Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

Signs Your Child’s Teeth Are Having Issues

by Dr. Steve Whittemore, D.D.S. | Published February 16, 2023

Young children may not be able to articulate what they’re feeling or the issues they’re having with their mouths and teeth. That’s why, as a parent, you’ll have to look out for certain signs that may indicate your child has a dental problem and should see a pediatric dentist.

Waking Frequently 

If your child is having more trouble than usual sleeping or seems tired and sluggish throughout the day, a toothache may be to blame. A toothache often happens after an injury to the tooth, such as a cavity. It can make it uncomfortable to relax and sleep in certain positions, like on their sides. 

Loss of Appetite or Food Aversions

One of the most prominent signs that your child may be experiencing dental discomfort is shying away from or crying when offered their favorite foods or drinks. A damaged tooth can become sensitive to hot or cold foods. 

Take a peek inside your child’s mouth to check for discoloration of their teeth or gums, and contact Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible. 

Swollen Gums

Healthy gums should be pink, so if your little one’s gums become dark red and swollen, that can be a sign of an underlying tooth infection. Even if there isn’t a tooth infection, there could be bacterial or fungal infections of the gum tissue that could still cause problems and discomfort in the mouth. With a gentle dental cleaning, we can help treat your child’s oral infection.

Bad Breath

Occasional bad breath is perfectly normal and common—for children and adults. But, persistent periods of foul-smelling breath can be a sign that there is an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. High levels of microbes can lead to infections of the gum tissue or dental decay.

You may need to consult your pediatric dentist to tell the difference between normal bad breath and symptoms that could result in something more serious.


Tooth decay can deteriorate the outer layer of enamel, changing the color of the tooth over time. Look for dark pits on the surface of your child’s teeth or darker shades of enamel compared to neighboring teeth.The best time to check for these signs of infection is right before they brush their teeth.

Swollen Jaw or Neck

Teeth are connected to the jaws and neck through a network of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. If there is an infection in one or more teeth, it can lead to symptoms nearby.

If your child’s neck or jaw appears swollen or redder than normal, that could indicate the need for a checkup at the dentist. Oral infections are serious dental problems that should be handled right away. 

Reach Out to a Pediatric Dentist You Can Trust

Dental infections and issues with teeth can be overwhelming and even scary for parents with little ones. The staff at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa is specially trained to work with and care for your children. Whenever you have the slightest concern about your child’s dental health, don’t hesitate to call and schedule an appointment

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