6 Common Issues with Children’s Teeth and How to Handle Them
Just like adults, children can experience a range of dental issues as they grow up. Here are some of the common children’s dental problems and how to combat them.
Tooth decay and cavities
Tooth decay and cavities are probably the most common dental problem of all, and they’re not just limited to children. Many people of all ages suffer from tooth decay and cavities, but it can be particularly painful for children.
Tooth decay is essentially caused by bacteria in the mouth, and a major cause is diet. The bacteria in your mouth form a film known as plaque. Starchy and sugary foods then combine with the bacteria to form an acid that slowly eats away at tooth enamel.
To manage tooth decay and cavities, the best form of attack is regular brushing. This can be difficult with kids, but teaching them good dental hygiene habits from a young age will serve them well throughout their lives. Regular brushing helps to remove the tiny food particles and starches present on the teeth, therefore making tooth decay much less likely.
There are many different gum diseases, also known as periodontal disease. While many forms of gum disease occur mainly in adults, particularly issues such as receding gums, children certainly aren’t immune to a range of gum conditions. Gingivitis is one such disease that can occur in children and can be caused by various issues. Plaque and tartar gather at the base of the tooth and begin irritating the gums, which can cause redness and inflammation. Another sign may be bleeding while brushing.
To deal with the inflammation and soreness, you can try using a softer toothbrush for your children. However, this won’t deal with the plaque and tartar, so the best course of action is to book them in for an appointment with your Parramatta dentist for some thorough dental cleaning and a check-up.
Babies and infants often pick up the habit of sucking their thumb, and when they are very young, it’s nothing to be overly concerned about. In fact, it’s often quite a natural part of growing up, typically providing babies and infants with a level of comfort. However, if this habit continues for too long, it can cause serious dental problems for growing teeth.
Persistent thumb-sucking, unfortunately, causes problems in a child’s oral development, in particular with tooth alignment. Because an infant’s teeth are only just forming and are also temporary, the regular presence of a thumb and the sucking motion can cause teeth to grow out of alignment. This can also affect the growth of their adult teeth.
So, while thumb-sucking is nothing major to worry about, if it persists past the age of 4 or 5, your dentist is likely to recommend steps to stop the habit.
If your child experiences pain when eating hot or cold foods, tooth sensitivity may be the culprit. This sensitivity is generally caused by damaged tooth enamel. We discussed how bacteria, starches and sugars can eat away at tooth enamel, and children’s teeth have a thinner layer of enamel than adults. So, the best way to prevent this is with a healthy diet and regular brushing.
You can also ensure children use a softer toothbrush, as hard brushes can further damage enamel. Fortunately, children lose their baby teeth, but the reality is enamel can’t grow back. Good dental hygiene habits from an early age are your best weapon against tooth sensitivity.
Sucking their lips
While it can be very cute to see babies pulling funny faces, there are a few that may not be quite as adorable when parents realise they may have serious dental expenses in the future. One habit that many children pick up is sucking their lower lip under their top front teeth. It’s certainly odd how children pick up these little mannerisms and habits, and we still don’t really know why they do it. But they do, and it can have ramifications for their oral hygiene.
This habit of lip-sucking can actually affect the way a child’s mouth and teeth grow. As you can imagine, this action constantly pushes the top teeth outwards. While it might be fine for adults, with growing teeth that haven’t established themselves yet, it can be damaging. The result is usually misaligned or protruding teeth, as well as an overbite.
Much like thumb-sucking, if this habit goes beyond the age of 4, parents should find ways to stop it and avoid future dental problems.
Losing baby teeth
The process of growing baby teeth, losing them, and growing adult teeth is something that every child goes through. It’s a totally normal process, and it varies for all children. However, most kids lose their first tooth at around the age of 5 to 7. All of the baby teeth are usually lost by the age of 13, and adult teeth begin to grow.
Issues can arise, however, if all of the baby teeth aren’t gone by around the age of 13. The major issue is that adult teeth start growing through. If there isn’t enough space due to the presence of baby teeth, the child can experience issues with tooth overcrowding and misalignment.
The process of losing teeth is natural, so there isn’t a lot you can do to influence it yourself. If your child still has baby teeth by the age of 13, it’s best to make an appointment with a dentist.
Looking for a trusted dentist in Parramatta?
For most children, going to the dentist can be a daunting experience. So, when it’s time to give your little ones’ teeth a check-up, you want a relaxed, calming environment and dentists who make your child feel right at home. Parramatta Dental Avenue specialises in children’s oral health care, as well as dental care for the rest of the family. Dental care from a young age can prevent minor issues from becoming serious problems in future, so if you’d like to make a booking, contact our friendly team today.