Because teeth are a little more hidden, sometimes dental problems take hold and progress undetected, especially in children who may lack the awareness or ability to articulate what is happening inside their mouths. To help keep your child’s pearly whites healthy and strong, here are some common dental health issues in children to keep an eye out for:
- Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
- Cavities in Primary Teeth
- Dental Emergencies in Children
- Dental Anxiety
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is when an infant or toddler’s teeth show signs of decay because of sweetened liquids. When beverages like milk, formula, or fruit juice remain on a child’s teeth for a long period of time, oral bacteria multiply. The bacteria then produces acid that breaks down the teeth.
This problem is aggravated when beverages are given at naptime or bedtime. This is because when a child sleeps, his saliva decreases. Saliva is the natural way our mouths combat acid and bacteria.
Baby bottle tooth decay can cause pain and infection. If the condition is severe enough, badly decayed teeth may have to be removed.
To help protect your little one’s teeth, don’t allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle of anything else except water. After a liquid feeding, be sure to wipe clean your baby’s gums. Do not sweeten pacifiers.
Cavities in Primary Teeth
The most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Study found that almost 28% of 2-5 year olds had cavities in their primary teeth, as well as over 51% of 6-11 years olds. Poor oral health is associated with lower overall health, as well as poor school performance.
The good news is that cavities are preventable. Following a healthy, low-sugar diet, twice-daily brushing and daily flossing will go a long way toward keeping your child’s teeth strong. Regular dental cleanings and check-ups are also essential. Teaching your child at a young age to care for her teeth will set her up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
For further reading: Are Dental Sealants Safe for Kids?
Dental Emergencies in Children
Another common dental issue in children are dental emergencies, things like chipped or broken teeth, knocked out teeth, pushed up or rotated teeth, and toothache.
If your child sustains injury to a tooth that causes it to rotate or get pushed up into the gums, apply a cold pack gently to the area to decrease swelling. Administer pain medication if needed and call the dentist right away.
If the tooth is knocked out, instruct your child, if older, to keep the tooth in his cheek pouch and call the dentist right away. If your child is young, place the tooth in a glass of milk and then call the dentist. Speed is essential in helping the dentist successfully replant the tooth, if possible.
If your child complains of a toothache, that’s another important time to call the dentist right away. Ignoring the problem can result in a more serious dental issue that could be more difficult to resolve.
Another challenge to children’s dental health is anxiety they might feel about visiting the dentist and having their teeth looked at and cleaned, especially if they have a toothache.
To help ease your child’s fears, talk to your child about why dentists are helpers and how they want to make sure our teeth are healthy and strong. Review what will happen at the appointment and encourage your child to be a good listener.
Finally, by scheduling regular cleanings for your child, you can help her develop a trusting relationship with her dentist as she becomes more familiar with the routine and friendly faces in the office.
Affiliated Dentists–Pediatric Dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin
If we can help address any dental concerns you have about your little one’s teeth, please contact our offices today. Affiliated Dentists offers pediatric dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin.
What are Common Dental Issues in Children? brought to you by Dr. Mark Gustavson