5 Most Common Dental Problems in Children
Dental problems are not uncommon among children. Because of the little ones’ limited physical capabilities and how they are still forming most of their habits, “the struggle is real” when it comes to caring for their teeth. This is why they are quite prone to developing dental issues.
So, what are the most common dental problems among young children? Our dentists here at Bayside Smiles has listed five of them below:
1. Gum or Periodontal Disease
A lot of people have this notion that gum disease is only for the elderly but young children are susceptible to developing it as well. Once children have teeth and proper oral care is not implemented, plaque can form at the base of the teeth, which is connected to the gums.
Plaque breeds bacteria that can infect the gums. Infection can lead to other complications that can further compromise the health of the gums.
2. Shark Teeth
This dental issue occurs when children get two rows of teeth in their mouth because they have not yet lost their milk teeth but their permanent teeth have sprouted out of the gums already. With the space not yet vacated, new teeth grow out from the back of where they truly should be, thereby creating two rows of teeth.
Thumb-sucking is a habit that a lot of children have.
However, they are expected to outgrow the habit once they start getting their teeth because it can mess up teeth alignment. Teeth may develop in a protruded direction, and this can result in a minor speech defect (lisping).
4. Teeth Clenching or Grinding
This is another dental issue that many think only occurs in adults. But, teeth grinding is also common among children and, sometimes, they do not only grind their teeth when they are asleep.
Concentrating on certain activities prompts them to rub their upper and lower teeth against each other. Sometimes, they simply enjoy the feeling. Studies also reveal that a lot of hyperactive kids and those with a certain medical condition (such as cerebral palsy) have the tendency to grind their teeth often.
Teeth grinding can result in worn down teeth and other types of facial pain.
5. Tooth Decay or Cavities
This is, perhaps, the most common out of all the dental problems kids get, and it is all due to poor oral care practices. When the little ones sleep with a bottle of milk in their mouth, when they eat a lot of sweets, and when they do not brush their teeth properly – all of these can lead to cavities or tooth decay.
When mouth bacteria are allowed to proliferate in the mouth, it is only a matter of time before damage to the teeth manifests.
How to Prevent Children’s Dental Issues
Identifying the problems and what causes them are the perfect foundation for establishing corrective and preventative measures.
Most of the dental problems discussed above can easily be prevented with proper and regular oral care. Brushing the teeth should be done correctly to get rid of food debris caught in between teeth and also to eliminate mouth bacteria that cause plaque. Make the activity fun for the little ones and they will protest less when asked to brush.
Older kids can be taught to include flossing into their oral care routine; while kids aged six to 12 may be taught to use a gentle non-alcohol mouth rinse under strict adult supervision.
For shark teeth, meanwhile, the best thing to do is to schedule your children for a quick extraction of their milk teeth to make way for the growth of permanent teeth. The visit to the dentist also presents an opportunity for close oral examination. This will determine the condition of the new permanent teeth, and if there will be issues with their development.
As for thumb-sucking, these are the best solutions:
- There’s no better way to put a full halt to this habit than to modify your children’s behaviour. Provide them other sources of comfort since thumb-sucking is a habit formed out of the gratification the little ones get from it.
- When children do a good job of avoiding the habit, offer positive reinforcement or a reward; this can do wonders in teaching the young ones how they can control their potentially harmful inclinations and actually be better.
Lastly, for teeth grinding, these are your options:
- See your dentist. Your children may need to wear a mouth guard that the dentist will prepare.
- Another solution to consider are relaxation exercises. Children can feel stress too, which is one of the main reasons why they grind their teeth. Providing them strategies that will help them release their stress can make them less prone to clenching their teeth.
Bayside Smiles to the Rescue
If you require more information about children’s oral health, we, at Bayside Smiles are always ready to help.
Set an appointment at a Bayside Smiles near you for your little ones’ dental care. We also offer emergency dental care for dental accidents and other dental woes that require our immediate attention and treatment.
Likewise, check back in here frequently. We regularly post advice and tips to increase your understanding of total oral health care for the family.