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The candies in those departmental stores excite children and adults alike. When your kids ask you to buy candy for them, it is hard to say no to them, isn’t it? However, before you buy one for your children, you should read this article on the common dental problems in children. Though sugar candies are not the only reason for teeth problems in babies or toddlers, they do contribute to a large extent in tooth decay. There are a host of other teeth problems that children go through which may be because of thumb sucking or thrusting their tongue too frequently, sucking their lips, and losing their teeth early. Find out what are the common teeth problems that children suffer from.
Why Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth Is Important
Healthy habits start at home. Maintaining a good hygiene regimen for children is essential. The best way to teach good oral hygiene is by following it yourself, and being a role model for your child. Taking your child to a dentist from early on will help him maintain good oral hygiene in the future. Dental decay may start anytime after the first tooth appears in a child’s mouth. Even though the tooth in the primary days of the child fall out, they do play an important role in helping them to chew on their food and gather maximum nutrition form them. Teeth also play a significant role in developing proper speech. Apart from this, a beautiful and healthy smile with sparkling teeth is always an add-on. Hence, it is important that you take care of your child’s teeth and teach him to pay attention to his oral hygiene.
Common Kids’ Teeth Problems and Their Solutions
Although dental problems in children will worry you as a parent, these problems are treatable and can be prevented easily with a little care from your end. Let us look at the most common teeth problems that children face and how to overcome them.
1. Tooth Decay Caused Due to a Baby Bottle
A common cause of teeth problem in infants and toddlers is baby bottles. Also known as childhood carries, these are caused due to prolonged exposure to sugary drinks. The bacteria present in the mouth of the kids thrive on sugar and cause tooth decay. If an infant sleeps with a mouthful of breast milk or formula, he is likely to be affected with tooth decay. Advanced tooth decay may also obstruct permanent tooth to grow resulting in overcrowding or misaligned teeth.
- Do not give sugary drinks or milk as a comforter to your little one during the daytime. Instead, offer him a pacifier or plain drinking water.
- It is advisable not to dip your baby’s pacifier in any sugary object like honey or sugar.
- Avoid putting your baby to bed with any sugary drink. Opt for a pacifier instead.
- Remember to take your breast off from your baby’s mouth when he falls asleep.
- Do not offer sugar more than the recommended diet to your child.
- Check with your paediatrician for your little one’s fluoride requirements.
- Put a goal of teaching your child to sip from a sipper when he turns one. This will reduce his teeth exposure to sugary drinks.
2. Sucking Thumb
Thumb sucking in children is associated with a sense of security and comfort and is a natural process in their growing stage. Thumb sucking is not a problem until permanent teeth start growing. If children continue to suck their thumb or pacifiers while their permanent teeth are growing, they might get misaligned teeth. This can affect their speech or cause an overbite along with other problems.
Thumb sucking does not interfere in the oral hygiene of children until their permanent teeth start emerging. The decision to give up on thumb sucking should come from the children only. However, we as adults can surely help them in the process. Applying force while discouraging the children from thumb sucking may have a negative impact on them. It would be wise to adopt the reward mechanism while dealing with thumb sucking. If your child sucks his thumb, politely ask him to quit this habit. You can also tell him that if he stops sucking his thumb, you will reward him. If your child is older and still sucks his thumb, try to find out the reason why he is sucking his thumb. It may be because of stress, anxiety, or any other issue bothering him.
3. Tongue Thrusting
The habit of swallowing the food while thrusting the tongue forward on the upper lips is known as ‘tongue thrusting’. It has an effect similar to thumb sucking and can cause the teeth to protrude out. This might also interfere in proper speech.
It is best to consult a speech pathologist in this case. A speech pathologist can work out a plan for your child to help him work on his chewing muscle strength and to develop an alternative swallowing technique.
4. Early Tooth Loss
The reason for a premature loss of a tooth in a child can be because of tooth decay, injury, or even a lack of adequate space for the jaw. In the case of an early loss of a tooth, the tooth nearby may get tipped or shift leaving very little to no space for the new permanent tooth. When the permanent tooth erupts due to lack of space, it may get tilted. A crooked tooth gives rise to a host of other problems. Apart from interfering with proper speech development, it can also cause chewing problems and temporomandibular joint issues.
You can take your child to a dentist to get a space maintainer for him; this would help in the case of early tooth loss. The space maintainer is made of plastic or metal, and it holds the space that was left open by the lost tooth. Once the new permanent tooth starts to emerge, the dentist will remove the space maintainer.
This involuntary habit is seen in most babies and toddlers. Children may clench or grind their teeth due to some discomfort in their jaws when their primary teeth start to emerge. However, children stop doing this after their teeth are developed. But some children may continue grinding their teeth and risk the chances of eroding their tooth enamels. This can result in tooth decay or even sensitive tooth.
If your child has a habit of grinding his teeth, make him wear a night guard while he sleeps. This will help him restrict this habit, and he will eventually give away this habit.
6. Tooth Discoloration Due to Improper Hygiene
Tooth discolouration is also a common dental problem that most children experience. You must have seen uniformly yellowish-tinted teeth or white and brown patches on the surface of the tooth of your child. This may be caused primarily due to improper proper brushing pattern or not cleaning the mouth properly after every meal.
Make your child use a good brush. Ask him to follow a proper brushing regime to help him get rid of the yellow spots on his teeth. Brushing twice a day, preferably once in the morning and again after dinner is advisable.
Children love to learn new things. It is imperative for us to teach them the right way to brush their teeth and maintain good oral hygiene. The habits they build when they are young stay with them throughout their lives. Taking your child for regular check-ups with the dentist can also help you to prevent many of these teeth problems.
Also Read: Broken Teeth in Children