Are you getting ready to take your child to their first dental visit?
You should take your child to the dentist by their first birthday, but many parents don’t start until their children already have a full mouth of baby teeth. This could cause oral health issues in children.
Most common dental problems that children experience are treatable. Some may no longer be an issue once adult teeth have grown in. Your pediatric dentist can keep you informed and help you take care of your child’s teeth in the future even if issues are already present.
If you want to know what you should look out for as far as your child’s oral health goes, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn all about some of the most common dental problems for kids.
1. Thumb-Sucking Problems
Does your child suck their thumb? It’s a normal habit that makes children feel safe and comfortable when they’re no longer nursing, but it can cause problems down the line.
While many children continue using pacifiers or sucking their thumbs well into their toddler years (if not beyond), it’s best to nip this habit in the bud early on.
When a child sucks their thumb or a pacifier after their teeth develop, it causes the potential for an open bite. An open bite means that some of the teeth aren’t coming together.
A posterior open bite is when the back teeth don’t come together, but when your child sucks their thumb for too long, it’s more likely to cause an anterior open bite. This means that the front teeth can’t come together normally. This can impact eating, talking, and the overall look of your child’s smile.
If your child still has baby teeth, they may damage them by sucking their thumb.
Your pediatric dentist may be able to offer you advice to encourage your child to stop this habit.
2. Childhood Gingivitis
Did you know that children can develop gum disease?
Gum disease, when it’s advanced enough, is incurable. The symptoms can be maintained and you can prevent further damage, but it won’t go away completely.
With that in mind, it’s more common to catch gum disease while it’s still in its gingivitis stage. Gingivitis is a precursor to gum disease, but it’s curable.
There are a few signs of gum disease that you can look out for, but it will require you to watch your child as they brush and floss their teeth. If brushing and flossing results in bloody gums, it’s time to talk to a pediatric dentist about gum disease.
3. Tooth Decay
If your child has a cavity, don’t be embarrassed. This is a common problem.
Children aren’t yet good at being responsible and brushing their teeth. They also tend to want to eat more sugar, further causing tooth decay. Sugar causes sticky plaque to build up on the teeth.
It’s important to watch your child brush their teeth when they’re first learning if you want to prevent children’s tooth decay. You’re responsible for their dental health until they’re able to create their own healthy habits.
When your child is old enough to take care of their own teeth, do a toothbrush check every so often. If the toothbrush is dry when they go to bed, it’s time to get back to the sink! Make sure that you know the proper way to brush teeth so you can teach your child correctly.
Many people think tooth decay is okay for children because they’re going to lose their baby teeth anyway. While that’s true, tooth decay can lead to pain, extreme sensitivity, and gum issues. Your child will need a filling.
4. Broken or Chipped Teeth
Like tooth decay, chipped and broken teeth aren’t uncommon for children.
While it’s not such a large issue for baby teeth, chipped or broken teeth can cause significant pain and sensitivity. In permanent teeth, breaks often require bonding or even replacement.
Children play rough, and any parent of a child who plays sports knows that injuries are common. Make sure that your child wears a mouthguard if they play a sport that has the potential to damage their teeth.
Even tooth trauma that doesn’t break your child’s teeth could cause more issues in the future.
5. Orthodontic Issues
As your child gets older and their permanent teeth start to grow in, your dentist may notice that they have orthodontic issues. Even when your child is still missing teeth, some problems are obvious. They may refer you to an orthodontist.
It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen in the future when your child still has their baby teeth. An orthodontist may have an idea based on the structure of your child’s mouth, but it won’t be clear until they’re older.
Some orthodontic issues are aesthetic. Minor misalignments are normal and you don’t have to attend to them right away. If your child has significant gaps, crowding, or jaw problems, though, it’s a good idea to talk to your orthodontist about braces.
Misaligned teeth can lead to more cavities in the future, potential breakage, and difficulty eating. It’s best to get braces for your child while they’re still young because their teeth are easier to move.
Notice These Common Dental Problems? See a Dentist Today
Children are good at hiding many of these common dental problems. They may be embarrassed by the damage, unaware, or afraid of the dentist. It’s your job as a parent to keep their teeth clean and healthy!
Visit a pediatric dentist twice per year and make sure to bring up any dental problems that you notice. When in doubt, see the dentist between routine visits to make sure that your child’s teeth are still healthy.
Are you looking for more helpful tips and tricks for maintaining your child’s oral health? No problem! Check out this post all about oral hygiene tips for kids to keep their smile shiny and bright.