One should never overlook the importance of oral health. That is why you should educate your kids early on proper dental care. How our teeth develop when we’re older is very much affected by how we treat our teeth during childhood. If you want your child to grow up with good oral health, you’ll want to keep them from experiencing these dental problems.
- Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is another name for cavities. One out of five children between the ages of five to 11 years old has untreated cavities. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that can stop them from eating. Luckily, cavities are very easy to prevent. Brushing your teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste will help reduce the chances of getting cavities.
The CDC suggests that for babies, you should wipe their gums at least twice a day with a soft clean cloth. Once their teeth start coming in, brush their teeth with a tiny toothbrush meant for babies. And as soon as they turn a year old bring them to a pediatric dentist. The earlier you introduce your child to a dentist, the less fussy they’ll be when it comes to future visits.
- Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking is normal for babies. It makes them feel secure and soothes them to sleep. It’s common for a child to stop the habit themselves when they’re around two years old. If your child continues to suck their thumb past three years old, you might have to give them a hand to break the habit. If their thumb-sucking habit continues when their permanent teeth start developing. It can become a problem. Their teeth might become misaligned or they might develop an overbite.
- Teeth Grinding
Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding or clenching your jaws. Two out of three children will grind their teeth in their sleep. They will usually grind their teeth to ease the pain from teething. Stress and anxiety can also cause teeth grinding. To know if your child has bruxism, watch out for any grinding noises when they’re asleep. If they experience any pain in the jaw or cheek area after waking up.
These are common signs of bruxism. This condition can wear down your child’s tooth enamel and cause severe teeth sensitivity. And of course, face or jaw pain can be a nuisance. In more severe cases your child may develop temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
- Bad Breath
Bad breath may seem harmless, but in some cases, it could be a symptom of some other severe condition. It could be a sign of infection, a clogged nose, sinusitis, acid reflux, poor dental hygiene, or anorexia. Lung diseases, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, ulcers, and having abscesses are also causes of bad breath. Bad breath usually goes away after brushing your teeth in the morning, but if it persists you should get it checked.
- Canker Sores
It’s still unclear what causes canker sores. These can be very annoying and painful for your child. They usually go away on their own after a week or so. Although, if you notice unusually large canker sores, recurring outbreaks, persistent sores, sores that extend to the lips, unbearable pain, extreme difficulty eating and drinking, or is accompanied by a high fever; visit the doctor immediately.
- Teeth Discoloration
Teeth are supposed to have a slightly yellowish color. No one has perfectly white teeth. However severe teeth discoloration may occur and is usually just a sign of bad oral hygiene. Visit the dentist if your child’s teeth are overly yellow, brown, black, or purple.
- Tongue Thrusting
This condition occurs when a child thrusts their tongue too far in the mouth. Usually when swallowing food. Tongue thrusting can cause what we call an “open bite”. That’s when the upper and lower front teeth are slanted out forwards. It causes a gap between the upper and lower set of teeth. Even if your jaw is closed.
- Lip Sucking
Lip sucking usually occurs together with thumb sucking. It’s when your child repeatedly holds the lower lip underneath their upper teeth. Continuously doing so can result in an overbite.
- Sensitive Teeth
The teeth may become sensitive from brushing your teeth too hard, using a hard toothbrush, bruxism, or eating and drinking too much acidic food. If your child experiences teeth pain when eating cold food, chances are they have sensitive teeth. Switch their toothbrush to a soft-bristled one and use toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth.
- Gum Disease
Gum diseases or gingivitis causes swelling or bleeding in the gums. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene and can lead to periodontitis and teeth loss. You can prevent gingivitis by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly.
If you want your child to have good oral hygiene, educate them on how to properly take care of their teeth. Bring them to the dentist as soon as you can. Remember that their future oral health depends much on their childhood.