Similar to adults, there are a variety of dental problems common amongst children. These issues may be a result of baby bottle tooth decay, thumb sucking, premature tooth loss, lip sucking, tongue thrusting and teeth deposits. From maintaining oral hygiene to keeping your children’s feeding bottles and other accessories clean and sanitized, as a parent, you should consider these factors seriously. Ignoring them may cause your child to develop serious dental problems down the road.
If you’re a parent and are interested in learning more about dental problems in children and preventative measures, keep reading this blog post by Dentistry on Dusk. We are going over a few common issues and also provide you with advice to help them learn healthy oral hygiene.
- Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when teeth are frequently in contact with sugars from fruit juices, liquid carbohydrates, milk or other sweet drinks. Breastfeeding has also been found to cause tooth decay. These liquids break down into simple sugars in the mouth, that form bacteria. Left untreated over time, the bacterial growth can cause pain, making it hard for your child to eat and chew properly. This can also lead to abscessed teeth which can cause infection in the adjoining areas. This problem is widely known as nursing caries, childhood caries and nursing bottle syndrome.
There are several ways to prevent this dental issue:
- Substitute sugary liquids or milk during the day and before bedtime with plain water.
- Don’t dip your baby’s pacifier in sugary liquids or honey.
- Stop breastfeeding your baby throughout the night, since breast milk can cause tooth decay. Stick to plain water or use a pacifier
- Avoid adding sugar to your child’s food.
- Clean your baby’s teeth with a wet cloth or gauze after each feed. This will remove the excess sugar from their teeth and gums.
- Over time, try to ween your child from a bottle to a Sippy cup. This alternative helps avoid sugary drinks to become in direct contact with teeth.
- Thumb Sucking
It’s not unusual if your child sucks on their thumb, fingers, toys or pacifiers. This habit gives them a sense of comfort and security. But, if this continues beyond the age of five, then dental problems may arise as permanent teeth grow-in at this age. Your child could develop protruding teeth which can create an overbite. Also, this will implicate their pronunciation of words as their upper and lower jaws will become misaligned and the roof of the mouth will be malformed.
Here are some ways that you can stop your child from thumb sucking.
- As this behaviour is linked to stress, avoid scolding, nagging or punishing your child in a way that reinforces negativity.
- Praise or reward them if you notice they stop this habit. This will encourage them to stop gradually.
- Cover their thumb or fingers with a band-aid to remind them to stop.
- If you noticed they fall asleep in this position, remove it from their mouth.
- If none of the above-ways can stop their habit, you can also seek assistance from a dentist. They may recommend that dental appliances, which can be cemented to the upper teeth. As a result, this makes sucking harder and less pleasurable.
- Tongue Thrusting
Tongue thrusting occurs when a child seals the mouth by thrusting the top of the tongue against the lips for swallowing. The after effect of this habit is similar to thumb sucking, as it also leads to protruding teeth due to the pressure of the tongue against the front teeth. This can cause overbite and also interfere with your child’s speech development.
Consulting pathologists is the only solution to this problem. They will develop a treatment plan to help strengthen your child’s chewing muscles offer them alternative ways to develop a new swallowing pattern.
- Lip Sucking
Lip sucking involves holding the lower lip beneath the upper front teeth. Similar to both tongue thrusting and thumb sucking, this problem leads to overbite and interferes with their speech.
You can apply the same strategies that you would use to stop your child from thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. Remember that positive reinforcement is an effective solution to combat this dental issue. A good way to make them refrain from lip sucking is to replace scolding or nagging with rewards and praises.
- Early Tooth Loss
If your child loses baby teeth before the onset of permanent teeth, then the remaining teeth will overcrowd into the available space. This is caused by tooth decay, lack of jaw space or injury.
As a parent, your first step is to maintain their proper oral hygiene. To learn about the ways to stop early tooth loss in your child, read below.
- Wipe your child’s teeth and gums with a wet cloth after every meal.
- If your child is over two-years-old, then make sure they brush twice every day.
- Give them sugar-free food and drinks to help keep bacteria away.
- Consult your child’s dentist and request a space maintainer. This is a metal or plastic device that will open the space left by the missing tooth until the permanent tooth grows-in.
- Deposits on Teeth
If your child doesn’t maintain proper oral hygiene, then they will get deposits on their teeth. A soft film that forms on the tooth, known as plaque, can be removed by brushing. However, the hard deposits called tartar, will require scaling. The latter is a mechanical removal process conducted by dentists. Incorrect brushing techniques and misaligned teeth are the causes of tartar formation. If you don’t remove plaque in time, then the soft deposits will turn harder, leading to bad mouth odour, gum disease and tooth loss.
Follow the below-listed ways to prevent this dental problem in your children.
- Until they are seven to eight years old, make sure you teach your child to brush their teeth using a proper technique.
- Consult your child’s dentist, who can teach them the proper way to brush which is important for good oral hygiene.
This article outlined a variety of dental problems that are common in children. As their parent, it’s important that you help them maintain good oral hygiene, as this is a simple and basic solution for any dental issue. In addition, consider all of the above-listed preventive measures, which will make your job easier. If you’re looking for a dentist for your child, consult Dentistry on Dusk, a family dental clinic in Brampton. We are known for providing a comfortable environment where your children will receive the best oral care. Call us and make an appointment today!