Every parent wants the best for their kids in terms of general and dental health. However, not every parent is proficient when it comes to maintaining dental hygiene for kids. Unfortunately, dental issues can affect kids of any age, which is why proactive and preventive care is essential.
According to Dr. Hans Meyer at Dental 360, learning proper oral hygiene from a young age will set a child up for life. Parents should take charge and promote healthy dental hygiene among their kids to prevent common dental problems. Below are the most common pediatric dental issues to be wary of.
Tooth decay and resulting cavities are chronic dental problems that affect a large number of Canadian children. A University of Calgary report found that early childhood caries or tooth decay affect between 50% and 90% of preschool-aged children. Tooth decay is caused by bacterial accumulation in the mouth.
This condition is common, as most children don’t know how to brush and floss teeth properly without supervision. Most kids like sugar-rich diets, such as cookies, soda, and candy, which promote bacterial growth. As a result, a sticky plaque of bacteria accumulates on teeth over time, producing acids that eat through the teeth’s enamel.
Fortunately, keeping your baby cavity-free is possible. Parents should supervise and teach their kids how to brush their teeth to avoid tooth decay. Your child should brush twice daily using fluoride toothpaste and floss before sleeping. Regular dental visits also reduce the chance of developing tooth decay.
If your child’s teeth develop cavities, your pediatric dentists will recommend tooth filling, a procedure where the decayed matter is drilled out and the cavity filled with hard composite material.
Tooth sensitivity is another common and uncomfortable dental problem that can disrupt your child’s routine and focus. Your child may have sensitive teeth if hot or cold fluids, foods, or even air irritates or pains their teeth. Unfortunately, nearly everyone thinks that sensitive teeth only affect the old demographic.
However, kids are also prone to sensitive teeth, and can be caused by several factors. Generally, children have thin enamels compared to adults. As such, it can easily be depleted by plaque accumulation and the resulting acid. As the enamel wears out, the gums begin receding, and cracks develop on the tooth surface, exposing the nerves. With this, the exposed nerve endings can be triggered by anything hot or cold. Some causes of sensitive teeth include:
- Newly erupting permanent teeth
- Tooth decay
- Enamel wear due to acid erosion
- Cracked teeth
- Bruxism or teeth grinding
- After an orthodontic treatment
Fortunately, several treatment options can reduce pain and discomfort from sensitive teeth. A Calgary dentist at Dental 360 often suggests applying a dental sealant to protect the enamel, or fill the cracks. Kids with sensitive teeth should also use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Thumb-sucking is a common problem affecting kids, with some beginning this habit right from birth. While this habit generally tends to fade with time, pay close attention if your child doesn’t stop this habit, as it can affect their oral health.
Several oral problems can arise if your child continues sucking their thumb even after permanent teeth start appearing. Thumb-sucking disrupts normal oral development and teeth alignment. However, the extent of these oral issues depends on the intensity and frequency of sucking. For instance, intensive sucking can damage both baby and adult teeth.
As kids lose their baby teeth, adult teeth can grow smoothly or with many complications. Misaligned teeth can occur due to genetic predisposition or excessive pacifier and thumb sucking. Along with changing your child’s dental structure, misaligned teeth also cause headaches, pain, and jaw problems, depending on how your child takes bites.
Like other dental problems, orthodontic treatment (which may involve tooth extraction) is recommended for this condition. However, with some concerted efforts, several strategies can minimize the severity of malocclusion. Among them include use of space maintainers, preventing early tooth loss, and taking your child for first dental appointments early.
- Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies in kids can happen anytime. Kids are playful in nature and can sustain dental accidents when playing various games, riding bicycles, or roughhousing with friends. Most dental-related accidents lead to teeth chipping, cracking, or breaking. Serious accidents may knock off one or several teeth completely.
You should call or visit a dentist immediately if your child sustains a dental emergency. The dentist will assess the affected teeth and suggest a treatment option. If the teeth were removed completely, place them in a glass of saline solution, clean water, or milk. Your dentist may fix the tooth back to its position.
- Over-Retained Primary Teeth
Loss of baby teeth is a natural process that occurs as kids grow. However, baby teeth fail to loosen in some situations, leading to over-retained primary teeth. If your child doesn’t shed the primary teeth, the permanent teeth will try erupting underneath. This means that both teeth will be growing in the same spot.
Interestingly, the baby teeth might stay solid while the secondary teeth loosen, and your child won’t have permanent teeth to replace the primary teeth. Over-retained primary teeth indicate deep oral issues that require immediate dentist intervention.
- Bad Breath
Also known as halitosis, bad breath is a common distressing dental problem that affects both kids and adults. Bad breath is caused by several factors, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Teeth infection
- Dry mouth
- Some medication
- Acid reflux
Some foods, such as garlic and onions, also cause halitosis. Since the causative factor of bad breath varies, you should book an appointment with your dentist for a thorough assessment. Your doctor will prescribe the best treatment solution based on the specific cause.
Children are also predisposed to other dental conditions, such as gum disease, dental phobias or anxieties, grinding, and canker sores. If you are worried that your child is developing any of these problems, schedule an appointment with an expert dentist.