Common Dental Concerns in Children: What Parents Need to Know
As parents, it is not unreasonable to want the very best for our children. That includes healthy teeth, gums, and excellent oral health. Like adults, children can experience numerous dental problems that can ruin their oral health if not treated, say pediatric dentists. Some of those dental problems are the same ones that adults encounter. They also experience a few that are primarily exclusive to children.
Common Dental Concerns in Children
For those unaware, children typically develop their baby teeth by the age of 3. Eventually, their jaws grow to make room for their permanent teeth. As soon as their baby teeth come in, children are at high risk of developing dental problems that can jeopardize their oral health. According to the American Dental Association, not to mention kids dentists in Nevada and across the nation, some of the most common dental problems among children are include the following:
Cavities and Tooth Decay
To the surprise of some parents, most children are not experts at brushing their teeth. That lack of expertise can give way to cavities, especially if they consume a lot of candy or sugary foods and drinks. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over 45% of American children experience dental caries by age 19. When those caries go untreated, most children develop tooth decay, severe damage to a tooth’s surface or enamel. When tooth decay is left untreated, children can develop an infection, experience extreme pain, and may even suffer tooth loss.
Like adults, children sometimes struggle with sensitive teeth. Along with dental caries and decay, tooth sensitivity is often a byproduct of the following:
- A cracked or missing filling
- Acid erosion
- Newly erupted permanent teeth
- Orthodontic treatment
- Teeth grinding
- The wearing down of enamel
Gingivitis and Gum Disease
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), around 73% of children aged 6 to 11 develop gingivitis and gum disease. Poor oral hygiene is often the culprit in both cases. Children typically develop gingivitis first, a dental condition that causes their gums to swell and slightly bleed whenever they brush their teeth. If left untreated, gingivitis can give way to gum disease and even tooth loss.
In a study published by the Mayo Clinic, researchers found that most children will stop sucking their thumb on their own by age 4. Those who do not are at a heightened risk of developing what is known as an open bite. This condition prevents a child’s upper front teeth from coming together with their lower front teeth when they close their mouth. And it can interfere with their speech and ability to bite and chew food.
How Parents Can Help Children Avoid Common Dental ProblemsThere are several things parents can do to lower their child’s chances of developing the dental problems detailed in this article. The first and, arguably, most important is to schedule regular dental exams with a licensed pediatric dentist. These exams can detect cavities, gingivitis, and other conditions before they spiral too far out of control. Second, parents must encourage their children to brush their teeth twice each day and to floss at least once per day, both of which can significantly lower the risk of cavities and tooth decay. It also helps if parents can lead by example; children are more likely to commit to practicing good oral hygiene habits if they see the parents practicing them, studies show. To learn more, consider visiting the Nevada Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry website and clicking the “about us” or “contact us” tab to schedule an appointment with a licensed kids dentist.