Kids can’t always tell you when something is wrong. They may feel jolts of pain in their teeth when eating and think little of it. They might not think to tell you about it until a minor cavity or infection has turned into a full-blown abscess.
The good news is that as a parent, you can watch for warning signs that your child has developed a dental infection. A strong regimen of cleaning and care at home, paired with regular dental visits, should help to stave off such issues, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your children’s teeth in the meantime. Here are just a few common signs that your child has a dental infection.
1. Bad breath/taste in mouth
Kids might not be great about brushing, flossing, and rinsing, especially when they’re young and their motor skills are still developing. That’s why you check their breath before they go to bed at night, to make sure they followed through.
As a parent, you should be able to tell when something is rotten in Denmark, so to speak. When a child has an abscess, it’s going to smell pretty bad, and you can confirm by asking your child if he/she has noticed a bad taste recently.
2. Swollen gums
Swollen gums and a swollen jaw or neck could be caused by a number of different issues, but if you notice swelling, it’s definitely a sign that something is wrong and you should see a dental professional as soon as possible.
3. Loss of appetite
If you notice that a kid with a normally healthy appetite doesn’t seem very interested in food, you mind could start spinning with one awful possibility after another. Before you go straight to something really scary, though, check your child’s mouth for tenderness, swelling, bad smell, pus, or even a dark tooth. It could be that a dental infection is to blame.
4. Pain and fever
By the time a dental infection becomes very painful and/or it has advanced far enough to cause fever and other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, chills, and so on, it is pretty serious and your child will need to see the dentist and possibly a doctor immediately. Keep in mind that you’re not necessarily out of the woods if the fever abates and the tooth stops hurting – this doesn’t necessarily mean the infection is gone.
In serious cases, the pulp of the tooth may die, causing the pain to lessen, but the infection could remain. It’s always best to take your child in for a dental checkup, just to be sure.