Childhood is a critical time to establish healthy dental habits and good oral health. While most children can avoid dental issues by brushing and flossing, eating healthy foods, and drinking healthy amounts of water, some children may still face dental issues. Here are the top five common childhood dental problems to look out for.
- Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is caused by the enamel of the teeth wearing away. About 20% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have some form of tooth decay, and 13% of teens have at least one tooth with untreated tooth decay. Cavities and tooth decay can occur in both baby and permanent teeth and are, by far, the most common childhood dental problems, and they can lead to a myriad of other issues. They can cause serious infections, extreme pain and discomfort, and long-term dental health issues.
- Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth occur when the enamel on teeth gets worn down, causing gums to recede or cracks to appear on the teeth, exposing nerve endings. This leads to sensitivity, which occurs most frequently when hot or cold food or drinks are consumed. Sensitive teeth may be linked to cavities and tooth decay, or it may be a separate issue that can be treated with sealants and more regular brushing.
- Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking usually occurs in babies and young children, with most stopping between the ages of 2 and 4, but some kids continue the habit much longer. Thumb sucking can lead to improper teeth alignment and incorrect mouth development, including jaw problems later in life. Encourage children to cease thumb sucking and if you need assistance, discuss it with your child’s dentist at his or her next checkup.
- Gum Disease
Gum disease is characterized by red and swollen gums caused by plaque and tartar buildup where the gums meet the teeth. Gum sensitivity and bleeding when brushing are typical signs of gum disease, and it usually comes about from a lack of regular brushing and flossing. Since gum disease can lead to tooth loss and bone damage in the mouth, it’s important that it is taken care of as quickly as possible once diagnosed. Regular cleanings and occasional deep cleanings are great ways to combat and prevent current and future gum disease.
- Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding is incredibly common in babies, toddlers, and young children. Children often outgrow this common dental problem, but if it doesn’t stop on its own, night guards can help reduce the issues associated with teeth grinding, such as jaw pain, headaches, and worn down teeth.
Schedule Your Next Appointment at Dr. Dental Today
Whether your child is facing one or more of these dental issues or you are simply concerned about your child’s overall dental health, be sure to make an appointment at Dr. Dental today. We are child-friendly and will encourage both you and your child to practice healthy oral hygiene, and we will deal with any dental health issues you or they may be facing. Find a location near you to schedule your child’s next dental checkup!