an effort to clarify the issue, below, we’ve put together a list of simple “do’s” and “don’ts” for managing toothache pending an appointment with a professional…

DON’T… apply clove essential oil to painful area

Cloves contain eugenol, a natural anaesthetic that can greatly help to relieve tooth pain. As a result, many search results may suggest you use clove essential oil to help ease toothache while waiting for your dentist appointment. While the principle behind this idea is relatively understandable, there is a rather significant flaw: essential oils should never be ingested, and especially by children. While applying a few drops of essential oil to the gums doesn’t technically count as “ingestion”, this is definitely a case where it’s better to be safe than sorry. What’s more, clove essential oil is extremely potent and has numerous side effects, so it’s definitely not something you want near your child’s mouth.

DO… use especially-designed clove oil

The trend for suggesting clove essential oil for toothache is almost certainly due to the fact that clove oil - not essential oil - has been used to ease toothache for centuries. There are, however, big differences between standard clove oil and the essential variety; essentials oils are extremely concentrated, and thus more potent, where simple clove oil is (usually) primarily standard olive oil that has been infused with cloves. If you do want your child to benefit from the soothing properties of eugenol, then you can use standard clove oil specifically manufactured for use on gums, provided the packaging does not claim to be an “essential” oil, and explicitly states the product is safe for children.

DON’T… apply heat

For almost every pain classified as an “ache” - stomach ache, headaches, and so on - heat can be a great way of easing discomfort. However, the same does not apply for toothaches. If the toothache is due to an infection, applying heat could actually make the problem worse, so it’s best to stick to ice packs or cold compresses in order to provide simple, effective pain relief.

In conclusion

By keeping to the do’s and don’ts above, you should be able to manage your child’s toothache until you are able to visit a dentist for professional advice.

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