What Are the Common Dental Issues in Children, and How Do You Prevent Them?

What Are the Common Dental Issues in Children, and How Do You Prevent Them?

Apr 01, 2024

As a parent, you want your child to have the healthiest smile possible. Going to the children’s dentist near you for regular check-ups and being proactive about oral hygiene are key to avoiding problems. Here’s a look at some of the most common dental issues kids face, plus tips on preventing cavities, tooth decay, and other issues.

What oral health problems are most prevalent in kids?

Several oral health issues tend to crop up during childhood. These include:

  • Cavities – Tooth decay caused by bacteria that feed on sugary and starchy foods. Cavities can damage enamel and lead to tooth loss without proper brushing, flossing, and dental treatment.
  • Baby bottle tooth decay – A specific type of cavities in infant teeth. It occurs when babies are given sugary liquids in bottles over long periods. The sugary liquid coats the teeth, promoting decay.
  • Malocclusion – A misalignment of the teeth and improper bite. This includes overbites, underbites, crooked teeth, and crowding.
  • Grinding/clenching – Also called bruxism, this involves unconsciously grinding or gnashing the teeth, often during sleep. It can make your teeth chipped or cracked.
  • Gum disease – Just like in adults, gingivitis and periodontal disease can develop if plaque is not removed from teeth and gums. Warning signs are inflamed, bleeding gums.
  • Tooth sensitivity – When hot, cold, acidic, or sugary foods trigger tooth pain. It may indicate enamel erosion or gum recession, exposing the tooth root.
  • Discolored teeth – Stains from foods, drinks, and smoking can build up over time. Some antibiotics used in childhood can also stain teeth, making them greyish-brown.

When should a child first see a dentist, and how often after?

The American Dental Association as well as American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend:

  • A child sees the dentist near me for a first check-up at the first tooth’s arrival or by 12 months old.
  • Children have check-ups every 6 months after their first visit. Regular dental visits make it easy for the dentist to monitor tooth development and catch issues early before they worsen.
  • Parents schedule their child’s first orthodontic evaluation between ages 7 and 10. The orthodontist can spot problems with jaw growth, emerging bite issues, and crowding. Early treatment, like expanders, may be recommended.

Don’t wait for an emergency dental situation or for your child to start complaining of pain. Be proactive with professional cleanings and exams twice per year.

How can parents promote daily tooth brushing and flossing?

Brushing and flossing properly minimize the bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis. Kids are often resistant, but parents can promote these habits:

  • Brush teeth together as a family at least twice per day. Make it part of your morning and bedtime routines.
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush and a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste for kids under the age of 3.
  • Increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized amount for kids 3-6 years old. Watch them brush to ensure they aren’t swallowing toothpaste.
  • Floss for your child at night if their talent does allow them to do it well without age 10.
  • Consider fun timers, toothbrushes with characters, reward charts, and phone apps to make brushing and flossing more enticing.
  • Follow up with your dentist about applying dental sealants In Rancho Cucamonga, CAto the chewing surfaces of the back molars. These prevent cavities from developing in the crevices.

What dietary and eating habits lead to cavities and decay?

A poor diet jeopardizes your child’s oral health. Reduce their potential risk of cavities and tooth decay by:

  • We limit sugary foods like candy, cookies, sodas, juices, cake, and ice cream treats. Avoid snacking on these between meals.
  • Instead, We offer nutritious whole foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and water.
  • Preventing baby bottle tooth decay by not allowing baby bottles containing milk or juice to be sucked on all day.
  • I avoid sticky candies that adhere to teeth surfaces like taffy, gummy bears, and fruit roll-ups.
  • I rinse my teeth with water after meals and snacks to remove residue.
  • I am not sharing spoons or other utensils to pass cavity-causing bacteria.

Can braces or expanders be needed for alignment?

Possibly. An orthodontist may recommend braces or other appliances to:

  • Correct crowded, overlapping teeth or spaces between teeth.
  • Fix overbites and underbites that cause improper biting and chewing.
  • Shift teeth into a straighter position after losing a baby tooth prematurely.
  • Expand the dental arch and upper jaw if narrow, causing crossbites and crowding. Expanders widen the space.
  • Guide permanent teeth into the right spot if they are blocked by baby teeth staying too long.

The need for braces comes down to genetics and developmental factors. Book a visit with an orthodontist for their assessment. Early intervention leads to faster correction of bite and teeth alignment.

What dental sealants and toothpastes strengthen developing teeth?

Apart from brushing and flossing, try these products to shield your child’s teeth:

  • Dental sealants – Thin plastic coatings which is applied to the chewing surfaces of molars to seal out bacteria and food particles. They prevent cavities from developing in the crevices.
  • Fluoride toothpaste – Contains fluoride to strengthen enamel, kill bacteria, and reverse early tooth decay if used twice daily. Use only a pea-sized amount for young children.
  • Calcium-fortified toothpaste – Made for kids ages 2-5 who don’t swallow toothpaste well. Calcium strengthens new teeth.

Discuss professional dental sealants and the right toothpaste formula for your child’s needs with your pediatric dentist in Rancho Cucamonga. With proper oral care, you can help defend their developing smile against damage!

Visit Talent Dental for your child’s complete oral care. Call us to schedule an appointment with our warm and caring dentists.

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