Maintaining good oral hygiene is as important for children as it is for adults, and not just once they get their permanent teeth. Taking good care of their baby teeth means taking care of their overall health, but even if you do everything you can, there are certain dental problems your child can experience. Here are some of those problems, how to recognize and handle them.
There are several names for this, including nursing caries and baby bottle tooth decay. This happens when a child’s baby teeth are often and continuously in contact with foods rich in sugar, such as fruit juices, candy or even formula.
These foods leave deposits on your kid’s teeth, which then bond with the bacteria that live in their mouth, forming plaque and then acids which damage the teeth structure and cause decay. The problem may be prevented by keeping your child’s bottle or pacifier clean, giving them as little sugar as possible and brushing their teeth regularly. Even if you have a baby and their teeth haven’t come in yet, you should clean their gums with a clean, wet piece of cloth.
Most infants suck on something, which is not that big of a deal, unless it continues till they’re older. If a child’s permanent teeth start coming in, thumb-sucking can cause serious problems, like an overbite, speech problems or even incorrect chewing and eating.
Once the first permanent tooth appears, try putting your child off this habit by offering positive reinforcement. Praise and reward them when they have pre-set periods without sucking their thumb, and gradually increase these periods. If it still continues, talk to your child or take them to a child psychologist to find out why they haven’t lost the habit yet.
Orthodontic problems vary from crooked teeth, deformities in jaw growth, crowded, misplaced, or protruding teeth to facial asymmetry and chewing difficulties. You might notice some of these problems yourself, but if you want to be sure, take your child to an orthodontist no later than the age of seven. They will recognize the early signs of the mentioned problems and know how to proceed.
Braces are still the primary way to straighten kids’ teeth, and you can now choose from several types of efficient kids’ braces. You can even get the so-called invisible braces if your child doesn’t want them to show. Nowadays, braces are most commonly made of stainless steel, ceramic, plastic, or a combination of these materials, you just need to learn which of these options best suits your child’s condition.
This is a habit in which the child thrusts the top of their tongue against the lips to seal their mouth for swallowing. The pressure this puts on the front teeth might lead to an overbite and consequently to improper speech development. If you notice the symptoms of tongue thrusting in your child, the best option for you is to find a speech pathologist in your area and take your child for a consult. A speech pathologist will create a treatment plan in order to create a new swallowing pattern by strengthening the child’s chewing muscle.
Gum disease is the inflammation of gums around the teeth. Unfortunately, it doesn’t only affect adults, but children as well. You can recognize it due to red, swollen and bleeding gums, other symptoms being bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth. This stage of the disease is the early one and can be easily treated.
However, if left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, which means that the damage is irreversible, and your child’s teeth could start falling out. Gum disease is caused by inadequate oral hygiene and plaque buildup, which means it may be avoided if your child brushes and flosses their teeth regularly. Plus, you should take your child to the dentist for checkups twice a year.
Any dental problem your child might have can be solved, but if it can be prevented, even better. Furthermore, only by paying close attention to your child’s oral hygiene can you spot the problems early and react in time.