1. Tooth decay (caries)
Most young children cannot brush and floss their teeth without supervision. Coupled with the fact that some children have a high-sugar diet, tooth decay can become a major problem. Tooth decay occurs when sticky plaque builds up on the surface of the teeth. Basically, the acid in plaque eats away at the enamel and eventually wears down the tooth.
Parents should supervise children brushing their teeth and help them until they can safely grasp and independently control a toothbrush. Make sure your kids remove plaque, bacteria, and food particles from their teeth every day to prevent early cavities. If a cavity develops, the typical treatment is a tooth filling, in which the cavity is reamed and the hole filled with a hard composite material.
2. Teeth Sensitivity
Sensitive teeth can be uncomfortable and distracting, and often disrupt your child’s focus and routine.
Tooth sensitivity in children is caused by a number of different factors, so it’s important to take your child for a semi-annual check-up to diagnose the underlying cause. Some of the different things that can make your child’s teeth feel sensitive are:
- Areas of tooth decay (caries)
- Newly erupted permanent teeth
- Acid erosion and enamel wear
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Cracked or missing filling
- Orthodontic treatment
For sensitive teeth, there are a variety of treatments that can help relieve your child’s pain and discomfort. If the sensitivity is caused by a dental problem such as tooth decay, you should see your dentist immediately to prevent the problem from getting worse.
3. Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies can happen at almost any time.
Children playing sports, fighting with siblings, or falling while riding bicycles are all scenarios where a dental accident can happen. These accidents can cause teeth to chip, crack, or fracture. In more serious cases, a permanent tooth may be knocked out entirely.
If your child’s permanent tooth is knocked out, call the dentist right away for an emergency appointment to get the tooth back. Place the tooth in a glass of milk, saline, or plain water.
The dentist can put the permanent tooth back into the socket so you can reattach it with a retainer. While there’s not much parents can do to prevent dental emergencies, a custom mouthguard is a great option for preventing sports injuries. Check out more tips to keep your child smiling.
4. Pediatric Gingivitis and Gum Disease
You may have thought that gum disease is a dental problem that only occurs in adults.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for parents. Gingivitis and gum disease can occur in children and is actually quite common in pediatric patients. Gingivitis is the precursor to gum disease and is often characterized by red, swollen gums and easy bleeding when your child brushes or flosses their teeth.
Gum disease is more aggressive in children with poor oral hygiene. It often involves mouth sores, receding gums and swelling.
5. Orthodontic Problems
Children rarely have perfectly aligned teeth without surgery. Fortunately, there are many orthodontic treatments that can help your child or teen smile with confidence. Orthodontic problems are often genetic, as the size and shape of the jawbone plays a role in how your child’s teeth grow and grow together. Some common misalignments in children are overbite, underbite, open bite and gap issues.
It’s a good idea for your child to have their first orthodontic appointment around the age of seven or eight. Orthodontic problems can mean more than just a crooked smile. Significant crowding and misalignment of your child’s teeth can lead to jaw problems, broken teeth and oral hygiene problems.
6. Excessive Thumb Sucking
Many infants, toddlers, and toddlers resort to thumb sucking and pacifier use to calm anxiety.
It doesn’t really become a problem until a child is older and still continues the habit, as long-term thumb sucking can cause problems with a child’s dental development. For this reason, parents should not allow the habit to continue beyond infancy.
Most of the time, chronic thumb sucking and pacifier use can lead to what is known as an open bite. An open bite is when the upper front teeth do not meet the lower front teeth, leaving a gap even with the mouth closed. This can make it difficult for your child to bite and chew and even affect their speech.
7. Dental Fear and Phobias
Let’s face it, many adults are nervous about going to the dentist. So it’s no wonder that children and young people are often afraid of the experience. Dental anxiety can make it difficult to get your child to routine dental check-ups and cleanings. You can also stay with them into adulthood, which has a significant impact on your dental health.
The best way to combat dental anxiety in children is to make the experience relaxed, fun, and enjoyable. Choose a pediatric dentist who has experience working with anxious children and has a process in place to help them. Teaching your kids the importance of dental care and making it a part of their routine can also help reinforce the idea that they shouldn’t be afraid.
Be one at the end of the day positive role model Brushing and flossing your child’s teeth and making sure they don’t miss their dental appointments are great ways to encourage healthy dental habits throughout life.
Working with your children and partnering with their pediatric dentist, your Children can avoid many of these common childhood dental problems.