Their teeth are brand new, so what kind of dental problems can children face? Just like adults, kids can suffer from tooth decay, tooth loss and even TMJ. Making matters worse, some of these problems may go unnoticed, leaving your child more susceptible to permanent consequences. So what should you be watching out for?
Tooth decay can occur for many reasons. Lack of oral care including proper brushing and flossing, consuming sweet drinks and snacks, genetics and more. Several things you can do to prevent tooth decay in young children is to:
- Make sure they rinse or brush after every snack and meal.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks when possible.
- Practice good oral health – this includes seeing the dentist at least twice a year beginning at age one.
- Pay attention for signs of trouble (including sensitive teeth, complaints of pain, poor speech and chronic illness (which could indicate chronic infections).
It is common for infants and toddlers to find solace in their thumb. This is a great self-soother that can help them overcome their anxieties. But, chronic thumb sucking can also become a habit that is hard to break, and if it continues past the age of five, it can cause some serious tooth problems.
Once the permanent teeth begin coming in, thumb sucking can cause them to become misaligned and crooked. Not just an aesthetic problem, but crooked teeth may leave little room for others to follow, and can even interfere with a child’s ability to pronounce certain words correctly. Worse yet, severe thumb sucking can misalign the jaw, causing mild to severe TMJ down the line.
When it comes to breaking the thumb sucking habit, parents need to take care to find out when it happens most (when the child is stressed, tired, etc.). This will help you find alternate soothing techniques to introduce to your child. Then, slowly and compassionately begin retraining the child to soothe themselves in another way. Avoid harsh criticism, embarrassing or scolding the child since this can increase the need for the thumb sucking.
It isn’t always clear why, but some children grind their teeth while sleeping. It could be due to stress, or simply the fact that they are getting used to those new teeth appearing in their mouth. No matter the cause, one thing is for certain: tooth grinding can cause all sorts of oral health problems. If you are noticing your child grinding their teeth regularly during the day or night, be sure to speak with your dentist about strategies to help them stop.
Losing a baby tooth early may not seem like a big deal to parents since they know their child will get a permanent replacement anyway. But, dental professionals know that the loss of a baby tooth can be problematic.
Remember, baby teeth work as spacers, making room for adult teeth to slide into place when the time comes. Lose that tooth too soon and all of the other teeth can shift, crowding out the new permanent teeth later on. That is why it is important to prevent early tooth loss by:
- Seeing your pediatric dentist regularly to detect problems early.
- Practice good oral health care.
- Insisting that your child wear a mouth guard during contact sports and activities to help absorb any shock to the mouth and keep teeth from getting knocked out.
Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is Here to Help
Caring for your child’s new teeth is vital to prolonged health in the future. To find out more about common dental problems in children, call us at Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today for an appointment.